Thursday 27 October 2022

Pete Wylie & The Mighty Wah!, Leadmill, Sheffield

Tonight I'm in the back room of the Leadmill, the Steel Stage as it's known and barely big enough for the four person band, to see Pete Wylie celebrate 40 years of Wahness. From the opening ‘There is no intro music’, and there really isn’t, tonight's affair is a laugh a minute. 

I say 'affair' because it's more of chat show than a gig. In just under two hours on stage Wylie manages to deliver just eleven songs and there's not even that much Wah! about a lot of them.

Of course the crowd tell him to get on with but as he points out people have been telling him to get on with it for 40 years and he's not about to start now. What we get is tales about his shirt, about pears and about all sorts of other things including his ADHD. There's also more celebrity name dropping of stars from his era than most of the crowd have had hot dinners. Sadly far too many of those stars are no longer with us.

He dedicates 'Fourelevenfortyfour' to his long time collaborator Josie Jones who we lost in 2015 and 'Heart as Big as Liverpool' to Janice Long, whom he spoke to the day before she died last year.

The banter is all very entertaining when it's not sad while the music, when it comes, is very good despite the fact a lot of the backing comes from a laptop. Laptops are of course cheaper than hiring a bigger band and teaching them what to play. 

The Wah! classics are there 'Come Back' and 'The Story of the Blues' along with 'Better Scream' and my favourite of the night, because I wasn't sure he'd play it, a terrific 'Remember'. 

There's also the highlight of his solo career 'Sinful' with its David Bowie 'Heroes' tribute as well as new material from his recent 'Pete Sounds' album.

He quips that he was going to update 'The Day That Margaret Thatcher Dies' for Liz Truss but then ran out of time when she was forced to quit. Tonight he runs out of time again with the Leadmill's student night fast approaching and requiring a 10:30 finish. He rushes back to encore with 'Seven Minutes to Midnight' but you feel he had planned to play more. 

Best get on with it next time Pete and a bit more Wah! please.

The Mighty Wah! Setlist The Leadmill, Sheffield, England 2022

Sunday 23 October 2022

Sea Power, Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

Supported By Loose Articles

Support tonight is from Manchester’s rather wonderful and rather wild Loose Articles who may, or may not, have expected to be playing to a room full of Dads awaiting a band who sing about ice shelves amongst a stage strewn with plant life. Although by some sheer coincidence one of the four girls does go by the name of Tree.

They have fortunately brought a few fans with them to lower the average age for a set that actually enchants everyone. Their punky sound sort of blends (if I may show my age) Sleeper with an Eddie Argos\Art Brut delivery (I’m sure they will hate that description) on the day Eddie really didn’t like buses (one of their songs).

Aside from a great sound, they have a great slogan too 'feminine and threatening, working and class' while among several songs with a football angle they have one that is apparently about Gary Lineker shagging a packet of crisps. For a finale their lead singer Natalie (or was it Tree) spends the last track dancing amongst the audience. Beat that Sea Power.

Of course back in the day the eccentrics that are now called Sea Power would have done exactly that but now I think the guys have middle-aged knees and Noble rarely seems to swing from the light fittings these days. Yet musically they are still majestic as illustrated by their outstanding latest album 'Everything Was Ever' which understandably dominates proceedings tonight.

The new songs which are great on record sound even better in the live arena with the likes of 'Folly' and 'Two Fingers' standouts again. It’s also great to have a track where you can validly flick a V sign to everyone in attendance and call it a dance.

The new songs nestle nicely with the oldies which of course the band rotate as always and after seven albums they have a lot to rotate now. As ever something excellent is pulled from that back catalogue such as the opening 'Who's in Control', the wonderful 'A Trip Out', 'The Lonely' and to a lesser extent the expansive 'Cleaning Out The Rooms'.

There’s always something you are thrilled to hear again along with disappointment at what they’ve left out but then there’s always next time. Which just means you can never skip a tour.

However the finale of the sets does now seem to have become a bit of a religion with ‘Lights Out’, ‘Remember Me’ and ‘Carrion’ closing the set before an encore of the anthem ‘Waving Flags’ and their sublime instrumental ‘The Great Skua’.

It’s another amazing night but maybe shake that ending up if you can’t swing from the rafters any more?

Sea Power Setlist Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, England 2022