The Crazy World of Arthur Brown tours the U.S. for the first time in more than 40 years | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Music » Concert Preview

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown tours the U.S. for the first time in more than 40 years


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


I hesitate to call someone a “genius” musically or otherwise, but what other term is there for the guy who basically invented glam-horror-soul-psychedelia-industrial-infused rock music? Who has a voice that can shatter glass? Who’s known for wearing a flaming helmet? Who was one of the first to use a drum machine onstage? Most folks know Arthur Brown for his 1968 hit “Fire,” a bit of satanic-leaning acid rock inspired by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins that has Pete Townshend credited as associate producer. His corpse-painted face directly inspired Alice Cooper and Kiss, and his primordial shriek was mimicked by many a budding metalhead. Always forward-thinking and ahead of his time, Brown later began the early-70s dystopian group Kingdom Come (not to be confused with the German glam-metal band Kingdom Come), which utilized bizarre costumes to reflect its higher concept—there was a human traffic-signal getup, and Brown attached himself to a cross. The band was also among the first to use the EMS VCS 3 analog synthesizer along with other pioneering electronics, allegedly influencing Throbbing Gristle. In the 80s Brown moved to Texas and explored bizarre new wave—finding air time on MTV even—while collaborating with the Mothers of Invention’s Jimmy Carl Black on both music and a house-painting company (named Brown and Black, natch). This is the first Crazy World of Arthur Brown tour in the U.S. in more than four decades, and the band will perform material from throughout its entire career, including the surprisingly good 2014 LP Zim Zam Zim. Bassist Bruce Hughes, drummer Chip Vayenas, keyboardist Dane Farnsworth, and guitarist Carter Arrington will be in tow, along with a light show and dancers. I saw Brown perform in London a few years ago, and the man still has moves, costumes, and a voice so powerful it boggles the mind.   v

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment