The Cluny, Newcastle
The last time I saw The Wiyos, they debuted some songs for their forthcoming CD, based on the Wizard of Oz. This year's tour featured the new material, with virtually the whole of the first 60 minutes being devoted to Twist.
The familiar sight of the tree of percussion occupied centre stage before The Wiyos appeared. One could easily spend a considerable amount of time analysing the contents of the stage.
|Look carefully for an air raid siren and...|
|...a bag of nuts|
Twist (reviewed here) is a truly extraordinary piece of work. It was brought to life at The Cluny by an equally extraordinary performance.
The harmonica and a few jingles on the tree of percussion started a slow and warped version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ and the rest of the Wiyos joined in one by one, with bass, keyboards, drums and guitar all contributing little bits and pieces. The fabulous opening line, ‘Last night my house came down on a witch…’, heralded an evening of top quality entertainment.
There are now five Wiyos. Michael Farkas, Teddy Weber and Sauerkraut Seth Travins were all together last year, when they were joined by special guest Andy Bean (one half of the Two Man Gentleman Band). This time, the core trio were augmented by Brian Geltner (drums) and Kenny Siegal (keyboards and guitar). The new instruments fill out the sound, allowing the extremely intricate Twist to be unleashed with the force of a Kansas twister.
|Kenny Siegal (left): keyboard and guitar|
|A performance with a Twist|
Harmonies form an important part of the repertoire, both vocally and otherwise. Hearing a harmonica and trumpet in perfect harmony is quite unusual but highly effective, completely in keeping with the desire of The Wiyos to push out the boundaries and create something totally unique.
|Michael Farkas and Teddy Weber - veteran Wiyos|
|Full concentration on the legendary tree of percussion|
Attention was drawn to a beautiful, limited edition book, which contains a copy of Twist with different disc art to the regular version, full CD lyrics and lavish illustrations. Watch out for the book, which is for sale on the tour. There''s even a sauerkraut recipe printed on the back.
|Sauerkraut Seth - a man with recipes|
|Yet another instrument|
|Another new addition - the beard wasn't there last year!|
There was still time for an encore, which was Blues-based. First we had Cluck Old Hen and then the finale was Charlie Poole's The Milwaukee Blues, featuring an extraordinary extended Farkas solo.
|A rare shot of all five Wiyos|
For further information, please visit the official website of The Wiyos.