Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cy Curnin (The Fixx) concert review: Riverside

Inland Empire fans of The Fixx witnessed a rare solo appearance by Cy Curnin on Saturday night in Riverside, Calif., where the singer performed on acoustic guitar/keyboards at Romano’s Concert Lounge. 

I had seen the successful British synth-pop group several times since the early ‘90s (most recently during a brief, yet brilliant 2010 slot on the JACK-FM radio festival bill in Irvine), but never caught the front man alone. What a treat.

Former KROQ/106.7 FM deejay Richard Blade did an enthusiastic introduction, recalling an early Fixx gig back in the day (he also spun top new wave tunes post-show, at midnight). Then a long-haired Curnin emerged and said, “The Eighties seem so far away. This is me without my band mates in the nude; it’s how the songs start in my bedroom.” 

His 17-song, 80-minute set opened with an impassioned, gritty “Driven Out,” the first of nine Fixx tunes. Curnin recognized a few diehard enthusiasts near the front of the stage right away.  One couple drove in from North San Diego County. 

While it would’ve been preferable to get song IDs from Curnin’s obscure solo albums (and for them to be offered on sale), there was plenty of between song banter and dry British wit. One time he mused, “another election year – I wonder what secrets will unfold?” The title track of Curnin’s 2007 effort “The Returning Sun” was soulful, while “Simply Complicated,” off ‘09’s “Solar Minimum,” proved somber. 

“How Much is Enough,” The Fixx’s last hit single from ’91, sported a lively vocal and fast-strummed acoustic guitar treatment.  He admitted to missing Jamie West-Oram’s usual searing electric guitar work on it, but everything sounded fine.  The dramatic piano-based ballad “I Will,” from 1984’s “Phantoms” was a nice surprise. 

Other signature Fixx songs like “Secret Separation,” “One Thing Leads to Another” (punctuated with heavy breathing) and a slowly dramatic “Saved By Zero” were particularly intriguing in the stripped-down format.  Regarding the latter, Curnin quipped, “it meant nothing to begin with and still doesn’t.” The main set concluded with “Red Skies” and some call and response action.

Curnin plays the Hotel CafĂ© in Hollywood, 9:30 p.m. Monday, $21; SLO Brewing Co. in San Luis Obispo, 7 p.m. Tuesday, $12. 

Romano’s hosts Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers, 9 p.m. Friday, $15; Dave Wakeling’s English Beat, 8 p.m. Feb. 18, $22.50. 21 and over. 

For more information, go to or call (951) 781-7662. The Concert Lounge is adjacent to Romano’s Italian Restaurant, which has a full menu and is located at 5225 Canyon Crest Drive, near UCR.     

1 comment:

Gina McGrath said...

Great blog entry! Enjoyed it, and the concert!
-The couple from north San Diego