AMSTERDAM — A night of skilled music making. For the time being, that seems to be the most adequate qualification for the night concert (Saturday Concertgebouw) by the American 'underground' group Iron Butterfly and its British colleagues, operating under the name Yes, whereby the former formation, consisting of organist-leader Doug Inigle, the energetic drummer Ron Buszy, solo guitarist Erik Braun, bassist Lee Dorïnan with - as fifth man (rhythm and lead guitar) the mysterious Pinera (or Wino?) also played on the latest album Metamorphosis, gained a small lead on points. That could happen because Yes, a fairly new five-piece group from the free sector (which means as much as processing all kinds of musical movements and influences) took quite some time to warm up a bit and actually only in its last song (an adapted version of Paul Simons America) managed to display the full blast of musical skills, which turned out to entail a large dose of technical ability and an adequate application of the close-harmony idiom.
Iron Butterfly, however (the group is so much older, dates back to the days when the first nascent hippie phenomena stirred the then silent majority) immediately trotted energetically and routinely from the starting blocks and kept it all up quite easily, right up to the last note of the success song In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, which has since become popular, in which Mr. Pinera and Ron Bushy, who had a plexiglass drum set at their disposal, performed impressively. Before that, the close group relationships and the surplus of instrumental music in songs like Easy Rider, Remember The Good Times, Shady Lady and Stone Believer had already convinced me, that a group of craftsmen was working here in a less irritating and pretentious way than Iron Butterfly often shows on its records, although this does not mean that pop music was made on all fronts of a high quality. The magnificent packaging of all kinds of instrumental delights mainly appeared to house The Great Nothing. An emotionless emptiness, the lack of just that little, indefinable extra that would have lifted all that craftsmanship above the level of technical sensation.
On Saturday night, two foreign groups again performed in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the young English formation Yes and the American group Iron Butterfly. As has been the case lately, again the best music was made by far in the support act. Yes proved to be a clear asset to the somewhat anemic English pop stock of the moment. The group makes exciting music of very decent quality, which is even brilliant at times. Those top moments were mainly provided by the excellent guitarist Steve Howe.
The group played a number of their own songs, such as Yours Is No Disgrace, and a single song by another, such as Paul Simons America in a striking arrangement of their own. Yes's instrumental arrangements forced to do so by a noticeable shortness of breath, to lengthy 'sensitive' songs, in which the emotions of an elephant must still be subtle. The narcissism displayed by guitarist/singer Erik Brann (including in his tinkering with a kind of electric water pipe) was downright painful. The Best Years Of Our Lives, Easy Rider (an annoying prostitution on the success of the eponymous film) and of course the million-seller In-A-Gadda-Da-Vddda were to hear. The most interesting was actually the beautiful, translucent Perspex drum set by percussionist Don Bushy, which produced a hard and dry sound. A performance that should soon be forgotten.
AMSTERDAM, 11 Jan. — Iron Butterfly is a group from Los Angeles that tries to represent magical realism in pop music. As the name already symbolizes, the group tries to explore the cosmos, with both feet firmly on the ground. The musicians use a very penetrating heavy rock as a basis, on which a lot is floated away, especially by means of organist-singer Doug Ingle. It is sometimes called psychedelic rock. In the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, where the group gave a concert on Saturday night, the members of the group not only radiated little magic, it also became clear that they belong to the most unfavorable musicians in America. Hard, very simple riffs were interspersed with what should have been psychedelic sounds.
Organist Ingle was also more muddy than psychedelic. It was all a bit of a muddy mess coming off the stage, because bassist Lee Dorman also got little nuanced music from his bass, mainly because he struck the instrument with his fingers instead of playing it with a pick. Of course we had to wait for the big hit "In-a-gadda-davida", played live by the stars themselves. When that song finally came out, it showed once again how bad it is. Continuing with just one rather irritating riff, the group plays variations for about twenty minutes on a theme that doesn't exist, but is probably floating somewhere in the cosmos, unrecognizable to earth people. In it then another solo (on a completely transparent drum kit) by the full-time amateur drummer Ron Bushy,
By way of contrast probably played the highly skilled group Yes. Building on their excellent playing guitarist (on an amplified acoustic guitar) and the very strangely dressed bassist Chris Squire, who started Yes in 1969, the group played a very complex form of pop music, in which many jazz influences could be heard. The very small singer turned out to have a beautiful voice among the companies and to be able to get very nice sounds from a kind of meccano box.
Last weekend the English group Yes and the American group Irpn Butterfly gave away excited evenings of pop in Eindhoven, Amsterdam and Rotterdam that yielded more folkloric pop therapist than captivating music.
Yes. performing with a bass guitarist dressed as a kind of Batman and an organist with a broken ankle, it soon got bogged down in too long sustained, tension-free improvisations, in which many sounds were crushed by hurricane-strength loudspeakers. This despite Steve Howe's clever guitar exercises and Jon Anderson's nuanced singing.
Iron Butterfly was equally unimpressive with its pathetic trip music, but won the duel on points due to a predominance of professional instruments and skilful* presentation. According to the surviving process, the head went into the neck, the guitar stem went vertical, the strings were touched as if they were 220 volts and the rest shook and ripped as vigorously as possible after the screeching guitar sirens.
The most striking thing about the Iron Butterfly were the electric wire in the oral cavity of guitarist Mike Pinera, with which an electrically amplified burp was occasionally released, and the clearer sounding drum solo by Ron Bushy on a transparent Perspex drum set during „In-a -Gadda-Da-Vida”.
For that top song, from 1969, most seemed to have come to the reasonably filled Concertgebouw.