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The Garage, London

Nik Underwood

nik underwood


Anticipation was running high in The Garage tonight as Bigelf appear to be one of those bands that inspire admiration, devotion and respect amongst "those in the know".

While by no means packed, there was a high concentration of industry movers and shakers and the afore-mentioned enlightened psychedelic pro rock devotees.

Bigelf bigwig Damon Fox's command centre of keyboards was front and centre and emerging to a loud cheer the band launches into 'The Evils Of Rock'n'Roll' from 2008s 'Cheat The Gallows' LP. Decked out in top hat and Sgt Pepper-esque red braided jacket Fox is mesmeric, arms outstretched squeezing chords, swells and melodies from the keys at either side.

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'Madhatter' and 'Painkillers' flow next from early album 'Hex' and the mash up of retro synths, sweet Beatles melody and Sabbath riffage is keeping the faithful nodding their heads.

On tour in the UK to promote new album 'Into The Maelstrom' we get four in a row in the shape of 'Hypersleep', 'Vertigod', 'Edge Of Oblivion' and the epic 'ITM'. By all accounts this long-awaited new offering is going down a treat as these songs get some of the biggest reaction of the night. Later in the evening during some audience banter one enthusiast requests "Hypersleep, AGAIN!".


Fox is in jovial mood having plenty of back and forth with the crowd, ribbing a pair of incoherent wasted fans and taking some ribs for his and bass player Duffy Snowhill's matching coats. For the record, Duffy (in blue coat) keeps his head down and concentrates on laying down the groove, a wry smile occasionally visible beneath the mass of dreadlocks, beard and shades.

Whilst trying to get a peek at a setlist on the stage I spied what turned out to be chord charts and notes by the feet of the guitar player. When I ask a mate who's big into Bigelf who he is, he replies "New". As it turns out the new guy is John Wesley of Porcupine Tree fame, adding to the list of those established artists such as Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater and System of a Down's Serj Tankian who have had a hand in bigging up Bigelf.


Fox labels him "fucking amazing" and beams when introducing him. He beams even brighter however when introducing his son Darren on drums. I have no idea of his age (either Fox!) but the boy done good!

'Money, It's Pure Evil' and 'Money Machine' lead us into my highlight of the night which was 'Counting Sheep', the moogs, mellotron and Hammond organ building up the drama and taking the show to a close.


The four-piece return and after a technical glitch forces a restart we get 'Incredible Time Machine' and a finale of 'Blackball' which has Fox clambering atop his keyboards and bidding us a fond farewell.

Much has been made of Bigelf somewhat stalling in their trajectory and indeed Fox himself has stated his previous uncertainty with the future of the band. However focus seems to be regained and the new material seems to have reinvigorated Fox and fans alike.

The future is bright, the future is retro!


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