Still going since the year I was born (whisper it, 1978), with Ian McCulloch as aloof and spiteful as ever, Echo and the Bunnymen shuffled into Nottingham and pretty much played the hits.
Date: December 2, 2014
Venue: Rock City
There are few people who can get away with wearing shades indoors, but Ian McCulloch, enigmatic, doleful talisman of seminal post-punk, neo-alternative stalwarts Echo & The Bunnymen would look odd without them. Seriously, has anyone actually ever seen his eyes?
So, with trademark crepuscular mode set, he and his long-term cohort and band kingpin Will Sergeant turn on a display of intensely dark and distinguished indie-noir in front of their army of fans.
“Hello Nottingham, how ya doing?”, mumbles McCulloch in his sleepy Scouse brogue, before two songs from their debut record kick things off; Crocodiles is all wiry guitars and post-punk while Rescue is a much-appreciated shout-down-the-mic favourite.
This tour is predominantly to promote their 12th studio album, Meteorites. It’s not a bad tally for a band who have split, re-invented themselves, had band members leave and die, reformed and yet continue to make dark sophisticated indie-rock music.
And it’s the album’s title track – a squall of swollen anthemic noise-rock – which emerges first from that particular record, but it’s immediately surpassed by the classic Seven Seas from their vintage album Ocean Rain.
When he sings, although never pitch perfect – never was, never will be – songs like The Doors’ glam-stomp People Are Strange, best-of-the-new-stuff Holy Moses and the galloping post-punk goliath Never Stop are clear as a bell, unlike his crowd banter, which is largely inaudible.
“This is a classic tune”, he may have ironically uttered before Eastern-flecked newbie Constantinople, but it’s the classics that count.
The echoic Bring On The Dancing Horses, the murderous sing-along Killing Moon, and the superb, chant-inducing The Cutter all sound immense.
In the encore, their 1997 comeback anthem Nothing Ever Lasts For Ever clumsily morphs into Lou Reed’s A Walk On The Wild Side (and outstays its welcome if truth be told), before Lips Like Sugar is – sugary pun intended – the icing on the cake.