Zim Zam Zim: Arthur Brown Changes The World Once Again In New York City


Arthur Brown is, in a word, the absolute freakin’ man. This is the guy who pretty much invented heavy metal. This is the guy whose last US tour was with the motherfucking Doors. Jimi MOTHERFUCKING Hendrix wanted to work with this cat. And yet a lot of people have forgotten who he is or the influence he had. Few people remember that when all is said and done there would be no corpse paint without Arthur Brown, and the big bellowing vocals which bands like Iron Maiden made metal famous for would never have evolved without the booming magic of I Put A Spell On You. There is something deeply, and wonderfully satanic about The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. Something that can’t help but to enamor the listener simply because it represents a universe so uniquely alien to our own that to ignore its omnipotence would be totally remiss. So when Arthur Brown took the stage at New York City’s famous Le Poisson Rouge I couldn’t help but feel a sort of ripple in reality.

Before I delve into the greatness of The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown I do want to spare a minute for Electric Citizen – a band who I can’t help but to adore. In a world where tons of ‘stoner rock’ bands are creating dull and repetitive music Electric Citizen are wonderfully tapped into what the sixties were all about. Their live show is entrancing, Laura Dolan is an incredibly talented frontwoman, a powerful focal point to an amazing band. When you watch Electric Citizen it feels like you are being carried back in time to a point where psych rock dominated and even the pop bands played out of full stacks. There are no pretentions around these guys, simply pure rock and roll bliss and if you can’t embrace the beauty of that then I am genuinely sorry for you.

Then it was time for the man of the hour, and his set was, of course, triumphant. It’s impossible to separate yourself from all that he has done and when he performs there is an exciting sense of history. Even though the set covers all aspects of his career you know he stands for a very different time, one where the rules where very different and where it is borderline impossible to separate yourself from the sheer majesty of the art. The thing is – Arthur Brown clearly doesn’t take himself seriously. As much as he might have a wild stage show with elaborate costumes, a dancing lady and all that jazz he also is prone to falling into fits of purely delighted movement. He is incredibly with it, and as his band pulses along behind him you find yourself getting pulled along for an extra-musical ride. There is a sort of zest to what Arthur Brown does on stage that makes it impossible to not want to be a part of what he brings to the table. The bonafide passion with which he presents himself is endlessly endearing, gyrating up and down across the stage and reminding us that at the end of the day – rock and roll will never die, because relics from the past will always linger on and inspire new blood.

What I love about seeing old rock stars like this is the sense that you are witnessing a ‘happening’. Be it in the old hippies sprawled out in the back at the height of an acid trip, the dude you meet who saw Black Sabbath in 1973, or the young couple simply in love with what’s going on. All of this is bathed in Arthur Brown’s force of personality, an all encompassing magic that leaves you in total awe, drowning under waves of volume and worshiping a sound that so many ignore. The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown can’t help but to entrap the audience, the costumes are magically garish, the stage show highly stimulating and the music just straight up glorious. I go to 200 or so shows a year, but it’s nights like this one that make it all worth it, that remind us that when it comes down to it Arthur Brown is the man who made it all happen.

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  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Not trying to be a dick but “I Put A Spell On You” was Screamin Jay Hawkins

  • Howard Dean

    Whoa, Matt Bacon goes to 200 or more shows per year? GET A HAIRCUT AND GET A REAL JOB, BROHEMIAN GROVE

    But in all seriousness, that’s nuts! I haven’t been to anywhere near 200 shows in my entire life. You must be fighting the chronic tinnitus fight, my friend. (inb4 witty “HUH? WHAT WAS THAT?!” comment)

    • Eliza

      An then there’s me who’s only been to like two real shows in my entire life.

      • Howard Dean

        I’m right there with you. I’m a lot closer to 2 than I am 200.

        • Eliza

          200 seems unreachable.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Awesome article, sounds like an incredible experience

  • When you attend even dozens of shows, you can become fatigued very quickly by seeing the exact same thing on every stage by every band. It’s live shows like this, where the music and performance match up to provide something extra, that remind us why we go to concerts. Great article Bacon

  • I tried to get Arthur Brown on the podcast and I was severely bummed when it fell through. Jelly, Bacon.

  • Dumpster Lung

    Man, this was a great read, and I had never heard any of his stuff before either. This is cool for sure! Will definitely be checking out more of this guy’s stuff!

  • Rain Poncho W.


  • Sid Vicious Promos

    I missed it? Goddamnit.

    • Howard Dean

      JJD: I know you often lament the lack of tour stops in Poughkeepsie, but there must be a decent amount of underground bands (probably not metal) that play at Vassar. Sidenote: You should see if someone at Vassar will let you play a house party as Mr. In Your House 4.


        oh shit MIYH4 Live Multimedia Experience

        • Howard Dean

          It would be like a power electronics concert, only instead of harsh noise over images of rape and murder it would be spoken word about beer and McDonald’s mascots and vaporwave over images of T@co Bell and Wrestlemania clips.

      • Sid Vicious Promos

        I saw a musicians there art a convention i was at.

  • The Mighty Thorange

    Arthur Brown is and always will be an absolute fucking legend. Never seen him live myself but I know folk who have and they have said it is one of the best shows they have ever seen. I am fully determined to see him next time he tours round my area.

  • atchdav

    Zim Zam Zim is an awesome album. Arthur Brown is definitely own of the greats.

  • Waynecro

    This is a great article, Bacon. Thanks!

  • Mon*Star

    Love Arthur Brown. I listened to ‘Crazy World of Arthur Brown’ the first time I toked. I knew if and when that happened, that would be the album.

    However, not big on Electric Citizen. They got the gig opening for King Diamond when he last played Pittsburgh, and I was excited to see them. However, every song was nearly 100% Black Sabbath riff ripoffage. The audience was singing Sabbath lyrics to their songs. I thought the singer made a great effort to be charismatic and entrancing, but it felt forced and her voice wasn’t great, although got better as the set went on. Just my thoughts from one show.