To see this review (below) in all its colourful glory and with incredible illustrations by artist Alban Low, click on this link:
State Of Undress' Magical Gig At The Magic Garden, Battersea,
London SW11, Friday 29th March 2013
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
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.
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!
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 Piddle Brewery , 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.
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.
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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Click here to see the review of our album Journeys of the Heart in Maverick Magazine:
Journeys Of The Heart - Rainlore's World of Music
State Of Undress' latest offering, Journeys Of The Heart, was released on Rosebud Music last May. (Rosebud - any connection to Orson Welles' all-time classic movie Citizen Kane per chance, one wonders?)
A quintet from Dorset made up of lead singer Charlie Rose, guitarist and all-round multi-instrumentalist and occasional lead singer Alan Rose, fiddler Jerry Bird, bassist Malcolm Windett and Keith Fletcher on drums and percussion, State Of Undress come across as an unstoppable force of nature, with a sharp, distinctive main attack coming from the vocals and violin. They are delightfully impossible to pigeon-hole, with the music on Journeys Of The Heart being a hearty blend of roots rock, roots music, contemporary folk, modern folk, and even a touch of country and the odd Celtic influence here and there. One could hardly wish for more wonderful 'genre'-bending.
The material here consists of nine delightful and utterly charming originals by the various band members, plus one Dylan and a traditional song. All of this is delivered with superb musicianship as well as greatest enthusiasm and exuberance. There is something that immediately draws one to Charlie Rose's distinctive, rootsy voice, and its charisma keeps one spellbound. Rich textures and good, pleasing harmonies enhance the experience. For the most part, Journeys Of The Heart is a good mix of music that pulls at the heart strings and gets your foot tapping, nay makes you want to put on your dancing shoes! From poignant via provocative to the dance-inducing, this album has the lot.
Listening to Journeys Of The Heart, I would like little better than to sit in a Dorset or other West Country country pub listening to State Of Undress over a few jars of Piddle or some other fine local ale or zoider! But failing that, I'd settle for something more easily accessible like Camden's The Green Note or The Forge and something non-alcoholic for now.
With an album as consistent as Journeys Of The Heart, it would be utter futility to even try and pick out a single favourite track. However, I dare say State Of Undress do have a real show-stopper in their rendition of the traditional The Keys of Canterbury! A well chosen closer to a thrilling album. Journeys Of The Heart is totally spellbinding, not merely compelling. Beautiful, completely charming, even brilliant, and a most enjoyable listen that you feel you instantly have to play again. Utterly irresistible, infectious, exuberant music. Watch out for this band!
State Of Undress' Journeys Of The Heart is an absolute must have for any roots/folk type of music lover - if that even approximately describes you, go and buy this fabulous album. Now. And it will appeal well beyond the roots/folk aficionado, so give it a try.
© 2012 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.
R2 Rock n Reel issue 34 July/August 2012
STATE OF UNDRESS
Journeys Of The Heart
Journeys Of The Heart is the fifth full-length album from Dorset folk-rockers State Of Undress and the first with new fiddler, Jerry Bird.
At the heart of the band’s sound are Jerry’s fiddle and Charlie Rose’s lead vocals; it’s her aggressive stance that makes ‘The Hangman’s Daughter’ such a great opening track. Behind them Alan Rose, Malcolm Windett and Keith Fletcher provide a solid foundation but they give the impression that on stage they could cast all restraints aside.
Alan and Charlie write most of their material with Jerry and Malcolm also contributing. Jerry’s ‘The Black Hills Of Mendip’ is a darkly brooding piece while Malcolm’s ‘Rock It!’ is a joyful celebration of the weekend. Jerry’s ‘Wildwood’ is another top track There’s one traditional song and two covers: Steve Knightley’s ‘Are We Alright’ and the most obscure song Bob Dylan ever wrote, ‘Wagon Wheel’ – actually Bob’s chorus is the only part of his contribution that remains.
State Of Undress is a band I’d go out of my way to hear at a festival and there’s a feeling that the slightest nudge would be enough to tip them over into major success. This album could provide that nudge.
FATEA MAGAZINE - 17th JUNE 2012
State Of Undress
Album: Journeys Of The Heart
Dorset band State Of Undress have been on a long musical journey, "Journeys Of The Heart" being the band's sixth album to date and there's no sign of them stopping any time soon.
The band proudly wear their folk rock influences on their sleeve, Fairport, Albion band, Strawbs, Caravan and Steeleye, pretty much the cream of folk rock, but it's not to the extent that it drowns their own sound, because there is something distinctive in the way State Of Undress use both their vocal and fiddle attack.
Primarily the vocals come courtesy of Charlie Rose, who is also one of the major song contributors to music of the album, though pretty much everyone of the five piece get a contribution in there. I digress, when not providing the vocal lead, she switches to the role of the prime harmoniser. Her vocal performance sees her going from full Morrigan mode on the darker songs, such as "The Hangman's Daughter" through to fey romancer on the more delicate numbers.
