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Colchester Arts Centre

Welcome to the hard but fair reality of [B]Mynci[/B] 2000. Weary of conventional tour routine, [B]Gorky[/B]'s have decided to do it their way.

Colchester Arts Centre

Stepping over the drooling, unconscious groupies down the front and without so much as a "Yo! Colchester! You are without doubt the kerrayzeeist bunch of muthas in the whole of Essex!", Euros Childs seizes the mic and shows just why he's known as the Bill Hicks of rustic psychedelia. "So. John Cale. What a bastard. What a miserable bastard!" Guess we know in whose honour the preceding rendition of 'Sweet Johnny' was not.

Welcome to the hard but fair reality of Mynci 2000. Weary of conventional tour routine, Gorky's have decided to do it their way. No support, two sets, fluctuating line-ups, an eight-page programme with mirthful pen profiles of band and crew ("Tom Gordon: Monitor Engineer. Tom is looking forward to the tour, having gained the necessary expertise with The Lighthouse Family"), and, of course, the boy Childs' impressive new line in ribald banter. The comic factor is considerable, while the musical rewards are bountiful in the extreme. Incredible though it may seem, we're witnessing the tenth year of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, and this expansive revue suggests heightened levels of self-confidence bolstering their never-less-than ambitious impulses.

Beginning with a four-sevenths strong seated configuration on 'Hallway', each song sees additional band members arriving to augment the acoustic core. The presence of producer Gorwel Owen on keyboards frees up Childs to play guitar, revelling in his Gram Parsons fixation ("Welcome to the country corner part of the show. Unfortunately only one song survives from the country corner, so it's more of a country post"), and dipping generously into parts ancient and new. There's room for B-sides and covers - Robert Wyatt's 'O Caroline' - as well as the latest album's creamy West-Coastal rockathons, before an interval allows DJ Chris Ronco to maintain the resolutely agreeable vibe with scratchy records made by men wearing cowboy hats.

Refreshed and resplendent in a T-shirt depicting a very big mushroom, Childs woofs off the final act with 'Poodle Rockin'', but though all concerned are now conscientiously following the programme's stated brief - "Gorky's Zygotic Mynci standing up to play" - notions of conformity receive short shrift. A Gene Clark cover, the unexplained lambasting of a Welsh rock legend, pure honey oozing from every note... what makes this band so cherishable is their restless desire to soak up age-old musical signifiers and impart a brand new sense of wonder. It goes almost without saying how beautifully they pull it off.

That's Mynci 2000, then. Someday, in our dreams, all groups will play like this.

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