It’s Going To Be A Bit Loud (Godfather Records G.R.547)
Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sweden – January 9, 1969
(68:31): I Don’t Live Today, Spanish Castle Magic, Hey Joe, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Sunshine of Your Love, Red House, Fire, Purple Haze, Star Spangled Banner
This release from the Godfather features a rare show from Jimi Hendrix & the Experience. Released originally on Disk 2 of Swingin’ Pig’s “On The Killing Floor” it’s broadcast on Swedish radio ensures it’s status as one of the few Hendrix bootlegs worth its salt – the ambience is close to most of the BBC sessions that have been officially released & are in near pin drop quality although while the Beeb never usually had an audience then the audience are loud & clear here though they never distract from the entertainment.
This is the second of two shows played that day – the first being recorded for SVT Swedish Television & available on DVD synced with sound if equal quality on “Live In Sweden” [ Which is also reviewed on this site ] While The following night to this show appears on Midnight Beat’s “Welcome To The Electric Circus” [ MB CD 016 ] the sound of the Midnight Beat CD is nowhere near comparable to this release. According to Hagar’s review of the above DVD then Jimi seems distracted tonight – hardly acknowledging his fellow band members or even the audience but while this may be true then his playing is never anything than exemplary & sounds like Jimi at his peek.
The disk starts with a lengthy intro while Jimi & Noel banter between each other – Jimi dedicating the following song to the far right while the audience, obviously here for the hits and not the politics, shout out for “Wild Thing” to chick Noel quips : “I know her well she’s really nice.” Once Jimi has rambled with his dedication to Wally ( Who was apparently the lost dog of a Hippy at Woodstock ) & The Rabbits he spins out a riff that folds to nothing, the band begin to prepare again & warm up before launching in to “I Don’t Live Today” – A rabid, funky & skewed version. Circumnavigating around a tribal beat before quickly leaving the core of a song behind & mutating in to a sprawling screed that increases in speed until it melts in a crunchy, feedback heavy discord that nearly brings the roof down.
Jimi’s in a quiet mood tonight although he does get round to chatting to the crowd & the radio listeners, getting lost in his own words sometimes. Once the song finishes Noel notes the title again & then Jimi speaks at length about the loudness of the set and how the electricity affects his fuzz tones & his guitar, tuning up & yet again dedicates “Spanish Castle Magic” to the “Little Band Of Gypsies over there in the A section”.
The track ramps up to it’s brilliant proceedings via it’s swaggering, rolling riff & once again after the main body of the song collapses in to a riffing session of monster proportions as Jimi seemingly fights with his guitar & wrings out every kind of stattaco groove from the strings. The band then stop for a short break following ‘technical difficulties’ [ Jimi’s guitar seems to have slipped out of tune somewhere along the line .. ] but after the problem is solved then the band quickly return to the matter in hand and after a second dedication to “Wally & His cause” break out a furious version of “Hey Joe” preceded by an ad-libbed intro previewing “The Star Spangled Banner”.
This version his obviously worked up from the studio pass & indeed earlier live versions by pulling around a slower tempo that steadily circles around a few new guitar phrases that have been worked in along he way [ Including a cheeky steal from the Beatles “Day Tripper” ] & a couple of lyrical references to Jimi’s visit to Sweden. “Voodoo Chile ( Slight Return )” is pulled from the air as it’s the only track from ‘Electric Ladyland’ that Jimi can remember [ Noel has to remind him that the track is in ‘E’ ] as the band “Haven’t played together for around 6 weeks or so .. ”
This is closer to the official version barring the obvious jamming towards the end which again builds up towards apoplexy before slowing down to a choppy space jam close to some of the material that Miles Davis was preforming on his recent albums [ Indeed “Mademoiselle Mabry ( Miss Mabry ) from the ‘Filles De Kilimanjaro’ album was Gill Evans’ reworking of Jimi’s own ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ and Hendrix had had meetings to consult with Davis & Evans to swop ideas previously ] then in turn twisting in to a country styled riff paired with that ‘Day Tripper’ reference once again before petering out in to a fuzz laden scrawl & straight back in to a long & ponderous jam on Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love” – One of the riffs that Jimi had taken to heart from his musical friend / foe Eric Clapton & would often bring out to play dedication to Clapton’s old band.
This starts out with a burning reverence & some of Jimi’s trademark embellishments then slowly twists in to a psychedelic bass & drum jam between Noel & Mitch that only intensifies in pace as soon as Jimi enters the fray once again & the band converge on a mean, undercurrent of menace before we’re left with Mitch only in a jazz styled, skittering drum solo once the others come back in to play the song takes off again. Mitch Mitchell is famously a Jazz drummer & one who was enamored with the fact that he would be able to play in the style of John Coltraine’s percussionist Elvin Jones.
“Red House” follows after a repost to the audience after someone shouts for ‘Wild Thing’ only for Jimi to retort “You’re living in the past!” ( this happens twice to which Jimi replies the same thing both times ) & Noel audibly tut’s a disparagement. Jimi then dedicates “Red House” to “Our friends from West Africa”. This takes the pace down even slower [ Something that the audience won’t approve of for sure ] & while Jimi does his best to drive through some more flashy, squealing guitar chords through this blues groove then the slouchy, slow, bass & drums do nothing to help the audience connect with the track & the audience after it’s been played is slightly more muted at best.
Jimi then announces the final track of the evening, someone shouts for “Fire” Noel quips that they won’t get fire unless someone has brought a box of matches. Jimi agrees but, in a possible attempt to keep the audience keen, then suggests that they play it then go straight in to the next track. Something then happens between the next track that must put the wind in to the band & they play a with breakneck speed throughout “Fire”, Mitch setting the pace for a punishing race through the track while, only brief, realigns the audiences trust with what they’re hearing [ One also wonders in awe about the freedom given to the band that they might choose just what to play throughout their broadcast although the briefness of “Fire” supposes that they were also keeping one eye on the time constraints afforded to them. ].
“Purple Haze” is another attempt at keeping the interest of the crowd, winging it’s way through with effortless ease although it does seem to lose itself towards the end of the track. As a bonus for the crown the Jimi fills the rest of the available time with a willfully playful “Star Spangled Banner” that begins it’s decent in to tunelessness almost immediatley but it’s power is felt just as strongly as it’s other airings. The Concert concludes with Jimi & Noel uttering a short farewell & a thank you from the M.C.
The packaging is solid work from the Godfather with a nice black & white study of Jimi on the front cover with a small brown handbill in the corner of the front cover. the back cover features a trio of coloured photos of Jimi alone & of the Experience on stage. The rest of the tri-fold features more Black & white photos of Jimi with the Experience & without in full guitar hero mode along with a well written history of Jimi’s work throughout 1969 with special attention paid to this day in particular.
Another excellent release from The Don & a great one to own.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)