Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – Leeds Arena, 19 March 2016

March 28, 2016

Heaton & AbbottAfter 31 years of releasing records, many of them hits or fan favourites, it must be difficult putting together a set list. If you’re Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, wanting to persuade the concert goer who only knows The Beautiful South or, at the older end of the demographic The Housemartins, to listen to the two excellent albums you’ve released since getting together as a duo in 2013 it must be even harder.

Tonight only a quarter of the setlist is from the period after The Beautiful South – one song from What Have We Become, eight from Wisdom, Laughter And Lines and nothing at all from Heaton’s three solo albums. I think that’s a shame because that means not hearing a lot of good songs.

Having said that the audience are treated to some lesser known Housemartin and Beautiful South tracks – Heaton says he hasn’t played Anxious for 29 years!

A great show then, excellent songs played by a first class band, what more could you want?

Support is from Trudy, a young three piece who have clearly never played to an audience of this size before. They hold their own and the tracks on their Soundcloud page are worth a listen.

Setlist: Wives 1, 2 & 3; Pretenders to the Throne; (Man Is) The Biggest Bitch of All; Have Fun; The Horse And Groom; Five Get Over Excited; Prettiest Eyes; Sundial In the Shade; The Queen of Soho; Old Red Eyes Is Back; I Don’t See Them; Anxious; Rotterdam (Or Anywhere); I’ll Sail This Ship Alone; The Austerity of Love; Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud): D.I.Y.; Happy Hour; Perfect 10; Caravan of Love.
Encore: A Little Time; Don’t Marry Her.
Encore 2: Heatongrad; You Keep It All In.


February 2014

March 31, 2014

Strypes 17 February – The Strypes have come on in leaps and bounds since I last saw them at The Cockpit in May 2013. The biggest difference is the confidence they now exude. Whilst sticking to the R’n’B template that has served then so well they are beginning to slowly widen their palette, tonight including covers of songs by the Ramones and The Specials. Next time they play Leeds it’ll be at the Academy and hopefully I’ll be there.

Set list: What a Shame, So They Say, Lucky 7, She’s So Fine, What the People Don’t See, I Don’t Wanna Know, I’m a Hog for You, I Can Tell, Angel Eyes, Ooh Poo Pah Doo, Concrete Jungle, Perfect Storm, Hard To Say No, Mystery Man, Hometown Girls, Got Love If You Want It, Blue Collar Jane, Heart of the City, Rollin’ and Tumblin’.

Encore: Still Gonna Drive You Home, Rockaway Beach, Louie Louie, You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover.

Laura21 February – In my opinion, which is not at all humble, Laura Cantrell is currently the finest female traditional country singer performing. Fortunately I’m seeing her for the third time tonight at The Wardrobe. This is a well judged set that covers her entire output but, as fine a songwriters as she is, prolific she is not. This means that she has to do a number of covers. She always chooses these well – tonight including Lucinda Williams’s Letters, Burt Bacharach’s Trains And Boats And Planes and a particularly fine version of New Order’s Love Vigilantes. A particularly amusing moment occurs when Laura was introducing Kitty Wells’s Dresses by explaining who Kitty Wells was. “You won’t have heard of her,” she says. The audience loudly disagrees and one wag shouts. “She didn’t come to Leeds either!”
An evening in the company of Laura Cantrell is time well spent.


December 2013

December 27, 2013

The Waterboys11 December – My last show of the year and it’s a cracker!

The last time I saw Mike Scott it was a bit of a disaster. I arrived at the venue to discover I’d left my ticket at home and had to go back for it. This meant that I missed the first couple of songs. Then, to be honest, the show was lacklustre at best. I wasn’t in a rush to see him again.

Recently The Waterboys released a staggering six CD set of The Complete Fisherman’s Blues Sessions 1986-88 and are touring  to promote it with a five piece band that includes Mike, Anthony Thistlethwaite, Steve Wickham and  Trevor Hutchinson who all appeared on the original sessions. As a fan of the Waterboys I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity of hearing them live.

As you would expect the show heavily features songs from the new box set but manages to fit in such Waterboy’s classics as Bang The Drum, A Girl Called Johnny and, of course, The Whole Of The Moon. The band is great and have the audience up on their feet well before the end. I respect and understand Mike Scott’s desire not to live in the past but the occasional exception like this is more than welcome.