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What did you do there, Small Faces?

April 30, 2017

 All or Nothing, Belgrade Theatre, May 4-6

 

I was sitting in the newsroom of a Sunday paper when news of Steve Marriott’s death in a house fire came in.

 It was met with indifference and ‘who’s he’ by anyone under 30; and a chorus of various Small Faces hits by those of us over.

 It was April 1991 and the band’s singer, by then long since out the spotlight and dependent on drugs and drink, died in a  fire at his Essex cottage caused by his own discarded cigarette.

 The pint-sized east ender with the soulful voice never joined the pantheon of rock heroes idolised in death, like Hendrix or Morrison or even the more moderately talented Marc Bolan.

 But he certainly deserves his place as one of the most influential stars of the 60s pop revolution that threw the UK switch from dreary black and white to vibrant technicolor.

 A lot is made of his soulful voice but it is probably the Small Faces’ self penned songs that are the true legacy, Britpop long before Blur was born.  And it came with the full blown Mod look which set the template for Paul Weller.

 As they were also the cutest pop band around - true, there weren’t that many competitors - they also attracted so many wild women they had to appear behind a metal grid on some gigs.

 Now the Small Faces story is being told on stage. All or Nothing tells the electrifying yet bittersweet tale of Kenney Jones, Ian McLagan, Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriott.

 And it’s not a honey-coated jukebox musical that will be staged at The Belgrade theatre from May 4-6, although the show is packed with their hits: Whatcha Gonna Do About It, Tin Soldier, Lazy Sunday, Here Comes the Nice, Itchycoo Park and of course All or Nothing.

 Carol Harrison wrote and stars in the show. She is probably best known as the exciting, fiery and passionate Louise Raymond in Eastenders.  

 The show is endorsed and supported by many of those who feature in its story, including singer P.P. Arnold and Steve Marriott’s daughter Mollie Marriott, who is the show’s vocal coach.

 

 

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