Tuesday, 15 May 2018
Adios Senor Pussycat
Michael Head and his Red Elastic Band played at Gorilla on Sunday night. I got an offer of a ticket earlier in the week and I'm really glad I said yes (despite trying to kick a cold that left me feeling shitty all weekend). Gorilla is a small venue underneath the railway arches on Whitworth Street, capacity 500 people (sold out, rammed and somewhat warm) and is the ideal place to see Michael Head in many ways- great sound, intimate and with a committed audience.
The Red Elastic Band comprise of two guitarists, a young long-haired Fred Perry clad bassist, a drummer, a cellist who makes a massive contribution to the sound and a trumpeter (who I've read today is Andy Diagram, formerly of James and also Mick's first band The Pale Fountains- his trumpet parts make me wonder why every guitar band doesn't have a trumpeter). The songs from last year's Adios Senor Pussycat album sound wonderful, dynamic and full of life, influenced by Love clearly, but modern and sharp too, Mick's familiar marriage of melancholy, warmth and bad luck. Picasso and Picklock stand out, beefed out by the players compared to the album versions. Mick is a charismatic and genial host, stumbling in his words occasionally between songs, but not in his singing and playing and the band are as tight as you like, changing tempo or direction effortlessly. The audience would no doubt have been pretty happy just to have heard the songs from Senor, of which we get plenty, but they are interspersed with songs from Shack and other periods of Mick's life- opener is an unreleased beauty called Pretty Child (which has had several names over the years); an intense, survivor's gallop through Streets Of Kenny; a clamorous Comedy as the only encore; Waterpistol's Mr Appointment; and a brilliant version of 1991 psychedelic-Shack single I Know You Well. Back in the 90s an NME front cover proclaimed Mick Head as the best songwriter in Britain and over 90 minutes he goes a long way towards proving that opinion right- how he is playing in venues this small while some of his contemporaries play arenas and stadiums is a mystery, but we win, as we get to see him close up and with all the subtleties and intricacies that you get at small gigs.
I Know You Well (12" Mix)
Adios Senor Pussycat