“I knew the fucking balloons were a bad idea,” lamented the ever cheery Malcolm Middleton as he started the encores at last night’s show at the Classic Grand. Well, if they were, then it was the only one all night.
At the moment there aren’t many people I’d rather see live than Malky and the show pretty much lived up to such high expectations. Of course it’s a big help that his repertoire is stuffed full of good songs. But he played 17 songs in an hour and a half last night and there were still songs I wanted to hear that he didn’t play.
What he did play though was tremendous. Where to start? ‘Loneliness Shines’ is one of the finest songs of recent years and it sounded exactly that. ‘Superhero Songwriter’ was as epic in person as you might expect and the slower material, such as ‘Stay Close Sit Tight’ and ‘Autumn’, lost nothing in the live setting.
His approach isn’t too conventional either putting the upbeat stuff up front and finishing the set with the slower songs. And whilst he seems distinctly less uncomfortable than he was in Dundee, he still seems to carry an air of bemusement at being on stage. The fact that people kept asking him to play the same songs again probably didn’t help.
Almost the best bit though was the solo acoustic section. A fantastic rendition of ‘Devastation’and a run through of a very entertaining new song ‘Total Belief’ were outstanding. But the version of ‘Devil and the Angel’ took some topping. Some serious audience participation was involved – how many other artists get people to pay good money to sing ‘your songs are shite’ back at them? And he seemed to be enjoying it so much he totally lost it and was unable to sing the second chorus.
The only real niggle was that initially the guitars (particularly the electric) were a bit lost in the mix. That meant that the first couple of songs lost a bit of impact, particularly ‘A Brighter Beat’. But it was a minor complaint on a great night.
Hopefully he will tour again later in the year. Please. Because right now he’s the finest singer/songwriter operating in the UK and he deserves your support.
From his first LP ‘5.14 fluoxytine seagull alcohol john nicotine’, here’s one of last night’s stand-outs mentioned above.
Malcolm Middleton – Devil and the Angel
You can buy Malcolm Middleton records in your local independent record shop or online here.
The Vinyl Villain reviews the same show (with different pics) here.
And finally some more photos from the show.