MUSICIANS dressed as nuns, belly dancers, the ‘world’s worst magician’, a former member of Procul Harum with a duck on his head — and an X-Factor contestant with seven million YouTube hits to her name.
It’s the circus, but not as you know it — the latest flight of fancy to spring forth from the fevered imagination of Scott Marson, godfather of cult Burton music collective Kitten Pyramid.
A late addition to the line-up for the eccentric extravaganza, which comes to Burton’s Brewers Bar later this month, is Jade Richards, who reached the judges’ house stage of last year’s X-Factor and is bidding for glory again in this year’s competition.
The Scottish singing star will perform a couple of songs with Tatenhill-based former Procul Harum and Bedlam guitar legend Dave Ball, who will also act as ringmaster for the show, sporting ornithologically-inspired headgear.
“Jade is someone who has a genuinely good voice, is a genuinely nice person and could be a big hit,” says Ball. “Adele is busy having babies now and this is someone who could easily fit into that slot.”
The event will feature Burton historical re-enactor Tom Fermor as ‘the world’s worst magician’, a troupe of Balkan belly dancers, a full set from Kitten Pyramid, featuring trumpet, flute, saxophone and two drum kits, the night ending with a live DJ mash-up featuring samples from the performance, by erstwhile Kitten Matt Redfern.
Also scaring the punters will be a twoman operated 5ft 2ins puppet, resembling a character from cult 80s fantasy film Labyrinth, while a charity raffle and fancy dress competition will be held.
Such weirdness will come as little surprise to anyone who has seen Kitten Pyramid perform, the circus being the natural extension to the fancy-dressed mayhem of their live performances.
“When we’re playing with other bands we don’t want to be too eccentric because we get in their way, but historically we have always dressed up and had things like cake-throwing at our gigs,” says Marson.
“We are trying to do things a little bit differently and we wanted to put something on where it’s not just three bands in a row, which is already being done very well by other promoters in Burton.
“We want to get together a formula which can be applied to other venues in other towns and the less sensible side of me thinks we could even have our own big circus tent and just go off touring.
“We want it to be a little bit like the League of Gentlemen’s idea of a circus. I want people to feel — not uncomfortable — but maybe a little bit scared.”
So how did the Brummie-born, New Zealand-raised Ball get involved in this madness? “I’m just doing it so Scott doesn’t keep ringing me up and coming round,”he jokes.
“And because I really like the Burton music scene — it’s very healthy and it’s also a laugh, not least of which is Scott’s various line-ups.
“I didn’t even realise there was a music scene here until one day I popped into (town recording studios) Arch. This guy (Marson) arrived and suddenly I got to meet all these musicians.
“It all opened up from there and I realised there was this whole bizarre music scene here. Ever since, I’ve been hanging around and getting free drinks.”
The drinks won’t be free but entry is just £3 on the door when the Kitten Pyramid Circus comes to the Brewers Bar, in High Street, Burton, on Friday, September 28, starting at 7.30pm. More information is available online at www.kittenpyramid.co.uk