It's a similar scenario with the fiddle of Jerry Bird, right there at the front when the songs demand a real driving force, dropping back to providing a framework on the more intricate pieces, helping to ensure "Journeys Of The Heart" is an album that's rich in texture as well as pace.
What I particularly like about the album is that State Of Undress reflect their West Country roots in a way that's just as proud as those from further north. "The Black Hills Of Mendip" is as powerful a song about the devastation of mining communities as many from better known districts. In many ways it carries something through that more recent songs cant as the period over which to reflect is that bit more extended. It's also a great song about the passage of time, another journey to be reflected.
As with pretty much every folk rock album, "Journeys Of The Heart" also draws on the work of the band's contemporaries, Dylan and Knightley with "Wagon Wheel" and "Are We Alright" respectively and a traditional song, "The Keys Of Canterbury".
For me though if I had to chose a favourite from the album, I'd be torn between two songs penned from within the band, but heavily infused with tradition, the afore mentioned "The Hangman's Daughter" and "Wildwood" yet another journey song, this time into the power of nature.
"Journeys Of The Heart" is a good honest album, with a very live feel and a grand sense of fun, pretty much all you can ask from a release.
Response to Journeys of the Heart April 2012
"Journeys of the Heart is a great showcase for the unusual blend of roots, folk, country and rock that is State of Undress. The album has a live feel
to it and you can almost hear the pint pots chinking in the background!The material has been well chosen - a good balance of original material,
covers and traditional. The self-penned songs have strong lyrics and the album is delivered with pleasing harmonies backed by fine musicianship.
The album deserves wide recognition and I'll certainly be playing tracks regularly in my programme.
Peter Aston presenter of 'Forest Folk' on Forest FM 92.3
Bulletin 69 Autumn 2011: Northamptonshire Folk Activities Association
Over Easter I was frequenting one of the pubs close to where I stay at Looe in Cornwall.
On Easter Monday * a Rock/Folk band was booked to play a 3 hour entertainment. The band was called STATE OF UNDRESS and featured a lady singer and four musicians. It was certainly one of the best three hours I have had in years. From the start they had all the people in the pub involved one way or another, from tots to wrinkleys. Those not joining in the dance and song were given shaky eggs, tambourines and similar percussion instruments.
It really was very refreshing to see a band who thought of entertaining and involving their audience, as well as playing for their own enjoyment as many we have seen do.
If you get a chance to see 'State of Undress' please do - you will not be sorry.
*It was actually Easter Sunday but an easy mistake to make. The days all roll into one when you're having a great time! The pub in question was The Ship Inn in Looe. Thank you Colin for taking the time to write to your local Folk Association. We really appreciate it. Charlie xx
Maverick November 2009 LIVIN' IT LOVIN' IT
Traditional and modern folk effortlessly blended together.
State of Undress are an exciting folk band who effortlessly bring songs to life with their blend of singing enthusiasm/energy. Between them the band has many musical influences like U2, Alison Krauss, Show of Hands, and the Clash. Listening to songs on the album, it is easy to see where these influences come into play. Charlie Rose takes centre stage on lead vocals and percussion. The other band members - Alan Rose, Samantha Jane, Malcolm Windett and Keith Fletcher - play a variety of different musical instuments as well as offering background vocals on many of the songs. The violin, cello, African drum and guitar all make an appearance on this new seven song album. They open with One More Shot (Of You Boy). This up tempo song is an exciting choice and showcases Charlie's vocal talents. She has a wide vocal range, her voice bringing to mind many talented female artists including Norma Waterson, Barbara Dickson and Bonnie Tyler. Some great instrumentation backs Charlie up on this rock infused folk song. The overall atmosphere of this song reminds me strongly of the amazing folk/rock group Rock Salt and Nails. Plenty More Fish In The Sea sees the mood settle a little. There is a strong folk feel to it. Once again Charlie is allowed to shine on lead vocals. Mudeford Mood is a song about a fishing village in Dorset near to where the band comes from and is the inspiration for the title of the album. A slow song with unobtrusive instrumentation, this has a lot of atmosphere and emotion flowing through the the words and music in this charming little gem of a song. Raggle Taggle Gypsy is a popular folk song and has been covered by many famous folk artists including the Poozies and Elisa Carthy. State of Undress put their own stamp on this classic song as they give it a bit of a