THE PITCH AND PUTT ARCHIVE – GIG REVIEWS
Zutons live Brixton Academy 22 March 2005
When Dave 'Zuton' told the audience to 'shut up' quickly apologising and explaining his worries - this was the largest gig the Zutons had ever done and furthermore they were about to play a song they had only done live twice - he needn't have worried. From the moment the Zutons took the stage the entire crowd had come down with a serious case of Zuton fever.
The Brixton crowd greeted every single track with shouting, applauding and chanting 'Zutons' as the band looked on in happy amazement. The crowd's energy was reciprocated by a powerful performance of lushly crafted uplifting pop songs. Like most Liverpool bands, the Zutons owe a huge debt to the 60's, it's like the decade never really ended in Liverpool, probably as the shadow of The Beatles still casts long over the city. In look, with their big hair and lead guitarist's scouse 'tash the Zutons fit the mould perfectly. But the real nod to the 60's is in the beautiful and powerful harmonies, almost always 3 part and in some places the whole band performed 5 piece harmonies creating a Spector-esque wall of sound.
The only hitch in what must have been a dream evening for your largest ever gig, was a nice one, brought on by the crowds sudden rendition of 'de, de de, de de, de de der,' the start to 'don't ever think (too much)' The response by the bass player was 'we're on it' and the band joined in with the crowd to take the roof off the place. This was one of many sing-a-long moments throughout the night as breaks in choruses were filled in by the ever eager crowd.
The Zutons returned to a much demanded encore after what was possibly a quick discussion of what to actually play, and responded with what resembled a hastily put together jam session. No one minded though at this stage, they could have come on and done pretty much anything but any wrong. All that was left was to introduce the band, you know it's going well when rock clichés look cool, and finally take a bow.
With that they were gone, the crowd left into the night and Brixton tube station took it's turn for another mass rendition of the start to 'don't ever think (too much)'
Not to be missed.
Half Man Half Biscuit Thurs 19/02/2004 Boardwalk, Sheffield
It's a "sell out". The people here are together in their aim to hear what they have to offer. All assembled because word of mouth has spread like wild-fire across Dee-Dah land. NME? Zoo? Women expecting help on a Thursday? Bollox! This is Half Man Half Biscuit and the masses await with baited breath. If you don't know who they, then you will carry on not knowing but for the rest of us, this is seminal. Within 10 minutes we learn that the bear (Jack Nicklaus) is not a care bear, Fred Titmus (fuckin' 'ell) is 'down the local store' and an old fella has asked them 'if music be the food of love are they the indigestion'. Between each song a large proportion of the mosh pit are demanding to 'know what did God give us Neil?' They never got to find out but asked faithfully nevertheless.
There was only 1 reason to be there and that was to experience music/entertainment of the highest order from the one of the UK's best kept secrets. I could bullet point each song they played in their unbroken 1 hour 50 minute set, but what would be the point? When Half Man Half Biscuit are in town performance is everything and the mosh-pit directly in front of the stage showed how these guys will invoke huge passion until the end of time itself. Patrons everywhere with T-shirts indicating the motorway junction to Half Man Half Biscuit is 1 mile ahead, Dukla Prague away kits (and Tranmere Rovers home tops) and how Mersey Rail allegedly stinks of shit.
Everyone knew all the words including times where lines were messed up only to be completed by the crowd. This included everyone 'belting out the broadside' of the visit of singer out of Slipknot to Rome to see the Pope. Apparently it was the 'Brit' awards on Monday where Then Jericho won 3 prizes as the band of the future. Should they still be playing to packed houses with a mosh-pit and the crowd all singing every word 20 years from now, then I will admit I was wrong about everything. In the event of that happening I would also see Kylie's discography as worthy musical offerings. Until then I'm happy to enjoy great entertainment by the Biscuit because 'I HATE NERYS HUGHES' and 'everything's AOR'.
- Ronny B, Usher To The Stars
The Weddoes have been away for 8 years, but I had been away from them for even longer. From the age of 17 to about 21, 22, or from just before Bizarro to just after the singles I would have crawled over broken glass to see them. I often saw them 4 even 5 times on a tour, having my own mini tour of the north of England in the process and so I was certainly looking forward to tonight. The pub in Kentish town where we went before the gig to watch Chelsea against Bayern Munich was full, with everyone talking about the Wedding Present as oppose to the football. The other thing about the people in here was that everyone was old. So much so it even made me feel young.
Back when I was young, David Gedge was the man that made me (not literally) pick up a guitar and start to write songs. I may have wanted to be Jim Reid (not the country one) or Johnny Marr but it seemed like I could be David Gedge. Gedge was un-popstarlike, he didn't seem to be a great singer, or a great guitarist, he didn't drink or smoke or do drugs - very un-cool for a pop star, he probably wasn't that good at football and if the content of his songs was anything to go by he was always getting dumped by girls. But this is where Gedge's genius lies, not getting dumped, but his common touch, his ordinariness. He said in an interview years ago that 'you could be a dust bin man or the prime minister and love and it's ups and downs still affected you in the same way' and he was right. I realised early on in my own song writing that the only really worthwhile things to write about was 'lost loves and small towns' and Gedge did this better than most. He may have seemed like Morrissey's heir apparent but I think his work is a lot more comparable to that of Ray Davies and even with his fixation on Americana he is as English as drizzle.
The venue is sold out and there probably isn't a free babysitter in London tonight. Actually most of these people's kids are probably old enough to look after themselves by now, but when the band take the stage, and David Gedge finally joins them - on last, seemingly milking it, (although I'd like to think he was doings something helpful and that's what took him so long, maybe making post gig sandwiches for the band) the familiar mosh pit of Weddoes gigs re-appears with none of the vigour lost.
The band are tight and fantastic, they cut through a good cross section of new and old material from latest single 'I'm from further North than you ' (surely the best title for a song in years if not ever) way back to 'Once More' a very early single (now found on 'Tommy'). 'The queen of outer space' 'crawl' (My favourite ever weddoes track) and 'Kennedy' which still sounds as great now as it ever did and even the odd 'cinerama song, possible to show that they were a great band and deserved more of a following.
I must have seen The Wedding Present over 20 times over the years, but I have never seen them play a bad song let alone a bad gig and this is no exception.
When Gedge tells the crowd who are shouting for their favourite songs that they can't do all of them as there are about 250 and we'd be here all night, I think everyone there thought like me that that would not be a bad thing. But Gedge is as adamant and obstinate as ever and announces the last song and that 'if you haven't seen us before, but by looking at most of you I doubt that' a good observation of the age of the crowd, 'we don't do encores' (not entirely true as I have seen them do them a long time ago and was actually at the gig where he announced that they would never do one again, although I forget where and when) so after over an hour of fantastic blistering entertainment they are gone leaving everyone there with no doubt that they are back and more important than ever. If only they had decided to play every song.