Yorkshire Evening Post
Love, the legendary American Group who for four years hardly moved or played more than three miles outside Los Angeles, appeared at Leeds Polytechnic last Friday night on their first British tour. Perhaps Love leader and singer song-writer Arthur Lee is the real legend. On Friday night the live legend overtook expectations, which is nice when you can get it. Massive.
But I must admit, I was apprehensive when I heard Love were appearing in Leeds. I felt sure the majority of lucky ticket-holders knew little or nothing about the group, and to get the most from a Lee performance I was convinced that a familiarity with his recordings was necessary so as to appreciate fully the strength of his lyrics and original wheeling rythms [sic] and arrangements. Yet here was a group with a relatively small following in this country (due to little or no publicity) despite a number of fine albums with massive selling power in the States.
But I was wrong. The truth is, I never believed Lee could be so good as this on stage. This man doesn’t need a record to put his music across. Friday’s performance made it clear that Love are a red-hot delivery on stage - for anybody, staunch supporter or not. It’s a fact that any performance by a top pop band is unusual these days if it doesn’t get a standing ovation, but Love really did deserve theirs - every minute of it.
Before Love appeared, a brace of earsplitting warm-up bands forced me to take refuge in the rear bar area. Jody Grind were the first to drive me to shelter, and the second effort, Mayblitz, also failed to charm me out with their delicate melodies. With the close of this jolly little mind-numbing assault, a host of Love “roadies” started setting up gear and we amused ourselves by counting the microphones webbed round a giant drum kit, and by counting the “roadies” themselves, come to that. They were so well organised that some were engaged in serving up drinks on trays to the group.
Suddenly the lights were dim and Love were on stage, Arthur Lee very relaxed, tuning his guitar, watching his musicians. Then they were away with “August” opening number on their recent “Four Sail” album.
Lee’s voice is far more flexible than on record. He belts his guitar with thumb and fingers using it, like Richie Havens, as a percussive as well as a musical instrument. On bass, Frank Fayad’s playing is deceptive.
Almost no effort is visible but impact is tremendous. Those mikes picked up George Suranovich’s battering drumming and hammered the sound all over the college. For a four - strong band they take some catching. Magnetism.
Lee has a look of Hendrix about him, but he doesn’t leap about. With his voice and musicianship he can produce an effect and magnetism very few can equal. How Love managed to project their often complex recorded material so accurately but with added fire, I don’t know. “I’ve never seen a band like it since Hendrix,” muttered a dazed fan as the show ended.
It was very early Saturday, March 7. It was Arthur Lee’s birthday.