Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Only Ones
Live At Shepherds Bush
www.cherryred.co.uk

Documenting 2007’s reformation that was as likely to take place as Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd here St Peter of Perrett appears to allow the devoted a chance to pay their respects. As a live experience maybe it was never going to be anything more than it is - a rather grim spectacle where the main interest is a combination of witnessing the return of a spectre with an audience largely in subdued amazement and reverential awe, a chance to pay tribute a la Arthur Lee’s latter years. Sure, such a startlingly unique songwriter deserves it, even if his lengthy absence has lent their rather patchy trio of albums added leverage into the realms of legend in the intervening two or three decades. Ever so spindly in frame and voice, with the skeletal air of Ronnie Wood and John Cooper Clarke, it’s kinda astounding that he doesn’t crumple when he swaps his Tele for a Les Paul. Painfully gaunt as he is with an aching drawl more pronounced than ever lessening the impact of the caustic invective at the darkly charismatic heart of his oeuvre of noxious Knopfler new wave and punk-buckled ballads. Though new song Dreamt She Could Fly plunges the depths of dirge-form, there’s much of what the ardent fan will want and expect to hear (The Beast, Programme, Miles From Nowhere, No Solution, oh and Another Girl Another Planet which naturally sees a few balding beer-bous pogoing) except maybe Out There In The Night. With the odd touching moment of audience interaction from the nervous aside about being sponsored by Gibson to his request on behalf of a fan for the vocals to be louder, ending with his genuinely astonished reaction at the respoinse and evident goodwill emanating stageward at him and his on form ones. A grand document to what is hopefully not, erm, petering out into a fatal finale, as they gear up to tour in the coming months.
Stu Gibson

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