Stuart Chatwood, Jeff Burrows and Jeff Martin at Hamilton Place
Ever since issuing their latest `Ocean At The End’ release in September 2014, The Tea Party have been touring relentlessly and with each gig, guitarist/vocalist Jeff Martin, multi-percussionist Jeff Burrows and bassist/multi-instrumentalist Stuart Chatwood continue to prove what an amazingly tight trio they really are. It’s not surprising that The Tea Party are on the same record label, (Anthem) as another talented trio (Rush), and although totally different entities music-wise, you can’t help but marvel at the dexterity Messers Martin, Burrows and Chatwood execute in creating the mystical sounds that have become The Tea Party’s trademark.
As promised the main body of their set was a complete rendition of their 1995 `End Of Twilight’ record which they performed faultlessly but also with a sense of energy that generates from a band obviously enjoying themselves again. They even acknowledged their influences by inserting a taste of The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” into “Sister Awake”, spicing up “Coming Home” with The Doors’ LA Woman’ and even adding the familiar refrains of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” to “Save Me” from their `Splendor Solis” record, the track that kick-started all The Tea Party excitement back in 1991.
Suffice to say Hamilton Place was a love-in for The Tea Party, there was great interplay between Martin and the audience, the band were technically spot-on as they rounded out their set with “Writings On the Wall” from `Splendor Solis’, the title track from `Ocean At The End”, their trademark “Heaven Coming Down” from `Triptych’ and the aforementioned “Save Me” before encoring with “Temptation” from their 1995 Transmission release.
With Martin residing in Australia, it is inevitable that The Tea Party can only launch these bouts of activity on an irregular basis but even they must realize that their popularity is as strong as ever and surely more recording and touring is on the cards.
Prior to their scheduled performance Saturday at Massey Hall, The Tea Party will receive no less than six Music Express Awards for their endeavours over the past 12 months –and they have deserved every single plaudit.
All photos by Kris Gelder