Bryan Ferry – Guilfest 2012 review


One day – and it will come – Bryan Ferry will rock up on stage in old jeans and a faded Ramones t-shirt.

They will of course fit immaculately, and the girls will still swoon, but whenever that day is to be, it’s not today.

Instead the suave one is kitted out in trademark dark suit and tie (later, as it gets colder, with the addition of a perfectly accessorized scarf), and surrounded by musicians of the highest order – and in the case of the ladies on backing vocals and percussion, the longest legs imaginable.

And on the matter of musicians, although there is no pomp or circumstance about it, Johnny Marr is tonight on his first full set of guitar duties alongside Ferry and his regular crew. Cool, collected and ready to sparkle when needed, the Smiths stalwart is picking out the tunes on his signature trademarked Fender Jaguar – which barks to life particularly on the cover of Neil Young’s ‘Like a Hurricane’.

Also of note however, although not so jumped on by the press, is drummer Paul Thompson – one of the original members of Roxy Music, and an important part of the history of many of these songs.

Overall the set comes as no surprise to any big fans who have been following the band’s recent tour. It pretty much mirrors what was played recently at gigs in Iceland and Norway, with just a few omissions to get in under the curfew and the odd change in order of songs towards the end.

However what is different tonight is that this is a generic festival crowd – not necessarily Ferry’s biggest fans. So although all of the Roxy Music favourites (including of course ‘Avalon’,’Jealous Guy’ and ’Love is The Drug’) and a brace of covers (opener, ‘I Put a Spell on You’ and, towards the end, ‘All Along the Watchtower’) get decent enough responses, there are a few moments in proceedings where despite some genuinely impressive musical prowess being on display, the majority of the audience seem to look a little lost.

And this is a mature and thoughtful audience by and large – not last night’s X-Factor fans who had been screaming for Olly Murs.

Who knows, in years to come maybe it will be Olly who will be back here in dapper suits, playing to parents who are out to reminisce about their teenage years?

Maybe. But to be frank, probably not.

Because whilst Olly does what he does very well, he lacks the originality and unique quality that defined what everyone understood by the ‘X-Factor’ before Simon Cowell stole the phrase from common ownership and locked it up under commercial copyright.

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