If I said 'Thijs van Leer' to your face, you'd be well within your rights to poke me in the eye with a slipper. But the well-informed person would probably ask 'what, is he still playing the flute in that Dutch group? Blimey' or something like it.
Indeed Mr van Leer is still the main-man in Focus, the prog-jazz-rock band who formed in the late 60s in Holland and released an enviable set of beat-perfect near-instrumentals, spread across a handful of classic albums, arguably the best of which are 'Making Waves', 'Focus 3', 'At the Rainbow' and 'Hamburger Concerto', although the debut 'In and Out of Focus' did have 'House of the King' on it (theme to 'Saxondale')and 'Mother Focus' is just a great title.
Full-on technical riffs, pounding jazz and rock beats (including the odd 10-minute solo) and falsetto vocals offset by crazed flute-chugging might scare some of you but if you want to witness Focus play 'live' then they are out on the road for a pre-festival warm-up, a festival itself and then an Autumn tour. Yowzah, I say!
The warm-up is in Leamington on 22nd July (£16) and features a performance of the Live At The Rainbow set, intended as a possible set inclusion at their later appearance at the High Voltage Festival 2010 on 24th and 25th July in East London. 'Rainbow' came out in 1973 and the plan is to play the released track list which includes 'Hocus Pocus' and 'Sylvia', two of their biggest tracks.
The October tour begins in Tavistock on the 1st and continues via Falmouth, Bristol, Newcastle, Manchester, Holmfirth and many more until the 20th when the band end up in Southampton. These dates will be more of a showcase for their recent album 'Focus 9' as well as tapping into their familiar catalogue. Tickets are around the £17.50 mark.