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

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