Event review: Benji Kirkpatrick plays Hendrix at the Oval Tavern, Monday 22nd February

By - Tuesday 1st March, 2016

Anne Giles hears some Hendrix re-interpreted at the Oval

Photo author’s own.

Bendrix sounds like a warming milky drink but it isn’t, as my husband Steve and I found when we went along to this gig at East Croydon’s Oval Tavern to see multi-instrumentalist folk singer and songwriter Benji Kirkpatrick on his ‘Bendrix’ tour. He is the son of folk luminaries John Kirkpatrick and Sue Harris and has been immersed all his life in many genres of music, founding first of all a band called The Hedgecrows then in 1998 a band called Dr. Faustus (later just Faustus) with Paul Sartin and Saul Rose. Then in 2004 he became a founder member of the folk big band, Bellowhead.

As a young man he listened to 1950s rock n’ roll, then moved on to Jimi Hendrix, quickly becoming a fan.

The Bendrix tour is a new solo project, reinterpreting the songs of Jimi Hendrix, seeking to strip back the layers of guitar and psychedelia and reveal the songs in their pure form. Remembered for his pioneering, exceptional ability as a guitarist, Hendrix’s legacy extends to a wealth of great songs and Benji tackles his material on guitar, bouzouki, mandolin and banjo.

Janssen’s t-shirt read ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’, but he certainly did

The evening started off with the support act, guitarist Tom Janssen, who gave us half an hour of traditional and self-penned tunes. Despite the slogan on his T-shirt, which said ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’, he certainly did know and played well.

After a short break, Benji came on and his first half mainly consisted of his own material with some Jimi Hendrix songs. I liked ‘People, they get you down’: something that most of us can relate to at some point or another. Another one was the Hendrix song ‘Hey Joe’, about a man with a gun who wants to shoot his lady for messing around with another man. The last one in that first set was Benji’s own song ‘Boomerang’, a very fast number with some incredible guitar playing.

After the break, the set was wholly dedicated to Jimi Hendrix numbers. ‘Angel’ is about an angel coming down to rescue him, ‘May This Be Love (Waterfall)’ is a beautiful love song and ‘Foxy Lady’ pays tribute to ‘a little heartbreaker and a cute lovemaker’: he wants to take her home. His love life didn’t always go so smoothly, however, and Hendrix could get it as wrong as the next man: ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ is a song written about his girlfriend with whom he had a row when he criticised her cooking. After that we had ‘Voodoo Child’, followed by a very amusing song called ‘Fire’: “I have only one itching desire/Let me stand next to your fire”.

Benji also entertained us all greatly with his wonderful sense of humour. It was an evening never to be forgotten. Of course we couldn’t leave without purchasing the Hendrix songs CD!

Anne Giles

Anne Giles

I grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the daughter of an Anglo-Argentine mother and English father. I went to an English school and worked for a British company out there before coming to live in the U.K. I spent many years teaching Spanish in adult education in various centres in Croydon Borough and have got to know so many different areas – North and South. We have been living in Selsdon since 1989 and I love it. I feel passionately about Croydon and have spent many years writing blogs – firstly for the Croydon Advertiser, then the Croydon Guardian, and eventually my own blog entitled “The Good Life in Croydon”. I am very much involved in the community, attending regular meetings with the Croydon Community Police Consultative Group and am also a member of the British Transport Police PACT (Police & Community Together) Team.

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