The Magic Orifice is a temporary architectural intervention designed by the Roxy’s resident handyman Tom Clowney. What this amounts to is a hive-shaped pod made out of triangular panels that looks like a miniature festival stage squeezed inside the Roxy’s stage area with trippy projections beamed on top. Perfect, then, for the lounge-bar prog vehicle of keyboardist John Miller and drummer Ben Reed, who play two sets of 70s avant-rock rarities straight out of Canterbury.
With a past playing with Van Morrison and folk-pop veterans Stackridge, Miller is more than well-versed in a leftfield canon of eccentric ditties which he sings in eloquent cut-glass tones. Augmented by occasional kazoo solos, Miller’s electric keyboard captures the rinky-dink drawing room wiggyness of Henry Cow and Slapp Happy, but still manages to turn Brian Protheroe’s strung-out one-hit wonder, ‘Pinball’, into a funkalicious monster. During a closing take on Argent’s ‘Hold Your Head Up’, two Roxy-ites open up one of the Magic Orifice’s panels and walk through. Without batting an eyelid, Miller places his shoe atop his keyboard. Now that’s magic.