Posts Tagged ‘80’s’

How did The Waterboys evade me for this long? After spectating on their three-song Jools Holland set and reading StevoMusicMan’s review, I am now immersing myself in their Best Of ’81-’90 album.

Album cover – The Best Of the Waterboys ’81-’90.

Formed in 1983 by ‘madman/genius’ Scottish songwriter Mike Scott, The Waterboys have gone on to become an age-defying project that has encompassed Celtic folk and rock influences. Although an 80’s child myself (Calvin Harris has love for me), The Waterboys’ big music didn’t quite penetrate my unfused two-week-old braincase. Hence I am playing catch up as per usual!

Highlight of the Best Of disc is Ivor Novello award-winning The Whole of The Moon – a marching romp that reaches cacophony levels by the time it encounters trumpets. Funnily enough, a main feature of Don’t Bang The Drum is the walloping percussions reminiscent of any Top of The Pops 2 edition.

New tenth album An Appointment with Mr Yeats is Scott’s musical embodiment of W.B Yeats’ poetry. Sweet Dancer is a crooning melody littered with endearing piano keys and romantic lines. In the beautiful waltzing Mad as the Mist and Snow I genuinely believe the Anglo-Scottish-Irish act could have an outsider for Christmas number one. In an ideal world of course.

With The Pogues supposedly now retired from Christmas concerts following their 2010 Farewell tour, Mike Scott and co can claim the season as their own. I can just see the snow machines sprinkling winter venues now… Catch the rest of the Jools set at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/later/#p00lgvhp

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Echo & The Bunnymen have a legacy. Evidently this is something Ian McCulloch needs to learn and not ruin. “We think it’s important to keep coming back” the gruff, notoriously uncompromising vocalist tells this evening’s all-seater audience. The lavish decor of Manchester’s Palace Theatre provides suitable backrest for the ageing crowd, 80% of which I hazard are 40-plus somethings. “Anyone got verrrtigo?” he quizzes the third tier, accentuating his Liverpudlian Rs.

Echo & The Bunnymen – Ocean Rain (cover art)

Arctic Monkeys poster – coincidence or influence?

Musically, The Doors-inspired Bunnymen are a hard band to define. A swift tour of the venue leaves me equally befuddled after spotting fans exhibiting a collection of Ramones, Cribs and Avril Lavigne shirts. A post-punk classification perhaps?

Tonight Echo are back to showcase in full their flagship album Ocean Rain; released in 1984 at the height of their powers. The addition of strings makes it an extra bit special. In a warming introduction, the string sextet treats us to a version of Love Will Tear Us Apart (always a winner in Manchester).

The first Bunnymen half of the evening is a greatest hits rendition. Initially I’m more blown away by the relentless outgassing of dry ice. McCulloch’s chronic croakiness is probably a symptom. Rescue and Never Stop rouse the restless when the Scouse singer unexpectedly harmonises with a throng of boisterous mid-tier Geordies.

After the interval we return for the Ocean Rain run-through. Immediately the beautiful Silver sparkles, inspiring outbursts of “la la la la las” and “ti ti ti ti tips”. The supplementary strings add powerful backing to Nocturnal Me and the stirring Thorn of Crowns.

The Bunnymen are riding a wave once The Killing Moon has set, and it heightens after navigating the glorious Seven Seas. All waves have to crash however and when a crowd disturbance first curtails Ocean Rain, McCulloch’s own tempestuous nature is provoked.

The Ocean Rain interruption doesn’t leave us entirely drenched with disappointment. An encore of Nothing Lasts Forever and Lips Like Sugar go some way towards sweetening the sour taste.

Today the Echo influence manifests perhaps most closely in the 4th album material of Arctic Monkeys – who were dubbed their ‘spiritual heirs’ by The Guardian. Comparisons are futile though as Echo have carved out an uncontested niche for themselves over the years. Through the haze and controversy aside this was a close to triumphant performance of their best.

Punk/New Wave rockers Blondie performed live at BBC Radio 2’s Maida Vale studio this Monday (04/06/11). Here’s the setlist containing a mixture of classics and the encouraging track Mother off the new album Panic Of Girls. At a minimum skip through to Atomic for some excellent solos. Debbie Harry et al clearly still have a lot to offer and should be inspirational rolemodels to any budding musicians.

Heart of Glass

Mother

What I Heard

Please Please Me

Atomic

Don’t miss the show on interactive this week (red button) or watch here at the following link – available until Friday: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01278b0#clips .

The Pogues

@ O2 Academy, Sheffield

16/12/2010

Fabled festive farewell or not, this was a grand performance from The Pogues in a season which they dominate. The agonising wait until they take to the floor is warmed by recited choruses of Body of an American from the eager crowd.

     When the doddery Shane MacGowan finally blunders onto stage he’s greeted with a hero’s reception and passionate chants of ‘Shano’ despite appearing as if he has been unceremoniously awoken or directed away from the backstage bar. Is that a sloshing pint of vodka or water accompanying his constantly lit cigarette? For most of this evening’s gig MacGowan mutters unintelligible snippets to the crowd which tin whistle player Spider Stacy on our right translates as song introductions.

     First up is Streams of Whiskey, aptly appreciated by the average beer-fuelled bald nut at the front, followed soon after by the jumpy If I Should Fall from Grace with God. Thereafter the tempo of the set oscillates perfectly with the terrific two-paced The Sick Bed of Cúchulainn inciting a riotous response while And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda provides respite and swaying material.

     The Irish outfit also sandwich in the brass instrumental Metropolis, the beautiful accordion-led London Girl and the much anticipated, energetic The Irish Rover. Not even a minor wire-slip/blown amp sound explosion can dampen the celebratory carnival atmosphere created by the loyal gathering packed inside the often soulless Academy. This is further fuelled when MacGowan dons the band’s green and white scarf which is hurled onstage later on.

     And so The Pogues return for their encore (Shano’s fifth) which culminates in a classic rendition of Fairytales of New York which sees him grapple his female compatriot in an awkward arm-in-arm waltz under a sea of confetti. They finish with Fiesta and the baking tray head-bashing antics of Spider Stacy which, although many are too-spent to sustain their bouncing for, has the balcony viewers swinging and leaves us with a special something to hum and whistle along to into the freezing Sheffield night. This one will live long in the memory – or at least until this time next year?

Rating: 9 out of 10

This review was published by CLUAS and can be found at: http://www.cluas.com/indie-music/Gig_Reviews/tabid/96/EntryId/1449/The-Pogues-live-in-Sheffield.aspx