Review The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, The Musical Box, St David’s Hall by James Ellis

 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Ever the one to try something new, The Music Box looked like a fascinating attempt to honour the work of the band Genesis. This is a new one for me, I was sat amidst die hard fans and veterans of the era. It proved to be an exciting prospect that I was down for.

The evening started with a slump. I doubt anyone sat in this audience wanted to watch a 20 minute documentary about the stage effects of Genesis’ live shows, though it did give a glimpse of some of the Polaroid snaps not used in the live show. It did feel quite cheeky to pop this little doc on and then have an interval, only for the main two hour show to end at an eye watering late 11pm. Ditch the video stuff, get drinks in before the show and stick to a prompt 8pm start and you’re laughing.  

Overlooking this discrepancy, the main event was a bizarre, thumping thing to behold. The story of Rael, a young lad living in New York City and the strange adventures he finds himself lost in remains pretty abstract. I wouldn’t say there was a clear through line in the story, more so a chance to embrace sexual liberation, consumerism, nature amongst other big topics. A lot of the chosen imagery proves it as a period piece, with some questionably misogynistic material. Though a lot of the chosen video works sees broad strokes of Dalí, Hollywood film posters, lithographs, collages and saves of other sights.

Musically, it’s quite appealing though I personally wouldn’t say any song stood out enough to be a classic. The title track was funky and so much of the album blazes with mind-bending stylings its hard not to like. The Musical Box seem to transgress the idea of the tribute band and deliver something so genuinely authentic you’d think they were the real deal, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins from the band have expressed their love. Denis Gagné as the vocalist, gets to keep up a lot of energy and the vast variety of the vocals. He excels taking on what was Gabriel’s part in the original album and show. The band as well deliver some feats of pure thumping rock and a choice section of other genres. They never waver. 

Many surreal moments abound. Denis as the Slipperman see’s him birthed through a suggestive tube, his costume to showcase deformity and disgust. A strange song to say the least, though the multi costume changes offers the original clothes from the classic show. He also gets moments out of Trash Humpets and hammer horror in masks and dress, these moments giving off glam rock vibes. 

Even with the late end and often lack of a conventional story, the show was a success. Though I think I should leave it to the fans of the album to really savour it. More chances to see The Musical Box are a must though!     

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