Gig report: Toyah holds Court in Brighton!


Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

TOYAH:

Is a four times Brit Award nominated English musician, singer, songwriter, actress, producer and author. In a career spanning more than 40 years, Willcox has had 8 Top 40 singles, released over 20 albums, written two books, appeared in over 40 stage plays and 10 feature films, and voiced and presented numerous television shows. Phew!

Toyah holds court…

Tonight, Saturday 2 November 2019 saw Toyah visit Brighton to play in a new Brighton venue, Chalk. The weather had been awful all day with the Brighton Breeze racking up to 50 mph during the day. Toyah said she had been blown over as she got out of the car after a horrendous drive to Brighton. Those of us outside waiting for the doors to open watched the skies nervously as the rain today really meant business. Thankfully we got in still dry, others were not quite so lucky.

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Toyah: The Set

Toyah took a leisurely stroll onto the stage, looking out into the fairly full venue. She was given an enthusiastically warm welcome from the Brighton crowd in this new Brighton venue.  And with a huge smile on her face we were off. The first song was a new one and, all things considered, was pretty appropriate considering the weather outside, and couldn’t have been better chosen if you tried, Dancing In The Hurricane. Brilliant track from the new album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen, which is also the title of this tour. Toyahs band is made up of a guitarist, bass player, drums and keyboards. Dancing In The Hurricane had a great rock feel to it and gave the band a chance to warm it up.

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Good Morning Universe and the 21st Century Supersister was hot on its heels. We Are led us into Neon Womb , glad to see it is on the set list for tonight. It is still loaded with angst and pure punk rock attitude. Toyah made mention of the punk community and how it was all inclusive, a real family. Toyah did stop and chat to the crowd every couple of songs. She swapped some great banter with a member of the crowd after she mentioned the alley way in Quadrophenia and how she had never seen it.

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

I have to say Toyah is a brilliant at engaging with and playing to her audience. Tonight, between songs, the crowd intently listened and seemed to hang on her every word. We do get an occasional snippet about the next song from time to time. It was clear Toyah was having a ball. She did tell us her age, this lady is a firecracker. She didn’t stop chatting, dancing, twirling and singing for the 90 minute set.

Nostalgia time

The first of those nostalgic tunes was uo and it was Thunder In The Mountains and quickly followed up with her take on Echo Beach, which almost made the top 50 back in 1987, it had a very 80’s video to go with it if I recall. Toyah delivered those songs with vigour and the crowd, who had been singing along the the entire set thus far, took it up another notch. The band did a great job in recreating the electric 80’s sound.

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

This was turning into a seriously good performance. Toyah gave it everything. The first song was a stunning opener, and it was great to hear the older material but one of the songs of the night for me was Telepathic Lover, a song for her husband who is a travelling musician and is for when they are apart. This is a rocking good track from the Crimson Queen album. This new material is seriously impressive.

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Its A Mystery

Rebel Run, Brave New World and Sensational were up next. Its A Mystery was started up. I remember seeing this on Top Of The Pops and Toyah had followed Adam Ant with Kings Of The Wild Frontier. The crowd joined in with every word for this one. Toyah nailed the vocals, forget nostalgia for a minute, this sounded fresh, as if it was only recently written and recorded. This song has stood the test of time.

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Danced came to an end…

And finally…

I Want To Break Free was the opener of the two song encore tonight. During this one Toyah touched the audience hands of those waving at her, and she also took the opportunity to be the first to wish us all a Happy Christmas. The band had all checked their watched due to the strict curfew. The keyboards played the recognisable intro to Ieya. A stunning live rendition was put forward for us to conclude the evening. And what an evening.

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

There were some huge songs in there from back in the day,  played for us tonight and clearly the crowd loved them all, and it seemed that love was shared with the newer material from Toyah. She looked fabulous, and sounding as good as she did three decades ago, Toyah Wilcox remains both formidable and hugely entertaining, and its all topped off with boundless energy and a lovely smile. I think Toyah enjoyed that as much as we did.

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Toyah: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Those iconic hits sound great live and Toyah’s iconic voice sounds as good as ever. The large audience just couldnt get enough of Toyah and her band. But I think it safe to report everyone left smiling having enjoyed this gig. I count myself among them and just hope Toyah comes back again soon.

Catch the latest from Toyah on her website here.

Thanks to Frank Drake and Brighton and Hove News.

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