Author Archives: fiveknuckle

Magma – 40th Anniversary Concerts

Le Casino de Paris 12 – 14th February 2009

Here is a review wot I wrote that was destined for the aborted Ork Alarm! # 30. I thought that now we are up and running as a blog it might be nice to reminisce a little:

I’ve been pretty fortunate over my 51 years on this planet. I’ve generally fallen “butter side up”, been in the right place at the right time career wise and from a musical perspective, even though I wasn’t blessed with any creative genes, I have had the pleasure to have witnessed “The Greatest Band on Earth”, Magma and Christian Vander, perform on a scattering of occasions over a period spanning four decades.

I was lucky enough to see Magma a couple of times in London “first time around” during the 70′s. Had accrued enough spare cash to finance some concerts in London of Offering (billed as Magma!) in 1988/89.Witnessed the 30 year celebrations at Le Trianon, Paris in 2000, the Retrospective 4 weeks at Le Triton in 2005 and now this! The 40 year Anniversary Concerts at Le Casino de Paris. Luckily my day job didn’t clash in anyway with this historic occasion, so with tickets in hand, well … waiting for pick up (hopefully) at the box office, we were off to Paris.

I say “we” as I was about to break the unwritten rule. Actually it is a written rule, from a 70′s review of a Magma concert. “Never bring your girlfriend to a Magma concert” was the advice. It’s like an 11th commandment. The one they missed out. We’ve been to loads of concerts, not my choices, but thanks to her, I’ve been exposed to an abundance of great bands that I would never have given the time of day to otherwise. However, whilst her musical bent is far removed from MOR, Magma are no small step for man or woman kind. They are the musical equivalent of Marmite. You either love them or hate them, or possibly don’t persevere long enough to acquire the taste. So here we go, February 14th (Valentine’s Day) in Paris, what more could a girl ask for? Well instead of a top quality meal, a bottle of bubbly, a walk up the Champs Elysees and a whiz up the old Tower, it’s turn left at the Red Light District, down La Rue De Clichy and a romantic evening watching Christian Vander beat seven bells of shit out of his drum kit! Fortunately, things went better than I could have possibly imagined and whilst Jeannie didn’t at any time rush off to the Magma concession shop to but a K.A. t-shirt, as the three days unfolded she “got it”. Most people don’t.
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The Interesting Alternative

Another blog begins it’s journey into oblivion!

magmaontour1I’ve decide to tie up a few different strands into one nice self contained unit. The Ork Alarm! website was launched into the aether a number of moons ago with the intention of cataloging all the known Christian Vander concerts since the inception of Magma at the start of the 1970′s. The task, started by Paul Mummery, continued to grow in enthusiasm and the challenge of updating and correcting was taken up by a number of aficionados and improved upon by the good people of Zeuhl Music. The “Christian Vander on Tour” pages within this blog are kept in sync with the Zeuhl Music site. The only difference is that this is the English version whereas Zeuhl Music hosts the French version.

The other static page area of this blog is the digital rehash of the Ork Alarm! fanzine, edited by Paul Mummery during the early 90′s. I attempted to maintain his good work by producing the odd “Ork Alarm! Continued” online issue, but I ran out of steam a number of years ago. However my enthusiasm for the music had not waned and my energies manifested themselves in my weekly radio show on Phoenixfm called The Interesting Alternative Show, which has been on air and streamed online since 1997 (I think!).

Kavus Torabi joined as co-host a while back now and the show has never been more popular. We have a variety of guests coming on the show and many of the shows are up for re-cue at mixcloud


The music policy is pretty varied. Obviously the usual suspects crop up, i.e Zeuhl, RIO, Canterbury, Zappa etc but also there is a healthy sprinkling of music that really doesn’t fall neatly into any genre. Think Progressive rather than Prog. Bands like The Skeletons, Stars In Battledress, Trojan Horse, Kavus’ own band Knifeworld, Thumpermonkey, The Gasman, certainly don’t fall easily into any pigeonhole. The guests that come on the show not only talk about their careers, but also have the task of choosing the content of show. The tag line “music you may never have known existed” applies, not just to the listener, but also to the presenters as well! Highlights (off the top of my head) include Fire alarm bells being played by the This Heat founder Charles Hayward, Chris Cutler choosing a track of Loretta Lynn. A Jazz bagpipes track and the Pièce de résistance, Daniel O’Sullivan choosing to play a field recording of Vultures feeding on a carcass.

The show goes out at 10pm til 12 Midnight here in the UK so many people are tucked up in bed well before the witching hour approaches. As an appreciation of that fact, we used to make the shows into downloadable mp3′s.

Many are still available by scrolling down the Interesting Alternative show page on Phoenixfm but there are also some archive shows going back to 1859 or was it 2007 here 

So the plan for the blog is to compliment the Interesting Alternative Show. To give anyone who is interested a one-stop portal of info, releases, concerts, reviews and a heads up on music they may never have known existed (but may well appreciate now they’ve been told about it). First off, two marvellous items that have recently been posted on the avant-progressive facebook page.

Firstly the amazing Israeli band Anakdota – The Girl Next Door

An secondly the superb Chamber Rock outfit (although that doesn’t really do them justice!) which is out now via Altrock Five Storey Ensemble.