Posts Tagged ‘The Small Faces’

All or Nothing

The Small Faces were one of my four favourite 60’s groups (The Beatles, The Kinks & The Hollies were the other three, in case you were wondering). Their four-year life was short but they managed a dozen chart singles and five albums, including the way-ahead-of-its-time Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake (everyone had to have a ‘concept’ album in the late 60’s!). This juke-box biographical musical takes us from their formation to their demise, when Steve Marriott’s ego led to a split, with him off to form Humble Pie with Peter Frampton after his fellow band members wouldn’t let Frampton into The Small Faces.

It’s an interesting story of East London lads finding fame and being exploited by both Don Arden (Sharon Osbourne’s dad!) and ex-Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. They were the flagship band of the Mods, so fashion and style played its part too. They were rooted in blues and evolved through pop-rock into psychedelia. They were still a big influence, almost 30 years later, on Brit-pop. Marriott was lead singer, guitarist and co-writer of most of their songs. He was a rather charismatic cheeky chappie who was key to their success, but also the cause of  their demise. As he puts it in the show, he stole Rod Stewart’s girlfriend, and Rod stole his band, which of course evolved into The Faces. The back catalogue still sounds great fifty years on, with timeless rock like the show’s title track, iconic psychedelic sounds like Itchycoo Park and fell-good pop like Lazy Sunday.

Unlike other bio-juke-box shows like Sunny Afternoon, this one’s not ‘up West’, but under Waterloo station in The Vaults (part-way through a UK tour), an altogether more edgy and intimate venue which I thought rather suited the show. The four actors playing the band, and playing group, are excellent, and there’s a great supporting cast playing multiple roles as family, friends, managers, press etc. I’m unable to credit anyone as there are no programmes, only souvenir brochures, which I’m allergic to! It ends with the customary mini-set which had us all dancing and singing along.

Definitely one to catch for people of a certain age, and younger ones to remind them how much better pop music used to be!


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