Live: Woody Woodmansey, Tony Visconti and the Holy Holy Bowie Band

Celebrating the Bowie classic, The Man Who Sold The World.

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A banquet of early 1970s Bowie material played by an ageing supergroup of former sidemen, famous fans and ex-Spiders From Mars? Hmmm.

Cynics might suspect a retro-glam version of From The Jam, but this officially endorsed tribute band comes with the serious clout of Bowie’s long-time producer Tony Visconti and drummer Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey. Even if Heaven 17’s Glenn Gregory overdoes the booming cabaret vocals at times, the musicianship is terrific and the songs still potent.

The meat of this set is Bowie’s proto-glam 1970 album The Man Who Sold The World, still sounding gloriously weird with its Nietzschean prog-metal bombast and eerie sci-fi lullabies. Black Sabbath’s occult stomp meets Syd Barrett’s mental fragility on sinister sea shanties like After All and All The Madmen.

Bowie himself is not the only ghost at this feast. The late guitar legend Mick Ronson, architect of Bowie’s riff-heavy early 1970s sound, is represented by daughter Lisa and niece Hannah on backing vocals. During the second act, packed with classic anthems from Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust, Lisa Ronson (pictured above, with Woodmansey on drums) belts out a soulful Lady Stardust before joining Gregory on a raunchy, rollicking, Stones-y Watch That Man.

Even if this superior karaoke show is more Alvin than Ziggy Stardust, it’s still a warm and boisterous celebration of a world-class musical legacy.

Stephen Dalton

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.