Seeing a band for the first time in 20+ years, all manner of expectations/concerns run through your mind in the lead up. Discovering the act in question is now operating as a trio rather than a quartet, for one thing, is bound to make you question how particular songs are going to sound. Given also the numerous personnel changes experienced in the second half of the unit's 30 year existence, with only one original member in the line-up, anything is possible with such a Trigger's broom of a band.
Singer Eddie Spaghetti has had a bad time of it over the past 18 months or so, culminating in treatment for throat cancer. That and the hard living which may have contributed to it no doubt go some way to explaining why the vocals tonight initially sound like two Lemmy impersonators have taken to the stage. The sound mix is also rather muddy for the first few songs so in combination it’s pretty hard to tell what’s being performed, other than lead single ‘The History Of Rock 'N' Roll' from current album Suck It. Add to that the not-much-above-plodding pace of the initial part of the set and the times when a second guitar would be an obvious boon & it’s looking like this dip into nostalgia has been a bad idea.
Yet, at what has been the best filled show I’ve been at in the past month (including the theatre), I’m clearly in the minority in being here for a trip down memory lane. Those who’ve followed the band more religiously than I since the ‘90s aren’t lacking in enthusiasm & this, coupled with an improvement in the mix and, for my part, the inclusion of a few more recognisable songs, turn things around handsomely as the 30 minute mark is passed. Even the schtick about being “the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world” doesn’t seem tired.
Songs old and new follow thick and fast, with a preference for numbers from The Evil Powers Of Rock ‘N’ Roll and including Thin Lizzy & Merle Haggard covers. Thankfully they steer clear of country tunes other than that, the interest in that having lost its novelty for me a long time ago.
Second album La Man Cornuda is the one I could never really see past & so it’s what I’ve continually measured the band against. Performing ‘Creepy Jakalope Eye’ from it at half speed is therefore a major crime in the latter half of the show. Third album The Sacrilicious Sounds Of … is weak in comparison but does contain ‘Born With A Tail’ and, in closing with that in rousing fashion my earworm for the following day was assured. A show then of notable ups & downs but, at least on Spaghetti’s part, after 30 years in the one job how many of the rest of us maintain full consistency of performance?