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Live review: Music Of Cream

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Music of Cream
The Stables, Milton Keynes
October 8th 2019

It’s true of any music, be it rock or classical, that if it’s not performed live it will die and, with the sad passing of Ginger Baker, that makes the Music of Cream even more vital.

The Music of Cream are more than just a tribute band, featuring Kofi Baker [Ginger’s son], Malcolm Bruce [Jack’s son] and Eric Clapton’s nephew Will Johns, this trio have a pedigree in their own right. And that’s immediately evidenced when they take to the stage and launch into ‘Politician’. Garnered a heroes’ welcome the band forsake costumes and other novelties preferring to rely on their musical chops to recreate the Cream experience and undoubtedly each member has inherited some musical talent. ‘Badge’ follows and what really makes this show special for the aficionado is the inside stories that pepper the set (Ringo Starr’s contribution to ‘Badge’ a prime example) and they’re told with comedic flair. It’s a set tailor-made for the fan with less obvious album cuts like ‘Sleepy Time Time’ and ‘SWLABR’ nestling next to ‘White Room’ which is extended into a free form blues jam and takes us up to the interval.

Returning after a short break with a trio of blues cuts including ‘I’m So Glad’ and ‘Crossroads’ finds each band member vying for the audiences attention [in a friendly way] so much so that they take on the cloak of a power trio and it certainly sounds like there’s more than three people on stage. Just days after the death of his father Kofi plays stoically and ‘Toad’ is the perfect vehicle for his drum solo. Against footage of Ginger beating the skins Kofi delivers a 15 minute masterclass which is rewarded with a standing ovation. Set closer ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ positions Cream as proto-metal, the missing link between the British R&B boom and Led Zeppelin, and if further proof is needed about the validity of Music of Cream, this is it. In the live environment they expose what a multi-faceted creature Cream was, from the neo-psych of ‘Pressed Rat and Warthog’ to the blues of ‘Born Under a Bad Sign’ to the glorious pop rock of ‘Sweet Wine’; Music of Cream bring these nuances, often buried on the studio recordings, to the surface. Will Johns plays with some of his uncles prowess on the well deserved encore ‘Spoonful’, and ensures all present leave sated.

Peter Dennis

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