I fully expected the Metcalfe and the Fornicators gig to be good, but saying it was simply good doesn't come close to describing the experience.
You would have to start grabbing at fantastic, or magical, just as a jumping off point before showering ever more hysterical plaudits their way.
To call the show good would be akin to looking at Everest and saying it’s big.
I’m never sure what it is that elevates a live performance from an enjoyable one that impresses to the level of delivering something a bit more intangible, something that is felt in the gut, heart, and mind.
It’s not linked to a chord structure or a clever quip from a front man, but probably more to do with a balance that is achieved between performer and audience.
A symbiotic relationship connecting perfectly in a sequence of moments caught in time.
That of course sound a tad poncey, but I'm open to hearing anything else that expands on what it is that makes a great show a partially indescribable joy.
With a back catalogue to dip into that most song writers would offer up a limb for, Martin and his band were quite happy to dip in at different points throughout the years and deliver a bit of something for everyone.
There are of course the Goodbye McKenzie hardcore whose needs were comfortably met, but if anyone jumped on board late in the day with Isa And the Filthy Tongues then they would have been more than happy with the set to, but it was on the Angelfish material that I was most surprised.
I’ve only ever heard it played with Shirley Manson taking the vocal lead, and my thinking that they were really just an extension of Goodbye Mr McKenzie with a vocalist change was supported by hearing Martin sing on King of the World and Mummy Can’t drive.
There’s something comfortable about how he shapes the words, and the songs sound as if they have come home when he reveals them to the audience.
Similarly the song Normal Boy from Five didn’t sound any less fantastic as a solo outing rather than duet.
It ended up as a blatant truism that regardless of how recordings were made in the past, with it either being Martin, Shirley or Stacey, taking the lead on vocals that Martin has a clear affinity with the material and has no problem at all in pushing it out there passionately.
Most refreshing aspect of the evening was the lack of any sort of nostalgia frenzy.
Very often their can be lulls in a set when the artists move a step away from the most familiar material they have, but Martin and the Fornicators very easily bucked that trend.
I'm sticking this show on the very small list of gigs that I have in my head where I really do mean it when I say ‘you had to be there’.
No matter how much praise I heap on Martin and the Fornicators it will fall short on conveying the reality.
For me, this is why I keep engaged with live music.
And to celebrate it here's some videos.