On the Origin of the Species
On the Origin of the Species
Image: Steve Petty

Steve Pretty on the Origin of the Pieces

4/5 stars
Event review by Edward Whelan.
Published 13 August 2010

A professional jazz musician, Steve Pretty found himself largely shielded from the sticky and sweet world of pop until, at the age of 29, he set out to listen to it all. He would uncover, he decided, the evolution of pop music.

What you get is a dash through the uses and abuses of music, from Neolithic man to New Order. We are invited to join him in creating an hour of beeps and whistles, chants and knocks. Expect to be offered instruments, instructed on the use of the human skull as a resonant chamber and bear witness to improvised trumpet blues. As we create both strange musical oddities and moments of cacophony, the audience participation is for once more than a gimmick. Pretty has more than enough knowledge to fill the hour and lectures with self-deprecating skill, keeping his snobbery for pop in check whilst grappling with what must be drilling crassness for the musically trained. With only a trumpet and a temperamental looper pedal, Steve Pretty has created a fascinating comic lecture. Go. Have a laugh. And get to play with shakers.