Wednesday, December 3, 2014
As well as being the busiest time of the year for me at work, year after year it also seems to be the busiest time of the year for attending gigs. After my couple of recent gigs at Glasgow's world famous Barrowland Ballroom for the JAMC, I had two other gigs in the last week that I had been looking forward to for a while.
I vowed after the Ocean Rain debacle that I would not go and see Echo and The Bunnymen again, but I bit the bullet and decided to head along to Glasgow's ABC last week and, boy oh boy, what a wise decision that turned out to be. The Bunnymen were in imperious form, with McCulloch sounding better vocally than I have heard him in years. Having seen The Bunnymen far more times than any other band over the years I genuinely didn't quite expect a show of this standard. Apart from three tracks from the new album, this was, to all intents and purposes, a greatest hits setlist to showcase what a fantastic back catalogue they have. Highlights included Villiers Terrace, Never Stop and a truly, glorious, lift the roof off version of The Cutter. Unlike the Concert Hall gig from a few years back this time we did get to witness a truly stunning take on closing number Ocean Rain. Yeah McCulloch can sometimes be a bit of a twat onstage - the drunken attempt at a Glesga accent does get a bit dull after all these years - but on this form, as a live act, they are still up there with the best of them and I, for one, will be there to see them when they next visit McCulloch's second favourite city after his beloved Liverpool.
Last night we made the pilgrimage to Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall to see the annual return of The Boy Wonder himself. I did not make the High Land Hard Rain gig last year (for obvious reasons) but nothing was going to stop me seeing the homecoming of Roddy Frame this year. From the opening note of Oblivious everyone knew they were in for a very special evening last night. There was almost a sense of worshipping a deity at points as the audience were so polite and reverential, until this was pointed out by Roddy, and then we managed to get some good old Glasgow banter going (maybe a bit too much from one audience member who had seen them 30 years ago at The Barrowland and wanted to relay the whole story). I wouldn't even know where to begin with high points of this gig. The high points were the entire 21 tracks he played over a 2 hour gig, including quite a few songs from his excellent new album, Seven Dials. If push came to shove, Bigger Brighter Better was immense, The Bugle Sounds Again was heart achingly beautiful and set closers Killermont Street and a stunning Back On Board were worth the admission fee alone. Special mention must go to a wonderful band that he had with him,especially the violin playing of the two backing singers, which Roddy himself, made mention of for understandable reason.
I have been to more gigs in 2014 than I have for a long time, but saved the best to last. These two gigs stand head and shoulders above any others this year. The Mary chain was special as they were performing one of my favourite albums of all time live, but these two gigs are the ones that I will remember most from a great year for live music.
Walk Out To Winter
The Cutter (Live)