Monday, April 30, 2012
A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF GIGS : WEEK 17 : TWENTY THREE YEARS ISN'T A LONG TIME BETWEEN FRIENDS
REVIEW OF CLOSE LOBSTERS : STEREO, GLASGOW : 27 APRIL
"The original five-person lineup of Scottish indie-pop outfit Close Lobsters will reunite for the first time since 1989 for a very brief “People of Europe Rise Up Tour” this spring and summer that so far features performances in Madrid, Glasgow and Berlin — but could grow.
Lead singer Andrew Burnett announced the tour on Facebook In January, revealing the band will reform to play Madrid Popfest on March 10, a club in Glasgow on April 27 and Berlin Popfest on July 28, with the caveat that “further dates may be scheduled.”
The Madrid show will be the original lineup’s first since a Nov. 24, 1989, gig at CBGB’s in New York City.
During their 1985 to 1989 run, the Close Lobsters put out a number of singles and two albums, 1987′s Foxheads Stalk This Land and 1989′s Headache Rhetoric. In 2009, the group released a best-of set called Forever, Until Victory! The Singles Collection."
You might have noticed a lack of gigs this past wee while. Simple reason.....your humble scribe has not been all that well.
The day after the Frightened Rabbit gig at Gourock I began to feel poorly but made it into work the next couple of days. Come the weekend and I was out for the count. Laid up in bed with raging temperature, no appetite at all and a really sore throat and chest. Two weeks on and I'm still a bit rough. And if hadn't been the fact that Close Lobsters were in town for the first time in 23 years, I'd probably have given this a miss as well.
Aldo had found out in advance that there was no support act and that the band were taking to the stage around 9.15pm. Armed with this information, we arranged to meet up in a nearby pub, a cracking old bar that specialises in whiskies and one that is normally reasonably quiet at the best of times being as it as far removed from the party atmosphere that is Friday night Glasgow city centre as can be imagined.
It was jam-packed. As was the next pub we went. And the third......And feeling rough I needed somewhere that I could get a seat. So we went off early to the venue and bumped into Basil from Butcher Boy who was there with his good lady Margaret and some other friends. Later we would bump into Comrade Colin and his other half Cath....just a small section of the indie kids of a particular age looking forward to this night.
It lasted around 65 minutes all told and the band battered through song after song. It was a hugely enjoyable show that had me dancing along and forgetting my aches and pains for the duration. The set-list had all the songs I had hoped to hear, with much of it drawing on the 1987 debut LP Foxheads Stalk This Land as well as the various singles they released in their all-too-brief career.
Sometime Andrew's vocals got lost amidst the excellent playing which was certainly a bit more rock and a little less indie than we expected...Robert Burnett on bass was particularly impressive but really all five members made for a really good show.
Aldo being a bit younger was perhaps more of an impartial observer than most of the rest of us who were in awe. Afterwards he made the very fair point that while the show was one he liked and couldn't be faulted for entertainment value, he wasn't convinced Close Lobsters could ever be described as a truly outstanding or unique indie band, albeit some of the tunes were top-notch.
And to be honest, I can't really argue too much with him.
It was a real thrill to be in the audience and hear the songs played live and played so well. But there was no huge depth to the performance. Uunlike say The Monochrome Set a few weeks back who have such a large and diverse back catalogue to dip into and so can vary the set, Close Lobsters have a definitive sound and beat - one that they do very well indeed - but one that does leave the casual observer wanting something maybe a wee bit different.
But on the night I wasn't a casual observer. I knew beforehand what to expect and the band delivered in spades. Some of the songs sounded like Husker Du, some like Teenage Fanclub and some like The Wedding Present. But they all sounded great. And at just £9 a ticket, it was fantastic to see a band of days of old not ripping off their fans (£40 for New Order???? You are having a laugh).
Among the many highlights on the night were these four:-
mp3 : Close Lobsters - A Prophecy
mp3 : Close Lobsters - Foxheads
mp3 : Close Lobsters - Nature Thing
mp3 : Close Lobsters - Skyscrapers of St Mirin
Oh and here's an old promo for another song that was wonderfully aired on the night.