Live review: The Mighty Redox at The Black Swan, Oxford -‘Pub rock at its absolute best’-Stuart MacBeth Reports 17/3/16

He had lost all memory of the later part of the evening. We spent it well. At an album launch by The Mighty Redox, at the Black Swan on Crown Street.
Led by Sue Smith and Phil Freizinger, this foursome were formed out of the ruins of Oxford band Tin Tin Tin in 1995. In their 21st century guise they’ve done a lot. They’ve stormed hippy festivals. They’ve destroyed private parties. But what they do best is pub rock. The kind of pub rock you won’t find featured in any ordinary newspaper.

I’ve been to pub gigs before. I’ve been to pub gigs where Rolling Stones tribute acts swig from inflatable plastic champagne bottles. I’ve been to pub gigs where featherweight employees of large breweries stage scrawny open mic nights.
 The latter is done in the hope they’ll drive wan, unpaid, tree hugging folk through the door to ply their wares. But even at 11pm at the Black Swan, dismantled by noise and dressed as Vikings, The Mighty Redox sideshow still drives rusty nails into the decorated pub doorway of every single gastropub hell.
Is this pub rock at its best? Possibly. Take for instance when Phil plays new song Bangra Beat on his beaten up electric guitar. The Wilko Johnson of Oxford, in a tatty Irish Boozer. But never knock it. Go and see Slash or Eric Clapton or someone at the O2 or Royal Albert Hall, and compare.

You are never going to get the intimacy of a pub rock gig. You are never going to get the in-your-face uncertainty of a deranged man wielding the neck of their instrument underneath your chin. Phil remains threatening – the  musical equivalent of an eviction notice from the council.

You will never get Sue standing by her man, axing a tambourine and squealing like Yoko Ono’s louche younger sister. It all happens two feet away from your last remaining shred of decency.
You won’t get their amazing bass player Sandro Crucioli picking up the pieces on bass as he thumps through numbers such as Sands of Mars and Sugar Down. And you certainly won’t be close enough to hear the natural thump of Rick Nash’s drums. Rick, without any resort to overdubs, sounds like Jaki Liebezeit from Can. You may not know Can. You might never have heard of Jaki Liebezeit. But you have two options. Either you stay in your patchouli chocked
This is a band who actually go for it. In a movement deserted by groups such as Dr Feelgood, Ducks Deluxe and Ace, they still whack guitars back to their rock and roll origins with East Oxford syle– Bring me more of this.
Their original material is rhythmically excellent, guitar driven, on the spot.We should all go right now to the next Might Redox gig. Get stuck in. All you need is a hot room. A loud PA. Four nutters. And some Vikings.The best night of the year!!

Oxford O2,
Nightshift January 2014

After four hundred gigs together, most of them in places you’ve never heard of, never mind visited, you’d think The Mighty Redox’s enthusiasm would have waned, but they seem to be having as good a time as they ever did, singer Sue Smith in particular mining her inner child as she whoops, wails and cavorts about the stage.
Musically the band have one foot in good-time boogie, the other in a slightly stranger place, possibly Glastonbury circa 1975, as they go in search of flying teapots, a party band for sure. `Eternity’ is a psychedelic blues romp, Sue’s witchy vocals atop Phil Freizinger’s heavily-flanged guitar and soon-to-be departed Graham Barlow’s simple but obstinate bassline. Bullaburra’ remains an enduring set highlight, summing up a band whose unwritten motto seems to be “Too busy having fun to care about being cool”. Long may it serve them.

Oxford O2,
Claire Dodd 04/12/13

As we entered the O2 Academy we were greeted with a blues flute solo that would put Ron Burgundy’s jazz flute to shame. The Mighty Redox describe their style as ‘upbeat psychedelic blues workouts of pure energy.’ And energy they had. Sue Smith’s vocals were not only strong, but also phenomenally varied, and the overall sound was peppered with influences from the world over. A phenomenal band with a unique sound.

The Bullingdon

Despite a near namesake, The Mighty Redox is NOT a relaxing bath – In case you don’t know, these half punk/half hippy staples of Oxford music play psych blues workouts of pure energy.

It’s the kicking rhythm section; it’s the soaring FX-laden guitar of Phil Freizinger; it’s the frankly insane vocals of Sue Smith (=Grace Slick + Janis Joplin + Ari Up)—

We then witness some wonderful weirdness in the shape of The Mighty Redox with rock and rolling beats that have people dancing around in front of the stage with their Hawkwind style spacey fantasies of a warped dystopia and menacing masks. ‘Kicking Down Your Door’ is a rock number with duelling guitars and bass and a driving relentless beat somewhat redolent of kicking down a door and the set is interspersed with country style ditties. If you go to see The Mighty Redox, I can assure you it will be impossible to be bored as I emerge from having been somewhat stuck inside my polo neck jumper (it had turned a little cold) to see the lead singer jumping around and pretending to be a kangaroo…I am sure she had her reasons that I missed due to my slight wardrobe malfunction. The crowd absolutely loved them and I can understand why as they were certainly different!
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Wayhey!! Our old mates The Mighty Redox decide to throw a party on a Wednesday night at The Bully to launch their new CD ‘On The Move’. Are they mad??? Of course they bloody are. But then we wouldn’t have ’em any other way. The Mighty Redox have always provided fun and party- have a pint, have a knees up with awesome rock,and tonight was absolutely no exception. After a suitably lower key warm up from some very talented friends, The Mighty Redox made the night their own with their usual mix of big guitar, big bass, big drums and BIG voice from the super-animated Sue Smith

From new stuff on the album to old favourites, there always seems to be a satisfyingly warm familiarity about a Mighty Redox gig. The guys (and gal!) were just brilliant. If you can’t dance to this band, you ain’t got no feet! The album? Well, if you have EVER seen them play, you really HAVE to own the album. You owe it to your grandkids – The Mighty Redox deserves the ultimate accolade in the Hall Of Rock Gods!!!! …