Classic Clapton Covers Coming Soon To K-Town

Article by Corin Shearston

It has been 60 years since an unidentified fan first spray-painted ‘Clapton is God’ on a corrugated metal wall in the north London district of Islington, roughly around the time of Eric Clapton’s brief but fruitful musical tenures from The Yardbirds to John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. While being a hasty piece of enthusiastic vandalism, the popular slogan went on to help the world identify the emergence of the ‘guitar god’ figure in modern rock.

Shortly afterwards, Clapton co-founded Cream in 1966 with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, whose international household name was gradually solidified in the many decades after their intensely active two-year existence as a power trio. Before burning out as quickly as they first erupted, Cream cut such hits as ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’, ‘Strange Brew’ and ‘White Room’ while helping to define the look and spirit of late-60s British psychedelia.

Five decades after embarking on his still-ongoing solo career in 1970, one year after the swift 1969 existence of the supergroup Blind Faith, Clapton is now one year away from turning 80. During the year in which he went solo, Clapton fronted Derek and the Dominos, another short-lived group that he performed lead guitar and wrote songs for, whose second hit ‘Layla’ achieved chart success in 1972 and again in 1992, as part of the track-listing for Clapton’s Unplugged album – the bestselling live album of all time, and Clapton’s bestselling album (over 26 million copies and counting). 30 years later, Clapton fans, fellow-musicians and music lovers can re-live the excitement, virtuosity and depth of Unplugged with Matt Arthur & The Lazybones, who are performing the album and other assorted Clapton favourites on Saturday, May 25 at The Baroque Room in Katoomba.

Arthur is a longtime guitarist and singer-songwriter from Orange NSW, who previously performed a one-man Dire Straits show and recently released his first album of original material, Then And Now, whose sizzling blues track ‘Bad Karma’ proved to be a snappy toe-tapper. His debut 2018 solo album, On Their Shoulders, reflected the maintaining of legacy referenced its title by showcasing Arthur’s covers of songs by the likes of Van Morrison and Bill Withers. After touring with the Lazybones for a few months now, Arthur’s upcoming Katoomba date marks the third instalment of a four-night run which also includes performances in Marrickville’s Lazy Bones Lounge, Bathurst’s Little Alberts and concludes at Fred’s Shed in Dural. Next month, Arthur has his sights set on performances in Armidale, Glen Innes and Cootamundra, among other regional hot spots, with Melbourne and Brisbane shows already planned for August and November, respectively.

Matt Arthur

“We are really pleased to be bringing the entire Eric Clapton ‘Unplugged’ album. With me, in the Lazybones lineup are Sam McNally – Keys, Michael Vidale – Bass and Dave Egan – Drums., but I do pull out the black strat’ and we do Cream, Yardbirds etc.”

Upcoming Shows

The esteemed players joining Arthur in The Lazybones are keyboardist Sam McNally (John Farnham, Air Supply, Stylus), bassist Michael Vidale (Jimmy & The Boys, Cold Chisel’s Don Walker, The Bushwhackers), and drummer Dave Egan (The Enormous Horns). When not holding the beat alongside Vidale’s electric, upright “black stick” double bass, Egan is known as The Drum Doctor, a touring instrument technician whose clients include Midnight Oil’s Rob Hirst and Opera Australia. Utilising an arsenal of five guitars to achieve Clapton’s smooth, ‘Slowhand’ tones, Arthur prioritises genuine connections with his audiences while supported by the enthusiastic playing of his band.

We don’t hold back at the end”, he says. “If anyone’s a Clapton fan, they shouldn’t miss it”. Blue Mountains attendees can expect two hour-long sets of material, broken up by an interval, with no opening acts and Arthur’s albums available for sale. You might even get some Cream, Yardbirds and Bluesbreakers tracks in the mix teases Arthur.

What’s next for B;lue Mountains Live: Upcoming Blue Mountains performances by The Stranglers’ Hugh Cornwell and Sweet’s Andy Scott will provide two more great treats for local classic rock fans in themonths ahead. Imterview with Andy Scott in the works …

Matt Arthur & The Lazybones performing "Before You Accuse Me" at The Orange Civic Theatre

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