Madness – Leeds, 8 December 2009

December 13, 2009

Thirty years on, the Nutty Boys are still going strong!

The crowd in a sold out Academy are ready to skank as Madness appear on stage. Starting with – what a surprise – One Step Beyond, the audience get exactly what they want. Drawing from their back catalogue the problem must be what to leave out. The set list comprises most of the songs you would expect from a group that had 21 top twenty hits between 1979 and 1986, when that actually meant something. I was disappointed that they didn’t play Yesterday’s Men, a particular favourite of mine, but they do a great version of Bread and Breakfast Man from the first album which compensates.

But Madness are not just a nostalgia act, songs from the new album, The Liberty Of Norton Folgate, sit easily alongside the classic material that’s played tonight. Particular standouts are Forever Young and NW5. They finish with a storming version of Night Boat to Cairo, the place goes mental and everyone goes home happy.

It’s 25 years since they last played Leeds, Suggs can’t remember where – The F Club or Tiffanys are his guesses – but let’s hope we don’t have to wait that long again!

Morrissey – Leeds, 29 October 2009

November 1, 2009

MorrisseyThis is The Swords Tour to promote the album of the same name, a collection of B-side from his last three CDs, excluding the live album and the Greatest Hits collection. The set list reflects his preoccupation with his latest work, of his solo material he performs only two songs that pre-date You Are The Quarry, The Loop from World Of Morrissey and Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself from Vauxhall and I.

The show? Well it was tremendous! It is really well paced and consists almost entirely of up tempo material. Morrissey was in fine voice and seemed to be enjoying himself. His band is first class, particularly guitarist Jesse Tobias. The big surprise is the six Smiths songs he performs; This Charming Man, How Soon Is Now?, Cemetery Gates, Nowhere Fast, Is It Really So Strange? and Death At One’s Elbow. A third of the set list! I think the reason that he is now playing so many Smiths songs is that he finally has a guitarist in his live band who, while not being Johnny Marr, has the ability to play them really well.

The sell out crowd, quite rightly go nuts! The standouts for me? The Smiths material, particularly Cemetery Gates, I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris, Irish Blood, English Heart and a particularly riotous version of First Of The Gang To Die, served up as the encore.

Franz Ferdinand – Leeds, 20 October 2009

October 21, 2009

Franz FerdinandWhen I checked the O2 Academy web site before setting off to the show, in an attempt to find stage times, I noticed that the ‘buy tickets’ button was, surprisingly, still active. When I entered the venue it was packed full!

As a general rule once a band get to their third album, tour set lists tend to favour the early and better known songs. Nothing general about Franz Ferdinand though. The songs played tonight are spread fairly evenly across their three albums with their latest, Tonight, getting its fair share. The highlights, as you might expect, are the singles; Take Me Out, The Dark Of The Matinee, Michael, Do You Want To, Walk Away, Ulysses and No You Girls, but all the material is very strong.

At their best, and tonight they’re very good, Franz Ferdinand manage to mix intelligent rock with pop and then add a funky (for white boys) edge. They remind me in some ways of Talking Heads, particularly around the time of Fear Of Music, and that’s always a good comparison.

The thing that annoys me tonight is the audience, or at least a part of it. I’ll be writing a separate post soon about the O2 Academy and what I think of a number of the people who attend shows there.