Review - KINKOLOGY, Victoria, B.C.

Review by Mike Griffiths

KINKOLOGY: Ray Davies' 65th Birthday Concert
August 27, 2009
Alix Goolden Hall
Victoria, B. C.

featuring The Metapop String Ensemble with guest vocalists.

The show began with a run-through of a string overdub for "Shangri-La". This was basically a soundcheck in order to set the recording levels for the live overdub session that was to take place later in the show.

A performance by the string trio followed, a Kink Suite in three movements, each movement featuring three Kinks songs. The meticulous arrangements were for the most part a mirror image of the original Kinks recordings transposed to strings. The pedigree of these three classically trained musicians is considerable and the performances were flawless.

In addition to playing viola Kenji Fuse functioned as the MC and led the audience of approximately 50 local Kinks fans [edit: actually well over 100 in attendance] through the program. The concept is his baby and it's clear that he is true Kinks fan. During the first movement he explained that the arrangement for "Tired Of Waiting" was inspired by Bartok, with each individual note being plucked by violinist Terence Tam . Very impressive. What's amazing is that the early rockers fit so well in this musical setting. For example, "All Day And All Of The Night" had the viola and cello recreate the backing vocals thus setting up a drone effect that foreshadowed the second movement featuring the sitar influenced "See My Friends" and "Fancy". After the performance of "Waterloo Sunset" Kenji noted that their arrangement was virtually a note for note transcription of the original recording.

The second portion of the show included vocal performances backed by the string trio (with Kenji switching to acoustic guitar on some of the songs). Veronica Tangent and Marcus Pollard took turns running through a few of the songs included in the first section and some that weren't. This was to show, as Kenji said, the lyrical quality of songwriting of Ray Davies.

Following the Kink Suite Reprise came another run-through of the string overdub for "Shangri-La" and then a short intermission.

Most of the select audience stayed to watch the live recording session. The string overdubs were recorded to replace the existing horn parts which are on the original recordings. Quite an ambitious idea and a remarkably successful one. Hard to describe, you had to be there to appreciate the scope of it.

The plan is to send the completed mix of the string overdub to Ray as a 65th birthday present.

After the show, audience members were asked to add their email addresses to a list with a promise to be notified when a CD of the Kink Suite becomes available.

A fine time was had by all.

The performers:

~ Kenji Fuse - principal violist with the Victoria Symphony and director of the Metapop Ensemble. He is a big Kinks fan and this is his baby.

~ Terence Tam - concertmaster of the Victoria Symphony and one of Canada's pre-eminent violinists.

~ Laura Backstrom - Cellist and artist director of Eine Kleine Summer Music, Victoria's popular and long-running chamber music series.

~ Veronica Tangent - vocals (

~ Marcus Pollard - vocals (manager of the Alix Goolden Hall)

The show:

- Shangri-La overdub soundcheck

- Kink Suite

1.You Really Got Me
Tired Of Waiting
All Day And All Of The Night
2.See My Friends
Sunny Afternoon
3.Waterloo Sunset
Big Sky

- Kink Suite Reprise (Guest Vocalists) Included in this section: "Waterloo Sunset", "All Day And All Of The Night", "Sunny Afternoon", "Tired Of Waiting", "See My Friends", "Lola" and "A Well Respected Man".

- Shangri-La second run-through


- Arthur Remix (Live Overdub Recording Session with string trio)

Yes Sir, No Sir
Some Mother's Son
She Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina
Nothing To Say
Young And Innocent Days

*Drivin', Mr. Churchill Says and Arthur were not part of the string overdub session as there are no horn parts on the original recordings of those songs.