Somewhere admidst Liverpool footie chants and the woman behind me yelling that she didn’t understand a single word Scouse singer Ian McCulloch was saying, Echo & The Bunnymen still managed to reassure their place in the post-punk Parthenon. Weaving in big-name rock covers into their own new-wave pop classics, the Bunnymen tipped dangerously close to the wrong side of nostalgia, but somehow it still worked.
Despite the fact that between songs McCulloch dipped into hot drinks and honey from a plastic bear at the back of the stage, and was a bit more gravelly than usual, hearing that voice (and that unmistakable Will Sergeant guitar) run through “The Cutter” (SPARE US THE CUTT-AHHHH), “The Killing Moon”, “Crocodiles” and “Bring on the Dancing Horses” decades after their release and live on stage… is still a treasure. For those of us who were utterly transformed by how new wave changed music, McCulloch’s is one of the key voices of the 80s. And even when that voice went 70s to add in “Roadhouse Blues”, “LA Woman”, “The Jean Genie”, “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Emotional Rescue” as punctuations, it still worked. With an encore of “Lips Like Sugar”, plus “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo” and the tremendous “Do It Clean” in the setlist, too, it’s not like Echo needed to add any more classics. But I’ll take them. Oh man, I will so take them. \m/
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