It’s fairly safe to say that there’s never been another show at The Cellars that’s opened with the act presenting his brainwaves on a backdrop via electrodes attached to his forehead.
But there aren’t many people out there quite like Arthur Brown. Nearly 50 years into his career, Brown continues to challenge himself and his audience.
No straight-forward run through the hits here though – instead we get poetry, wonky blues on a home-made guitar, a dance interlude courtesy of long-time associate Angel Fallon, and a stream of incredible anecdotes.
The show is built around a conceit of Brown being strapped into a machine to read his ‘neural pathways’, that triggers him off on telling his lifestory, right back to when he first hitchhiked across Europe aged 17.
There are some memorable segments – his run-ins with the law, both here and in Sicily (the latter involving, public nudity, a prison riot and the Mafia), and the problems of taking the ’60s psychedelic scene out into the provinces.
Throughout, the show is punctuated with montages of Brown’s career – images of him as The God of Hell Fire, cut with more up to date footage.
And of course, we get to hear about the dangers of setting your head alight for a living.
His pursuit for ‘the meaning of life’ following an onstage brain haemorrhage gives proceedings a note of pathos.
Not all of it is successful though, there are some technical problems, and some sections fall a little flat.
That aside, it’s still a hugely entertaining night, and the world is a far richer place for having mavericks like Brown in it.