The opening act is Louise Distras, a young woman with a guitar. Too ‘shouty’ for my taste.
The Adverts were one of my favourite ‘Punk’ bands; apparently shambolic but underpinned by great tunes and intelligent lyrics. Unfortunately my chance to see them in 1977 came and went while I was in hospital having my appendix removed. Now, finally, I get to see their mainstay, TV Smith. It’s surprising what one man and a guitar can do with these songs. He plays six Adverts’ songs and 12 others from across the rich tapestry of his solo career. I’m far from disappointed, although I have one quibble – why no songs from Tales Of The Great Explorer?
I saw The Ruts a couple of times before the too early death of vocalist Malcolm Owen, in 1980, and very good they were too. Ruts DC was formed by the surviving members and split up in 1983. In 2007 they reformed to play a benefit for guitarist Paul Fox, who died later that year. I doubt I would have ventured out to see them if TV Smith hadn’t been supporting them. That would have been a mistake! Dave Ruffy (drums) and Segs (bass) are as fine a rhythm section as any produced in the UK and with Leigh Heggarty on guitars, Seamus Beaghan on Hammond organ and Molara on additional vocals and percussion they evidence that again tonight. They play some great reggae tunes and then a procession of Ruts’ classics including In A Rut, Babylon’s Burning, Shine On (West One) and Staring At The Rude Boys.
Next time they play Leeds it won’t matter who the support is!
TV Smith set list: Only One Flavour; What If?; No Time To Be 21; Replay; Coming in to Land; Lion And The Lamb; Expensive Being Poor; Immortal Rich; Great British Mistake; Generation Y; You Saved My Life Then Ruined It; Dangerous Playground; New Church; Long Gone; In The Arms Of My Enemy; Gary Gilmore’s Eyes; Bored Teenagers; One Chord Wonders.
22 March – The nostalgia theme of 2013 continues and tonight it’s Lene Lovich, who I first saw at Leeds University on the Be Stiff tour in 1978 and last saw at Bradford University in 1979, at The Brudenell. There’s no new material tonight but given the quality of the songs that’s not a problem, she plays all the hits and all the songs that should have been hits. The highlight is a wonderful version of I Think We’re Alone Now, her Japanese language version of which I’m sure I still have in my loft. Lene is 63 now but you wouldn’t think so given the energy of her performance. Hopefully she’ll record some new material and not leave it quite so long before she tours again.
Gaslight Anthem are a band you need to see play live to appreciate how good they are, fine though their recordings are, and I’m hoping there’ll be a live album soon. Highlights tonight include Brian Fallon’s between song chat and an excellent version of Dylan’s Changing of the Guard.
The Academy audience are as poor as ever but next time I wouldn’t be surprised to see them playing the Arena.
Set list: High Lonesome; Casanova, Baby!: The ’59 Sound; Even Cowgirls Get the Blues; The Spirit of Jazz; Orphans; Old Haunts; The Queen of Lower Chelsea; 45; Handwritten; Here Comes My Man; Too Much Blood; Changing of the Guards; 1930; The Navesink Banks; I’da Called You Woody, Joe; Great Expectations; Keepsake
Encore: She Loves You; Howl; Say I Won’t (Recognize); Meet Me by the River’s Edge; Mulholland Drive; Here’s Looking at You, Kid; The Backseat
31 March – It’s a first trip to Nation of Shopkeepers to see The Rockingbirds, another band that has reunited, this time after a 13 year break. They have a new CD available, The Return of The Rockingbirds, and very good it is too.
They play a number of songs from it alongside their earlier material. Sadly they didn’t play their tribute to Jonathan Richman, Jonathan Jonathan, but apparently you can’t have everything!
Clearly influenced by Gram Parsons they are, without a doubt, England’s leading Country Rock band and you should go see them if you get the chance.