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James King and the Lonewolves / The Trongate Rum Riots / Tijuana Bibles – The Glasshouse, Queen’s Park, Glasgow – Friday 17th May 2013

A show that I never ever thought I’d get the chance to write about. In the early years of MPT, the posts about James King and the Lonewolves were the most popular things that I wrote, bar none. Still are actually.

But of all the bands that might make a comeback, the Lonewolves seemed just about the unlikeliest, at least of those still in the land of the living. Too many opportunities seemed to have been passed up in the band’s first existence that the notion of a reformation seemed, well, very improbable.

Yet last night, other than for a short charity set a couple of years back, James King and the Lonewolves took to the stage for the first time in 28 years for a full set.

I was at that last full show in 1985 and I was completely blown away, even if I hardly knew any of the set at the time.

By contrast last night I knew just about everything – most of the ‘Texas Lullaby’ E.P., a couple of B-sides and a handful of tracks from the recorded but never released Lonewolves album. More importantly though all of the tracks from the new single/E.P. were aired.

That’s what last night was officially about – launching the new double A-sided single ‘Pretty Blue Eyes’ / ‘Fun Patrol’. However it was just more of an occasion to hear these songs again.

Initially there was something surreal about that very fact and the show took a few songs to properly combust. Certainly King’s ferocious voice remains intact and the songs were as fresh as ever but perhaps there was an understandable degree of  ring rustiness.

But from ‘Happy Home’ onwards they were flying and ‘Fun Patrol’ was the one that fully captured the intensity of the last 80s live show as they played it not just once but twice. It was a lean version which didn’tattempt to replicate the extended version they played live back in the day but it was still the most ferocious song of the night.

Other highlights included the other side of the single ‘Pretty Blue Eyes’, the great ‘Texas Lullaby’ and a menacing ‘Even Beatles Die’ (“John’s still dead”).

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But hearing the unrecorded songs such as ‘Fly Away’ was perhaps best of all, particularly ‘Fly Away’ and ‘A Step Away From Home’.

The prospects for more Lonewolves seem promising – the single is blindingly good and everything you would want from a Lonewolves record. Further recording is apparently ongoing. Last night suggested too that further live shows will just get better and better.

King has been described online as Scotland’s great  lost rock’n’roll hero. On the basis of last night’s performance there are more than enough reasons to think that the ‘lost’ tag may be about to be cast aside.

Setlist

1. So Alone  2. Transmit  3. Chance I Can’t Deny  4. Happy Home  5. I Don’t Care If You Live or Die  6. Even Beatles Die  7. Sacred Heart  8. Fly Away  9. Pretty Blue Eyes  10. Texas Lullaby  11. Fun Patrol  12. A Step Away From Home  13. Lost

Encore

14. Fun Patrol

Here’s the first footage to emerge of the set from last night:

And a longer chunk of the set:

Brief mentions for the two supports who couldn’t help but be a bit overshadowed by the occasion even though they were both very good at their different things..

As their name perhaps suggests, Tijuana Bibles were desert rock, which is a little borderline for my tastes. However they certainly connected on several occasions.

The Trongate Rum Riots were very much like a Glasgow Pogues, good fun but a little too far from my field for me to be able to say that I was able to be completely absorbed by them.

Photos of all three bands from the show here.

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