The Urban Voodoo Machine is a collective of shadowy, London based, ne’er do wells, led by Norwegian born songwriter/frontman Paul-Ronney Angel. Featuring up to nine musicians at any given time, The ‘Machine mash-up guitars, twin drummers, fiddle, trumpet, tuba, banjo, washboard, upright bass, gong, mandolin, accordion, harmonicas, saxophone, sousaphone and even empty bottles and tie racks to create their unique brand of Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop’n’Stroll.
The stars were very much aligned the night Paul-Ronney Angel was begged by a promoter to be the filling in a triple-bill band sandwich. Never one to turn down a knees-up, P-R realised he had 48 hours to put a band together. No problem! Trawling the dives and doss houses of London, he called in some favours, cracked some whips and so it was that The Urban Voodoo Machine lurched into life.
In 2008 The Urban Voodoo Machine opened for The Pogues on their American tour after a personal invitation from Spider Stacy, which in turn led to them being offered The Pogues full UK & Ireland X-Mas tour later the same year. The following year saw the release of their debut album ‘Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop’N’Stroll’, on Gypsy Hotel Records. The album scored top reviews in all the major music magazines and made ‘Albums of the Year’ lists in Classic Rock and Big Cheese magazines. This was backed with lots of live shows and touring including headlining East London’s prestigious and beautiful Hackney Empire and joining the legendary New York Dolls on their UK tour.
Notable live events since then have included prestige shows in Norway, Hungary, Spain, Finland, Holland, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany and France.
Major festival appearances include Glastonbury, Download, Latitude, Edinburgh, Sziget, Hard Rock Calling alongside Paul McCartney, Bestival, Bulldog Bash and Ukraine Stadium alongside Goran Bregovic and they have performed everywhere from prisons, schools and churches!
In 2016 The Urban Voodoo Machine release their eagerly awaited fourth album with more of the same style classic ‘bourbon soaked’ songs that their loyal fans have come to expect. Live shows begin in May and promise to be another wild adventure.
"Furiously energetic and versatile" - The Guardian
"Drawing deep from a dirty well where Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Dick Dale are enjoying a burlesque all-nighter with Ennio Morricone" - Classic Rock
Influenced by the skullduggery and honky tonk blues of Tom Waits and Nick Cave, the simple sentiment of Daniel Johnson, the slutty vibe of The Velvet Underground and the cheekiness of Ian Dury, Big Top Heartbreak is Scott Lavene. Raised in Essex and east London he spent teens and early twenties playing in various bands and making a nuisance of himself in New York, France and London. The songwriting led to interest from major labels but at the same time a serious health condition arose which drove him underground for five years. Living on a boat and trying to find the unfindable, a maudlin and solitary life took over.
Two bob jobs onto more two bob jobs eventually led to a major breakdown and he spent six months in a house for the bewildered where some peace was found for the first time. Upon leaving, Scott began writing songs again for the first time in years. The passion was back. With more direction and gusto, this has become Big Top Heartbreak. Songs full of sorrow and hope. A captivating and honest performer live. Tales from the underbelly, stories from the sordid, always laced with love and a glint in the eye. A voice capable of both menace and delicacy. Piano ballads. Gypsy foot tappers and filthy blue growlers. Something for everyone.