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Sunday, 24 February 2013

Steve Diggle - Maggie Mays - 23/02/13 (Glasgow)

Diggle and some weird fella.

Ali Kennedy sports a Dead Kennedy's 'Too drunk to fuck' t-shirt and as he took to the stage I thought we might be about to get some vitriolic acoustic punk rock, but it wasn't to be on the cards.
Instead a friend commented that it sounded like acoustic improv and that sums it up.
In fact it's the perfect description of the performance as it did come across as if much of it was being made up on the spot.
The young guy has a superb voice, and as musicianship go he knows his way about his guitar, but the lyricism of his own material falls far short of matching his other talents.
Barring a passable cover of Buffalo Springfield, that was carried by his vocal, the rest was rather dire.
The closing song that had a repetitive refrain about how we have to eat and take back the street, while maybe heartfelt, was embarrassingly basic.
The sort of thing that a kid toying with anarchy would write on the back of a jotter with every A in the prose being circled.
While some would be quick to claim I am being harsh in offering a less than flattering opinion it seems fair to say that if anyone is going to pay to be entertained then we should expect a certain level of talent.
It's a different story if it's an open mic night, or a bunch of local musicians putting on a free show to get some live experience, but this wasn't the case.
Everyone has to start somewhere, but Ali Kennedy fell far short of being ready to open for Steve Diggle.
Give it a year and maybe he would be, but at this moment in time it's all filler and no killer.

The Beat Movement were to offer us some timely salvation with their retro mod set that pulls all the best moves of the Small Faces in together with a liberal does of The Who.
The four young guys in the band make a sound that was fresh decades ago sound startling vibrant in the present.
The original material they have is already of a standard that they could very easily fulfil the support duties to some larger bands, and in time, once they have an albums worth, then I would fully expect them to be a solid headliner in their own right.
With a rendition of Del Shannon's Runaway, that sounded like an out take from a session that Steve Marriott would have led, and the Small Faces classic Watcha gonna do about it added to pad the short set out it was really a case of all systems go for the band.
There's some apparent choreography involved in the Townsend styled jumps and windmills that proliferate the set, and while entertaining enough they seems too structured to feel genuine.
It's possible that instead of working on them they should use the moves when the mood takes them and see if that can match the effortless way they invoke the exuberance of the sixties.

Sonic Templars along with Diggle himself were who we were there to see and once again they didn't disappoint.
Like Brit Pop take on Muse or even Radiohead they are another band that are on the cusp of leaving the support slot behind them.
The songs, the attitude, and a sense of self belief that all bands have to possess to get anywhere are all in place and the next 6 months to a year should provide them with that pivotal moment when a band goes from being being big fish in the pond to migrating to the bigger pool with more national attention coming there way.
Easily a faultless show for them and one that they should be proud of.

Unfortunately they were to be followed by a sub standard band of Strokes copyists called Younger.
Everything about them screamed Julian and the boys and I would have probably appreciated them more of they just dropped the pretence and gave up on the B quality strokealike songs and just covered the bands material.
In fact I can't be arsed writing any more about them and you can read what you want into that.
Steve Diggle, who I consider to be the beating heart of Manc legends Buzzcocks, was on fine form bringing us his acoustic take on the bands back catalogue and his own solo material.
I never get tired of watching him when he is with his bandmates and the enjoyment that I have always got out of seeing a Buzzcocks show easily transferred over to a Diggle solo slot.
There's just something about the guy that seems to convey a lust for life and it's quite infectious.
It's hard not to sing back the woohooos of Promises with a big grin on your face and it was at that point that I thought to myself that this exact moment is what going to live gigs is all about.
There's a great sense of communal love in Maggie Mays from those present and my only complaint would be that the venue should have been packed to the rafters.
Maybe next time because he undoubtedly deserves to be playing sold out venues up and down the country.
Here's a guy who has participated in providing us with songs that are for many of us the soundtrack to our lives. 
Now that's something damn special, and so was the gig.  

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