It’s no accident that Robert Fripp called his first post- King Crimson group, The League of Gentlemen. Described by Fripp as a “second wave dance band with the emphasis on spirit rather than competence” the name evoked a semi-pro past in Dorset when times were simpler and young people came to youth clubs and halls to dance the night away.
Having first teamed up with ex-XTC keyboard player Barry Andrews during the Exposure recording sessions, Fripp recruited drummer Johnny Elichaoff (aka Johnny Toobad) and bass player, Sara Lee from the punk band, Baby and the Black Spots. Initially thinking the telephone call from Fripp was a hoax, Johnny hung up. Nothing if not persistent, Fripp rang back and soon had the band up and running.
Incongruous as a Fripp-led dance band may seem compared to the first division polyrhythmic past of King Crimson, The League of Gentlemen, formed in March 1980, were a snappy new wave band that burned the rug of many an establishment during the 77 gigs they performed between April and November that same year.
Short quirky tunes with even quirkier not so short titles (try getting your laughing gear around their toe-tapping classic Heptaparaparshinokh), the defining characteristics of the League were the solid straight ahead dance beats and the off-the-wall, wild card solos that Fripp sprayed over the top of them.
Following the departure of Toobad from ill-health on the 22nd November 1980, Kevin Wilkinson (from the support group Restaurant For Dogs) stepped into the breach for the remaining gigs and recording sessions. By then however, the group had effectively run its course.
Initially represented by an uneven studio album, undermined by the departure of Toobad, something of their actual power in concert was eventually conveyed with the release in 1996 of DGM’s official bootleg, Thrang Thrang Gozinbulx. Amalgamated from several live gigs by David Singleton, it became clear just how hot a bopping band Andrews, Fripp, Lee and Toobad could be.
To those who listen to music with a notepad and pen on their knee, LoG were important as many of the themes and cyclical motifs explored in their music were later refined and developed when Discipline / King Crimson were reactivated in 1981.
To those who like to dance with their head as well as their hips, they were a cracking outfit.
Barry Andrews went on to form Shriekback and continues to record and release albums. Most recently he played on Brian Eno’s Another Day On Earth.
Sara Lee went on to play with Gang of Four, The B-52s, Ani DiFranco and is currently playing and recording her own material.
Johnny Toobad left the music industry to become a successful financial advisor and company director. He is married to TV style guru, Trinny Woodall
Whitley Bay December 2005
||Posted: 13 November 2012|
|El Mocambo 2nd Show
Jun. 17, 1980|
Two shows in one night. It does beg the question where did they find all the energy from to keep their toes a-tapping and their fingers a-snapping at this kind of
||Customer Rating: |
Sep. 21, 1980|
Don’t let the lo-fi origins of this audience recording put you off. Alex “Stormy” Mundy has refreshed and invigorated The League to such an astonishing degree that it’s on a par with the Official Bootleg.
|On This Day
May. 23, 1980|
Drawing to the end of an intensive series of live dates in Europe, the gang are captured in pristine sound quality here on their penultimate date in Germany. It’s a recurring feature of LoG gigs that the first number can
|Hunting Lodge Kingston Lacey, Dorset, United Kingdom
February 24, 1980|
Posted by: chuckbenz
I am delighted to have heard this - once. 5 stars for sharing it, but 2 stars (maybe 1) after that - rehearing it isn’t necessary. The League found their own repertoire, which I really enjoy, and this Read more