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Neil Innes and Mitch Benn rock hilariously

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Neil Innes
Mitch Benn & the Distractions
The Bedford, Ballam

Last night saw a wonderful night of silly but clever comedy from a couple of comedy geniuses. Neil Innes (of Monty Python, the Rutles & Bonzo Dog Doda Band fame) headlined the evening, but Mitch got the place going. His repertoire of satirical musical mayhem has just finished a duration run at the Edinburgh festival. His backing band, a rather impressive blonde female bassist, who plays & sings really well, and a female drummer, provide a wonderful rhythm section. Such treats as ‘Rock & Roll Hall of Death’, ‘Macbeth (My Name is)’, and ‘Liam’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band’ has us wetting ourselves in no time at all. Mitch’s Macbeth as Eminem was truly a feat of genius. His frequent Beatles piss-takes led nicely into the Innes part of the show. The nutter, sadly without the two lovely ladies of rhythm, has a CD out called Radio Face. Being the clever clot that he is, Mitch gave me one to review. Those of you who live in the UK or might be here next week should check the mountain of loonyness out at the same venue next Monday night. (He will be supporting Tony Hawk.) Other targets for Mitch’s satire are The Smiths, Elvis, Dr Who, Love, West-End Musicals (with jabs at dim American tourists, Westlife, Lord Lloyd-Webber, and waning TV stars). and Beatles lost tracks. The man plays a mean guitar and can sing in almost any style. Why Mitch and his band are not freaking huge is a bloody mystery considering the load of bollocks that masquerades as comedy these days.

Despite Neil being, well Neil, Mitch gave him a very hard act to follow. It was probably a good idea that Neil pinch the band?s talents for the rockier few songs at the end of his set (the Rutles stuff), ‘Goosestepping Momma’, ‘I must be in Love’, ‘Ego Warriors'(complete with a silly hand sign and pledge), and the finale ‘One of those People’. The silly bugger didn’t play the one track several of us wanted to hear, that of ‘How Sweet to be an Idiot’. I did have the pleasure of telling him afterwards over a drink that I quoted him in my book, Statism Sucks! Ver 2.0. He opened his solo set with ‘Urban Spaceman’ before regaling us with a piss-take on the EURO/Eurovision, ‘Eye Candy’ (about TV), an Elton John piss-take, a anti-French song, and a wonderful song called ‘Face-mail in the Meet Zon’. Neil is still firing on all cylinders and is the consummate comedic music performer. Oh yes, and we got to see all this great musical comedy for £5. It was well worth 5 times that.

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