facelift with a much heavier sound to it. Charlie's vocals add depth to the song and really bring it to life. This truly modern and somewhat crazy version of this song might not be to everyones taste but I think it does the song justice and gives it a wonderful eccentric sound. The Love Detective sees Malcolm Windett sharing the vocals with Charlie on a pleasant song with a slight jazz feel to it. Country Girl sees Alan Rose duet with Charlie. Alan's vocals bring instantly to mind Ashley Hutchings. This song has a strong folk feel to it in terms of the vocals and instrumentation used. All too soon the album comes to an end with a song called Red Waters written by Charlie and Alan. Charlie's vocals are dazzling on this charming song, which could almost be called the real highlight of the album- maybe the band have saved the best 'til last? SH
The Alternate Root LIVIN' IT LOVIN' IT
State of Undress is a five piece outfit from Dorset, England, specifically from the town of Christchurch. Female lead vocalist Charlie Rose, has a lilt to her voice that carries with it the salt scent of the sea....State of Undress mixes vocals courtesy of Charlie and Alan Rose (guitar) with jig and jump worthy music, Samantha Jane on electric and acoustic fiddle, Malcolm Windett on electric and upright bass and Keith Fletcher pounding on any number of instruments to keep a beat. Their current release, Livin' It, Lovin' It! says it all. This band plays with a pleasure that is physical. They love what they do and it comes through loud and clear. That being said, the passion can only move the music so far. They have the chops to move seamlessly between Rock/Pop such as 'The Love Detective' and into their own comfort zone of a more Roots flavored Rock, a sound the band calls 'fiddlesome'. The album opens with Charlie's chanting lilt riding above a united instrumental front, asking for 'Just One More Shot (of you boy)'. They move into a proper shanty style for 'Plenty More Fish in the Sea' and 'Raggle Taggle Gypsy'. State of Undress don't merely play their music, they prod and push it along with gale force and the consistency of the tide. You didn't think I would leave without sea metaphors now didja? Dan MacCluskey
R2 Rock'n'Reel Nov/Dec 2008 CAUGHT IN THE ACT
Dorset-based five-piece State Of Undress recorded their new album live, and while it's no state-of-the-art live production, Caught In The Act is a tantalising taster for a terrific band. There's an infectious bluster on display that suggests State Of Undress are unconcerned with thoughts of huge commercial success or current musical fashion; instead their own material rattles and rolls along, overflowing with spirit and a compelling energy.
Frontwoman Charlie Rose makes up for any vocal inadequacies with a performance that marries verve, power and a lung-busting joie de vivre on tracks such as Ain't Nothin, Morning Glory, Spellbound, Jump To It and closer This Time. The accompanying blend of roots-rock, country, Celtic flavourings and a full-bodied melodic musical assault creates a powerful live combination that will undoubtedly win SOU legions of new admirers. Danny Moore
'Love you to bits!' Mary, National Theatre, Sept 2011
'Love the corset! But more glitter!' Joe, Black Dog Aug 2011
'Awesome. Best night ever. Made our holiday!' Elliott, The Greyhound, Corfe Castle
'You all made our evening. Totally unexpected - thought we were going out for a quiet drink with the family. Thank you!' John and Chris, The Greyhound, Corfe Castle
'A perfect day in every way' Lynne, Brighton Bandstand
'Wow! Great show guys. Love the energy!' Kez, Finn M'Couls, Ringwood April 2010
'Incredible sound!!!!!!' Andy, Fat Lils, Witney March 2010
'Thought it was fab. Can't wait to come again and shake my eggs!' Dave, Mudeford Men's Club, Feb 2010
'Just great ....3rd gig and counting!' Glyn, Finn M'Couls, Ringwood Jan 2010
'Funkytastic!' Neil, Ringwood Jan 2010
'They rock on a Saturday night!' Martin, Romsey Jan 2010
'Wonderful show. Thank you!' Regent Centre, Christchurch Dec 2009
'Great band. Great songs. Great future ...' Kevin, Regent Centre, Christchurch Dec 2009
'Yo! Tops for me!' Pete, Beaufort Theatre, Ebbw Vale Nov 2009
'One of the best gigs I have ever been at!' Pippa, Chapel Arts Centre, Bath Nov 2009
'Never thought shaking an egg could be so much fun!' Susie, Trent, North Dorset
'Fun, fun, fun - funtastic!' Lindie, Trent North Dorset
'Like a lovely bag of dolly mixtures with spice!' Suzie, Swanage
'F..... amazing. The best fun with my clothes on!' John Paul, Katie Fitzgeralds, Stourbridge West Midlands
'Sammy J - Babe!' Brendon, Troon, Ayrshire
'Fabulous, talented and entertaining band. Thanks for the fun evening.' Linda, Lanark, Scotland
'The Love Detective rocks my world!!!' Oliver, Edinburgh
'Fabulous evening. Thanks and haste ye back!' Ollie, The Maltings, Berwick
'What is in the Dorset air?' Jo, Berwick
'Brilliant, joyous, wonderful. Thank you.' Mike, Selby Town Hall
'Very, very good. A breath of fresh air.' Sarah, Winchester April 2010
'Fantastic. We love the banana. Can we keep it?! x' Gina and Emski, Winchester April 2010