Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Echo and the Bunnymen - Siberia, Sheffield Leadmill, October 24th 2005

Finally, I am going to manage to actually blog this gig - having missed out on the last two due to excessive drunkeness at one (The Fall - it seemed appropriate) rendereing me incapable of remembering much about it, other than it not being that good, and a second because, well, I don't really want to admit to paying to see the Magic Numbers.

Oh, damn.

Anyway, there's a new Bunnymen album out, and as I was going to see them, it seemed not unreasonable to actually buy it - my first Echo purchase for about 15 years! And a very rewarding experience it was too, the best album since, the last one I bought probably! It's all very familiar stuff, maybe something to do weith being re-united with producer Hugh Jones for the first time since Heaven Up Here. Opener Stormy Weather is a typical bit of Bunny's, driving guitars over a seemingly forlorn lyric that turns into something really quite wonderous and even hopeful. All Because Of You Days isd the passionate Mac that makes you remember why you could nrever not love him, arrogant tosser tho he may be. Scissors in the Sand has a very familiar riff, but that's no bad thing, and it's powerful and charmingly weird, full of childhood (mis)memories. title track Siberia is the other stand out piece, dark and again initially depressing but full of a peculiar beauty and some great lyrics. Another very fine addition to the canon of liverpudlian psychedelic gothiness.

Bizarrely, they both of us have been going to see the Bunny's for over 20 years, this is the first time that my brother and me will have actually seen them together - he actually moved to Liverpool to see them more often in 1979. As it's a Monday at the Leadmill we also get in early, as there's a 10pm curfew. It's a matter of debate whether this wil lturn out a good thing or not - it will mean Mac is far less likely to be pissed, but it could mean he insists on waiting until he gets pissed, and then they only do a short set. They arrive on stage at 9 - Mac's looking pretty sober.

And then it starts, with what sounds awfully like a tribute to Hawkwinds Brainstorm, it can only be Going Up. Immediately the fact that they're so late is dismissed as those guitars and that voice could play for ten minutes and I'd be happy (tho maybe not if I'd paid the £20 they wanted on the door!). Moving quickly through a stirring Stormy Weather, people are actually almost dancing for bring on the Dancing Horses. Almost is pretty much as close as we get tho - a crowd full of late 30's/40somethings cant quite be arsed to get jiggy this early on a monday night it seems. It's then a best of set, a couple more off the new album (including a great swirling Scissors in the Sand) but mainly songs we learned and sung (and even now I can't but help myself singing along). It's as if the last fifteen years hadn't happened, as we get a grand selection of the first four albums (actually, only three of them - nothing off Heaven Up Here!), Killing Moon, Back of Love, The Cutter, Rescue, as well as 'the besrt dance record ever made' - and it's hgard to fault his judgement when a magnificently jaunty Never Stop blasts out.

After barely 45 minutes they're off tho. Shorter than a glastonbury set! But they do, of course, come back, and treat us to a sublime Nothing Lasts Forever and an uplifting Lips Like Sugar, with Walk on the Wild Side thrown in the middle as well, before disappearing again. 10 o'clock, and the staff want to shift us, but at least Mac is an argumentative sod, so he insists on coming back for one last number, and turn out an untoppable Ocean Rain, its tender frame screaming from beneath the waves of Will's churning guitar.

Top stuff.