Dark and brooding is the mood inside Rock City tonight for Echo and the Bunnymen a band who sound as edgy and relevant today as they did back in the Eighties.
Ian ‘Mac’ McCulloch and fellow original member Will Sergeant have assembled fellow perfectionist musicians around them and as they open with ‘Crocodiles’ the title track of their 1980 debut album ( the beginning is a very good place to start) the wall of sound that greets us is both intense and all encompassing. I’m stuck by how deep and engulfing the sound is. It’s always sound great on record and I’ve seen them live before but I can never remember it sounding this resonant and rich.
Mac is wearing a dark longish jacket and shades – matching the dark and brooding mood.
But the Bunnymen are not all about the past and they are here to promote a new album and title track ‘Meteorites’ is and fantastic sampler to present us with. It already sound anthemic and the crowd treat it like an old friend. The old and new songs mingling seamlessly each one sounding like a classic.
Mac is in a good mood, no actually he’s in a playful mood. He instructs people to have a singalong to ‘Seven Seas’ , but “only on the chorus ” and you just know that beneath those shades there’s a cheeky twinkle in his eye.
Cover versions are a curious thing – very rarely do they live up to the original version. What’s more if you pick a band like The Doors to be the band that you are covering then that’s got to be a tall order. ‘People Are Strange’ however has always been one of my favourite cover versions – they match it with ease ( and I’m tempted to say it’s even better than the original but nostalgia prevents me from uttering this) the decadent tone of Macs voice being a perfect partner for the song.
A couple more tracks from the new album are presented before the Bunnymen obviously decide to ramp it up a notch. Three of their most famous songs are played in quick succession.
‘Bring on the Dancing Horses’ starts the mass singalong he is taken aback at the the volume and intensity of the crowds passionate version of the song “That was brilliant ” he announces at the end of the song “Do you all go to church together?”
The nights entertainment peaks with “The Killing Moon” and “The Cutter” and Macs vocals have never sounded so good. The crowd are still in good voice but are not a match for this singers velvety vocals.
Back for an encore and banter with the audience – Mac is convinced a member of the crowd is using a comedy Scouse accent though the guy in the crowd denies this vehemently. He informs us the Scoused accent is the best accent for wooing a woman but the crowd remain unconvinced.
Finishing the night with crowd favourites ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ which turns into a medley of ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ , ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and ‘In the Midnight Hour’ the night ends with another singalong with ‘Lips Like Sugar’
Tonight has been an Alternative girls dream – plenty of past hits and new ‘classics’ to enjoy. Can’t wait for the next time I see them.