The New Beautiful South

The New Beautiful South

Not the old Beautiful South, but the ‘New’ bunch. ‘New’ meant without Paul Heaton essentially. The tracks were the same, but they were missing Heaton’s iconic brogue.

Date: March 25, 2009

Venue: Rescue Rooms

Don’t be misled. This is the New Beautiful South, an amalgam of old and new members, the main absentee being co-founder Paul Heaton, who’s off pursuing a solo career.

With Heaton gone, the survivors and their new charges are left to carry the flag and embark on a retrospective jaunt through the band’s back catalogue. But just how can a band cope without their talismanic, lumbering giant of northern wit at the helm? How can they replace that inimitable voice? Well, rather ably as it happens.

Alison Wheeler takes on lead vocal duties; her svelte voice cascading angelically through old favourites like Rotterdam and Don’t Marry Her. She’s assisted by the other co-founder, Dave Hemingway, and although he can’t quite replace the unique spectre of Heaton, he does an admirable job, and no one is pining for absent friends tonight.

It’s easy to forget just how many Beautiful South songs you actually know. A Little Time and You Keep It All In, for example, are classic tunes, and their plentiful oeuvre is mined from all angles, as we get to hear seldom-performed album tracks and covers, hitherto ignored in the live arena. So then: new name, same old charm. And still beautiful.


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