Gig Review

Echo And The Bunnymen
Birmingham, Academy

25th April 2013

James                        Echo And The Bunnymen


Photo Of James © Copyright James DalyTonight is a dull wet night in the 2nd city, the streets are quiet and it seems like summer is so far away, but luckily a band are in town tonight that has the power to bring that summer feeling to the Birmingham Academy, and that band is James. This band has been going since the early 80’s but only really picked up commercial success in the 90’s with their huge summer anthems, they continued into early 00’s where they faded out of the limelight a bit but their back with a new UK tour ending with a sell-out date at the MEN Arena in Manchester showing that they still have plenty of fans who Photo Of James © Copyright James Dalyare excited to hear old classics and what direction their newer songs have gone down.
The night is started off by Liverpudlian legends Echo and the Bunnymen. They start the night with a collection of slow alternative rock songs, that sound great but aren’t really up my street, it’s a bit too slow for me, with the band hardly moving around and a lack of a personal touch, singer Ian McCulloch, doesn’t seem very interested and his voice starts to grate on me throughout the set but it must be an age gap or something as the rest of this jam packed room sings along to most songs and thoroughly enjoy themselves. They play Photo Of James © Copyright James Dalyan hour long set with songs such as Lips Like Sugar, Do It Clean, Seven Seas, Zimbo, Nothing Lasts Forever. All this before cumulating in a powerful end with massive anthem The Killing Moon before fading out with The Cutter. They sound was perfectly levelled and the songs are powerful and mean allot to this audience but for me the lack of stage presence and type of songs made this a rather poor opening for a band as lively as James, but I suppose when a band as legendary as Echo and the Bunnymen does something, they do it for themselves and their fans, they don’t need any more press and they don’t need to push themselves to a new audience as they’re already a big name and are fine with this.

Photo Of James © Copyright James DalyThere is a short interval between the two bands and this time allowed me to take in how packed the venue was, I don’t think I’ve ever seen The Academy this busy before, there is no space to move the bars are heaving and the balcony has rows of people stud round behind the seats. It is crazy that a band that hasn’t had any mainstream success since the 90’s can still get this many people at their gigs, it just shows how much they mean to people. The audience is also full of mainly mid 30’s men and women all ready to relive their younger years so maybe this adds to why to venue is so packed.

Photo Of James © Copyright James DalyJames take to the stage in darkness, well 3 of the Manchester band do, the lights come up and the audience are treated to an acoustic guitar/trumpet version of Lose Control, the stage lights are barely on and this adds to the atmosphere that James are trying to build up, as the song slowly builds up towards the end and the rest of the band come out one by one adding more instruments to the song before it ends with the whole band on stage, barely lit and playing softly. The song comes to an end and before anyone has a chance to think the lights blast and the band go loudly into classic hit Waltzing Along which gets the whole crowd singing along. It seems that James are very good at setting the mood and know exactly how to get the crowd warmed up. They sound amazing, with all the levels set out perfectly and with all the band using the best equipment to make sure they can here themselves play so they can give the crowd the best quality live sound they can. Waltzing Along comes to an end and singer Tim Booth jumps off stage and into the photo pit, before he climbs the barrier in his traditional big colourful trousers, he stands on top of the barrier for the whole song as he interacts with the audience making them hang on his every word and rush to the front to get near to him, it’s great to see that they’re not doing like the support and just Photo Of James © Copyright James Dalyresting on their laurels they’re still entertaining to the best of their ability. They carry on their set with a mixture of old and new with songs like; Sound, Interrogation and Say Something before going into what is known as their biggest song Sit Down, which contrary to belief they don’t get the audience to sit down and move their hands (anyone who was at a disco at the time of the singles release will remember the horrors of that dance).

They continue to raise and lower the atmosphere and tempo by playing more greats including; Top Of The World, Star, Moving On, Born Of Frustration, Come Home and Sometimes. All of these show there versatility in sound with the howling anthem that is Born Of Frustration to the almost dancey euphoric song Come Home. They leave the stage to huge applause before coming back to end with Johnny Yen, Getting Away With It and Laid.

Overall tonight’s gig has been a mix of styles with the slow alt rock sound of Echo and the Bunnymen to start the night and ending in the upbeat and party atmosphere that is James. It’s good to see James are still going strong, and I hope they come back around soon as they played a stonking set which sent everyone home feeling great.

Echo And The Bunnymen 2/5
James 4/5

Review By James Daly


Tim Booth
Jim Glennie
Larry Gott
Saul Davies
Mark Hunter
Dave Baynton-Power
Andy Diagram

 Echo And The Bunnymen

Ian McCulloch
Will Sergeant
Gordy Goudie
Stephen Brannan
Jez Wing
Nick Kilroe

 Band Related Links
James Facebook
Echo And The Bunnymen Facebook
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?