Gig Review:
State Of Undress' Magical Gig At The Magic Garden, Battersea,
London SW11, Friday 29th March 2013
State Of Undress Magical Gig

The Magic Garden
231 Battersea Park Road, Battersea, London SW11 4LG
Friday 29th March 2013, 9pm


State Of Undress :

Charlie Rose - vocals, shaky eggs
Alan Rose - guitars, vocals
Jerry Bird - elect. violin, mandolin, guitar
Harry O'Shea - bass guitar
Keith Fletcher - drums, percussion

Date of Review: 2013/03/30

All illustrations by and © Alban Low
. All rights reserved.

State Of Undress' Magical Gig At The Magic Garden, Battersea,
London SW11, Friday 29th March 2013
Img. of Charlie Rose
Charlie Rose

The Magic Garden in Battersea is a magical pub alright. Although modernised, it is not 'tarted up' and is cozy with a great atmosphere, and with a huge, super magical beer garden that is, for the most part, sheltered from the elements and provides lots of comfy sofas and armchairs. The pub itself has a good size stage, making it a great venue for live music, and super friendly and helpful staff. Oh, and they do a mean tomato soup that has to be the best in town! They also bend over backwards to accommodate vegetarians, and prices are very reasonable.

As a venue then for State of Undress' Magical Gig At The Magic Garden, Battersea, it was as good as they come. The super fabulous State of Undress, if you have not encountered them before (why not?!) are an irrepressible, super high octane band in the best tradition of bands like Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and Jethro Tull (in their folk-rock phase) all in one, but for and of the 21st century. They comprise the bubbly, super irrepressible, super high octane lead singer Charlie Rose who also is in charge of the 'Shaky Eggs,' guitarist and vocalist Alan Rose, fiddler-on-the-hoof Jerry Bird who also doubles on mandolin and guitar, 'anchor' Harry O'Shea on bass (bass guitar here) and Keith Fletcher on drums and percussion.

Img. of Alan Rose
Alan Rose

After reviewing their most recent album last year, Journeys Of The Heart, and sensational single I'm Gorgeous, Gok Wan Told Me So, this was at last a golden opportunity to catch up with State Of Undress live and in the flesh. At last! A band that can sound as exciting as this recorded is not one you want to miss live.

A select but enthusiastic and appreciative crowd had gathered by the time State Of Undress were sound-checking. They already sounded fantastic! When they exploded with the first set, the energy was such that just listening and watching could have had you breaking a sweat! Freya, the band's (actually, Jerry Bird's) adorable little Diva Dog, remained completely unfazed and wandered about the stage and the area in front of it, demanding to be the centre of attention.

Of course, the real centre of attention was the unbelievably energetic Charlie Rose, whose singing and dancing moves on and off stage could easily get you spinning dizzily with exhaustion. Where she finds such ultra high octane energy is a mystery, but she certainly does! Forget Maddie Prior, Charlie's the real deal!

Img. of Terry Fletcher
Keith Fletcher

How the rest of the band manage to keep up with Ms. Rose is of course yet another mystery. But then, they didn't call this a 'Magical Gig' for nothing. State Of Undress are sheer magic and fun. Nothing less than magic and fun, writ large.

Both sets presented a glorious mixture of old favourites mainly from State Of Undress' most recent album Journeys Of The Heart and new original songs. Among the former the somewhat solemn The Black Hills of Mendip, and the lovely Wildwood and The Hangman's Daughter were especially memorable, among the latter, the outstanding My Lady of Corfe, Fearless and Young Love and a rather raucous, super-charged fun version of the traditional The Lambton Worm, which had most of the pub enthusiastically forming a 'worm.'

Of course, the evening would not have been perfect without the fun-with-a-message I'm Gorgeous, Gok Wan Told Me So in the first set. For this, Charlie Rose appropriately distributed feather boas among some of the male audience. (And rather fetching it looked too on yours truly!) Incidentally, Gok Wan liked the song so much he put it on his web site, where I think you may still



hear it. I'm Gorgeous, Gok Wan Told Me So ought to become a real classic! It's a - pun intended? - gorgeous song, from a gorgeous band with a just gorgeous lead singer.

Towards the end, Ms. Rose brought out the famous 'Shaky Eggs' - sponsored by Dorset Brewery Piddle, who I can testify produce a most excellent brew so if you find yourself in this gorgeous county, do have a Piddle! As for the 'Shaky Eggs,' I don't really wish to give the fun away so go and see State Of Undress yourself to discover this fun trademark for yourself. I am certainly treasuring my egg is all I am prepared to say on the matter.

State of Undress' Magical Gig At The Magic Garden, Battersea was not only brilliant and gorgeous, but also decidedly the most fun gig it has been my pleasure to attend in a very long while. I am trying very hard to remember the last time a gig has been this enjoyable and this much fun, but I truly cannot remember!

The sheer excellence of State Of Undress needs emphasising. This band is just breath-taking. Their musicality and virtuosity is second to none. This practically forces me to divert a little here.

Img. of Jerry Bird
Jerry Bird

One truly cannot help but wonder why a band as excellent and as exquisitely entertaining as State Of Undress is not headlining at all the major festivals, as indeed it should be. Or why a band such as this has not been snapped up by a major or even majorish label. I have to ask myself whether this is perhaps symptomatic of the whole malaise that seems to have befallen the British music industry and scene, regardless of 'genre' or whatever. It is a truly sad state of affairs, I can assure you. The examples of truly stellar, world class artists who even fall into the category of genius who are often overlooked in favour of far lesser ones that I could cite and that I observe all the time are almost legion. Is it then, one has to ask oneself, any wonder that artists and even agents and managers often get disheartened? And audiences, what of them? Why are they 'fed' mediocrity in favour of true excellence? It is far short of fair to them!

State Of Undress decidedly should be headlining at all major festivals, I say! See them for yourself, and I am more than confident that you will agree.

Img. of Harry O'Shea
Harry O'Shea

State of Undress' Magical Gig At The Magic Garden, Battersea certainly proved the point for me. A magical gig it most certainly was, and a fun-filled one at that. Indeed, it would be hard to have more fun than this outside of the sheets. An exquisite evening, and a most memorable one indeed. Folk-rock at its very, very best. Even if you might find it hard to match or keep up with State of Undress and Charlie Rose's irrepressible high octane energy and possibly find yourself exhausted just watching and listening!

In closing - as always a big thank you to Rainlore's World's Artist in Residence Alban Low for the use of his brilliant illustrations of the gig and all his hard work in preparing them. His sketching hand was flying over his pad as if possessed! To find out more about Alban Low's work and to see more examples of his exquisite art and to get a catalogue of posters and prints, please visit his web site and his blogs, Art Of Jazz and Art Of Folk.

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