An Evening of Genius

Dingwalls, August 2000



How We Live


H Band


On the 8th & 9th of August, Steve Hogarth and his 'h' band ("choc-full of superstar genius") played two nights at 'Dingwalls' in London. The CD re-issue of How We Live's 'Dry Land' album was launched at the gigs, and Colin Woore joined Steve on stage. I was lucky to attend both nights, so here's a brief review of the shows.


Dingwalls is a small club in North London, with a capacity of maybe 500 people. Europeans recorded their 'Live' album here back in 1983, when the place apparently used to face in the opposite direction ! Nowadays it is home to 'Jongleurs' Comedy Club and a venue for small bands during the week.. The first night (Tuesday) was sold out, and therefore the club was very busy, and very hot. A selection of tracks from the re-issued How We Live CD were played over the PA, before the band took to the stage (9.30pm-ish)

Steve at Dingwalls, August 2000


The band started with 'Dream Brother', a Jeff Buckley song. I don't know the original, but it certainly started things off well, with great playing by the whole band, particularly Aziz Ibrahim's 'eastern' guitar flourishes. h arrived on stage with a black feather boa !

I missed Steve's mini-tour back in 1997, so was very much looking forward to hearing the songs from his 'Ice Cream Genius' album performed live. 'Really Like' worked very well, with the groovy rhythm of the backing track and Steve sat at his keyboard for the first time in the set. 'You Dinosaur Thing' followed, which rocked, and got the whole crowd moving.

It was obvious that the band would play a few Marillion numbers (my bet was on 'Easter'!). The two chosen were 'King' (with a slightly different arrangement, following hard upon the end of 'You Dinosaur Thing) and '80 Days'. Both fitted very well in to the set, and the instrument parts (that a lot of us know back-to-front) were well handled by the boys in the band.

The band left the stage, and Steve was joined by his previous writing partner, Europeans and How We Live guitarist Colin Woore. He received a big cheer. Steve told the audience that before Marillion he had been in two bands, both of which 'fell apart' due to record company politics. He also spoke of the great difficulties they went through trying to re-licence the How We Live album back to them, with tales of SAS crack teams sent to the Sony Music archive storeroom by dinghy to recapture the master tapes ! On the second night he joked that after the Europeans had split, he eloped with Colin to Gretna Green, before flying on to Vegas for the ceremony proper ! They then played 'Working Town' from the 'Dry Land' album, dedicated to Steve's parents, and Geoff Dugmore & Ferg Harper. Colin played great 12 string guitar (borrowed from one of the h band guitarists - Colin just turned up with a plectrum!) and although singing quite high (his voice has changed a lot since 1987!), Steve was again superb.


Colin joining Steve for "Working Town"

Colin Woore


The Dingwalls Set List


Next came Fake Plastic Trees' (Radiohead), which was particularly stunning, the vocal range almost perfectly suited to Steve's voice. I really like the acoustic version on the 'Live at the Walls' Racket CD, but to see the full band arrangement was a blast. 'I Don't Remember' (Peter Gabriel) was lively & tight, and definitely a crowd pleaser. Introducing it on the second night, Steve said he wanted to make a speech... "I have never in any way associated myself with Progressive music. I'm now going to do a Peter Gabriel song..." !!

'Zen & Now' was an instrumental written by h band guitarist Aziz Ibrahim. On the first night Steve played his 'Stig' tambourine for the song. On the second night he decided to lie on his back and just listen to the music. Very good it was too. As a guitarist, he is definitely one to follow. Check out his own website at . He is currently finishing off a 'solo' album with a friends such as Mani & Ian Brown (from the Stone Roses), Andy Rourke formerly of The Smiths, Steve White, Paul Weller, Talvin Singh and Noel Redding !


Of the other ICG tracks, 'Cage' again worked well with the backing percussion / sampler tape, with a particularly manic performance from h (see picture, left !) 'Until You Fall' (probably my favourite ICG track) was much expanded from the straight album version, with some great guitar work from Dave Gregory. The set (proper) finished with 'The Last Thing', a track included on the US version of ICG (and the 'You Dinosaur Thing' single). I had only heard this a few times before, and it really came to life played live. Dark and moody at the start (with h shaking his knot of various percussion instruments), building to a powerful, heavy finish.


Steve performing "Cage"



h (during 'Cage')

The encore comprised 3 'covers' (I must admit that I didn't recognise all of them), and, as Steve mentioned as he returned to the stage, "If you're still standing after these, then I don't know..." The Beatles' 'Helter Skelter' was heavy and refreshing, followed by a George Harrison song 'Art of Dying.' The set closer 'Middle of the Road' was a Pretenders cover, allowing each band member (introduced by h) to shine on their own instruments. The band h had put together (many of which played on the album, or the last tour) was a great collection of talent.

Joining Aziz on guitar, Dave Gregory (from XTC) did some fine guitar work on 'Really Like' and 'Until You Fall' plus some great effects and ebow harmonies. Bassist Jingles (Gabrielle) was consistently steady, played some nice fretless bass, and kept the band amused with his big grin. Richard Barbieri (Porcupine Tree & Japan) handled the keyboard duties with ease, his droning keys a perfect foil to Hogarth's piano sounds. Drummer Mike Wilson (Texas) was superb, particularly his playing on 80 Days (pushes and off-beats capable of distracting most of the band!) and on the second night, on Helter Skelter, with its 3 false endings ! Overall, I think that the band played better on the second night. Maybe they needed warming up. Even the though the set was identical, it was a pleasure to see the songs performed again, with even more room for improvisation.

Steve at the Keyboard


'Nothing to Declare' finished the evening off perfectly. It was apparently to be saved as the last song for the second show, but Steve played it both nights in the end. One of my favourite ICG tracks (and even demoed by How We Live in 1988!) this was a soaring version, with Steve sat at his keyboard. The effective simplicity of the bass & drums was particularly good. A great couple of shows. I would recommend trying to catch the 'h' band next time they play.

Steve playing 'Nothing to Declare' at the keyboard



Pictures by : Tim Glasswell, Kai 'Muppet' Brandhorst & Neil Cholerton (Thank You)

Europeans in 2000


Together in 2000

Steve, Geoff, Colin, Ferg at Dingwalls


The four members of Europeans (Steve Hogarth, Colin Woore, Geoff Dugmore & Ferg Harper) were together again, in the bar after Tuesday night's H gig at Dingwalls. For lots of great pictures and the latest news click here


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