December 1 – I’ve written before that home town shows are usually great and Elbow at the MEN Arena was no exception. This was their penultimate date before taking a year off to record a new album and they have developed in to a fine live band, exceptional musicians and probably the best front man in the country in Guy Garvey. They played almost everything you’d expect, with just one new song. I’m already looking forward to the new album and a chance to hear them play it live.
Set List: High Ideals; The Bones of You; Grace Under Pressure; Mirrorball; Charge; Leaders of the Free World; Grounds for Divorce; The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver; The Night Will Always Win; Weather to Fly; Fugitive Motel; Puncture Repair; Lippy Kids; The Birds; Open Arms
Encore: Starlings; Station Approach; One Day Like This
December 4 – For the first time ever I was considering not going to see Squeeze when they’re playing in West Yorkshire. This was due to the price of the tickets which, even for a band I love, seemed to be a tad high and that they were playing the Leeds O2 Academy. Fortunately my friend Stephen asks me if I’m going so I say “Yes”! He gets seats in the balcony and we arrive early to see the support act.
This is Paul Heaton who plays a storming set, which includes a couple of gems each from his Housemartins and Beautiful South past as well as songs from his (excellent) solo albums before finishing with a stunning version of Caravan Of Love.
To be fair to Squeeze they make a habit of picking excellent supports and then go on to show why they’re headlining. They play a mix of familiar favourites, obscure songs and four ‘new ones’. The new songs are the first new Squeeze material for 14 years!
After the show I bought a recording of the show on CD, with a bonus CD consisting of studio recordings of the new songs. Next time they tour I won’t be thinking of not going.
Now Playing – This mon
‘ve been listening to a lot of Graham Parker & The Rumour. This was triggered by getting their new album, their first in 31 years, Three Chord
. It’s a lot less frenetic than their previous stuff but no worse for that. It directed me back to their earlier albums, particularly
atment and Squeezing Out Sparks, and some BBC In Concert recordings. I was transported back to the many times I saw them in the mid to late 70’s, mostly at the St Georges Hall in Bradford. They were always great and it’s still a mystery to me how they couldn’t translate live popularity in to record sales, although they were not the only group that suffered from that problem.
GP & The Rumour played some American dates to support their album so I’m desperately hoping they play some in England, and in travelling distance for me, in 2013. I’m going to see The Expelaires, also reuniting after about 30 years, in January and have tickets to see Gaslight Anthem. No doubt there’ll be other people I want to see but one group that I’m particularly interested in seeing is The Strypes, a young Irish band that are getting a lot of press. you can see them here.