The Big Picture

Saturday night’s TV21 performance at the HMV Picture House was the perfect pick-up after a disappointing Saturday afternoon. In many ways it was a special show not least because, as support to the Beat, it was the largest gig the band have played since reforming. And with the ‘Snakes & Ladders’ compilation imminent, it was also a chance to dip into some rarely played songs from ‘A Thin Red Line’. The band also played as a five piece with Emily returning on violin.

The setlist contained a few surprises, principally the inclusion of ‘What’s Going On?’ one of a handful of songs from ATRL which hadn’t been played since the band reformed. The song opened with an ominous dubby bass section before the guitars and violins came screaming in.

Using ‘It’s Me’ as an opener was also slightly unexpected whilst there was also a fairly rocky version of ‘In Another World’ which didn’t necessitate Ally switching to bass. Unfortunately the planned outing for ‘Ideal Way of Life’ had to be abandoned as Neil was playing with just three strings!

What’s striking though about the set is how right these songs sound in a bigger setting. Newer material like ‘Look To The Sun’ and ‘How Did You Get It So Wrong?’ and oldies like ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘On The Run’ revel in the space of the larger venue.

Overall the sound was pretty decent. I tried a couple of locations early on and it felt too bassy at any distance from the stage but was much better closer up. Even the violin, which was barely audible on ‘Too Late For Me Now’ was given its place in the mix.

And whilst it may have been my ears, but the between (over?) song chatter sounded much reduced by the time the band had finished.


1. It’s Me 2. Too Late For Me Now 3. Snakes & Ladders 4. How Did You Get It So Wrong? 5. In Another World 6. What’s Going On? 7. Look To The Sun 8. Through Different Eyes 9. Tomorrow 10. On The Run

‘Snakes & Ladders – Almost Complete 1980-2’ is released next Monday 27th. Pre-order it here.


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