Sunday, May 2, 2010

Surfing the Geezer Post-Punk Bargain Bin

Ever spot one of those wines, whether in a random retail shopping stop or on the list at a restaurant of dubious distinction, that seems like it might be just a little too good to be true? Old enough that you wonder whether it will still be good, but not so old that you're not awfully tempted? Not too pricey but not so cheap as to raise alarms? And you go for it: part against your better judgment, and part because you're hoping against hope for the off chance of something special?

Happened to me a short while back with a little British number known as Echo & the Bunnymen. A heads-up flickered across my screen, the price wasn't prohibitive, the mood was right. I went for it.

Turned out to be an alright move. Things were a little smoke-addled up front, not quite as primal as in its earlier years, but the voice was still unmistakable. The mid-stretch was strong, bolstered by an influx of new blood via an updated, hard-driving rhythm section. It wasn't until the last sips that things kind of fell apart, with a big finale followed by an excruciatingly long pause, eventually trailing off into an unfocused, rambling, somewhat apologetic finish.

I took about twenty pictures of Ian McCullough, who seemed to spend most of the night thinking he was fronting The Jesus and Mary Chain rather than the Bunnymen — motionless, sunglasses after dark, hands and mic obscuring any clear glimpse of his visage, occasionally pausing to insult someone in the crowd (not that they didn't deserve it)....

The two guitar wielding Bunnymen were at opposite corners of the stage from one another, out of width-of-field range vis-a-vis the above shot of the rest of the band. Gordy Goudie, stage right from the crowd's perspective, provided rhythmic attack and a little glam/rocker ethos. Gordy also sat in with the evening's opening act, Kelley Stoltz (who put out a very good set of honest, slightly edgy geek-pop).

At far left, Will Sergeant, the only other original member of the band aside from McCullough, delivered the delay-driven atmospherics and melodies essential to the Bunnymen sound.

One of the most clearly updated songs of the night was "Bring on the Dancing Horses," less New Order-ish in its techno/dance-beat backing than the original, with some new phrasing and vocal intonations from Ian M. The video below is from three years ago or thereabouts but has a very similar feel to that experienced at last Sunday night's show at the Keswick, right down to the fan and fog machine.


Cortney Jacobs said...

That was clever..comparing wine tasting to a concert. We like concerts over at <a href="></a> AND we like wine. Maybe we will like your blog after reading more...if it is as clever as this post.

TWG said...

François Barmes on Wine Terroirs

David McDuff said...

@Cortney - I do love it when "sexy hot wine girls" call me clever. Keep it coming.

@TWG - Thanks for the heads-up. I'll check it out.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin