Written by LDS, March 2015
UK/Australia Concert Tour, Adelaide Town Hall, 12 March 2015.
Michael Caine is the iconic face of a male Londoner living in the class discarding Sixties. His rough and ready and self assured attitude and rich Cockney voice struck a chord with the new self-made man of society. Caine forged a career as the protagonist in a series of crime thrillers which truly represented the grittier side of the over-glamorised ‘Swinging Sixties’.
The musical scores to many of Caine’s earliest appearances are perhaps the unsung hero, brilliantly cementing the grittiness of the mood and complementing the actors persona.
In celebration of Caine’s long-spanning career, and for the love and appreciation of the music of these early films, accomplished musician Terry Edwards (of the Higsons, Tindersticks, Spiritualised, PJ Harvey et al) gave birth to a show that would tell the stories in a fresh new light. ‘Blow the Bloody Doors Off’ named in homage to classic The Italian Job (1969) contains itself to the Sixties and early Seventies portion of Caine’s career though in doing so pulls on the musical genius of four very different composers.
Broken into two parts the show is fragmented further across four films; Alfie (1966), The Ipcress File (1965), The Italian Job (1969) and Get Carter (1971). Supported with narration and lesser known back-story facts (by comedian Phil Jupitus in the UK performance) the show resurrects an era via carefully knit commentary, extended film clips and incredible mini-orchestra which breathes timeless life through the original scores.
The musical score for Alfie came from American Jazz legend Sonny Rollins and contained a great deal of Modern Jazz which like the physical appearance of Caine in this film would have borrowed heavily from the sharp Modernist Subculture of the time. The original recording of this soundtrack also included London based Jazz great Ronnie Scott. Edwards’ show springs into life with the opening scene of the film (Caine shuffling around behind the steamed windows of a car) to which Alfie’s Theme is played out note perfect by the band.
The Ipcress File
The show quickly switches focus to composer John Barry in The Ipcress File, the same man who wrote the scores for 007 during its golden age. The Ipcress File is quite an anti-spy movie, much darker than the Bond series and is the first full feature of this show. Solid performances of the highly innovative yet seedy Cold War jazz numbers Main Title, Meeting With Grantby, A Man Alone, Death Of Carswell, I.P.C.R.E.S.S. pursue and conclude dramatically with a reprise of A Man Alone.
The Italian Job
The musical score for The Italian Job came from another jazz musician Quincy Jones who later went on to write Thriller with Michael Jackson. Jones score was quite diverse ranging from the crooner style on film opener On Days Like These (sang in London by Matt Monro Jr no less) through to the heavily Cockney styled sing-alongs Britannia and Mr Bridger and Self-Preservation Society.
Roy Budd was the musical composer behind Get Carter and his music dominates the entire second half of the production. This was the first real Brit-Gangster film and was complemented by slightly funkier riffs and electronic sounds. Edwards’ show plays through many short film clips including the Intro/Main Theme, Looking For Someone, Something On My Mind, Getting Nowhere In A Hurry, 30-60-90, The Girl In The Car, Saints/Auld Lang Syne (kazoo ensemble), Love is A Four-Letter Word, Livin’ Should Be This Way, Manhunt, Goodbye Eric and finally Goodbye Carter
Listening to this soundtrack now you wouldn’t believe that the budget for this score was a mere £450 which Budd overcame by seeking out only 3 musicians of multi-ability much like Edward’s selection for this incredible band.
Photos from the Adelaide event
As Sixties film and music enthusiasts this was simply unmissable but having been recently disappointed by a stage performance of ‘Tommy’ which also aired during the Adelaide Festival we went in with carefully guarded expectations. Edwards did however deliver or at least that’s what the tingle down my spine thought. The production between film, music and narration was seamless, the musicians more than accomplished, were multi-instrumentalist and well versed in delivery.
DURATION: 2 HOURS 30 MINUTES (INCLUDING INTERVAL)