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EVENING STANDARD

3rd November 2004

Bruce Dessau

Unpicking rock's rich tapestry

Mitch Benn, 100 Club

Musical comedy is clearly the new rock and roll. Bill Bailey is storming West End and Mitch Benn, slightly similar style, slightly more lustrous mane, is making waves with his incisive parodies on various Radio Four outlets. A TV hit is surely a note away for this master of fine-tuned irreverence.

In his quest to unpick rock's rich tapestry Benn leaves few turns unstoned. Hendrix, Bowie and the Smiths are mocked, while the self-reflexive West End Musical deftly deconstructs Lloyd Webber's oeuvre in three minutes. Benn has a CD out, Too Late to Cancel, But you'll have to see him to hear Liam's Lonely Hearts Club band, which utilises 11 royalty-busting Beatles riffs. Onstage this neatly segues in to his Fab Four homage Please Don't Release This Song, complete with memorable couplet: "Don't get remixers in, please don't call Jeff Lynne."

The targets have been previously spoofed by the Rutles and Spitting Image among many, but this gifted guitarist, backed by propulsive rhythm section Kirsty Newton and Tasha Baylis, hits countless bull's-eyes. The climax finds him swapping his Strat for Eminem's woolly hat and rapping Macbeth by Wordmaster Will. Funnier than a Justin Hawkins jump-suit.
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