[MUSIC: Live Review] Simple Minds, Devo, The Church
Simple Minds, Devo, The Church
The Entertainment Centre
Friday December 7
Some months back, The Church’s singer, flaneur and mischief-maker Steve Kilbey announced that he was breaking up the band. Thankfully Uncle Steve changed his mind a few days later, which meant everyone could just get on with the business of being passionately resolved and technically sound tonight, as they blasted through their rich back catalogue. Classic cuts like ‘Almost With You’ and ‘Under The Milky Way’ inspired the first of many of the evening’s sing-alongs.
Someone forgot to tell Devo that they weren’t the headliners. There were multiple costume changes, tightly choreographed dance moves and buckets of attitude: all from a bunch of sexagenarians. It’s hardly surprising – this is, after all, the band that both Kurt Cobain and Mikey Young (Eddy Current) have referred to as the most challenging and important band to emerge from the underground. They whipped (oh, I didn’t!) through tracks like ‘Girl U Want’, ‘Through Being Cool’ and ‘Whip It’ with ferocious energy and zeal. The enduring image of the gig, certainly for those fans in the first few rows, will surely be frontman Mark Mothersbaugh’s alter ego Booji Boy pulling multiple packets of Twisties from the crotch of his orange jumpsuit to pour across the crowd during closer ‘Freedom Of Choice’.
Barely 20 seconds into Simple Minds’ set and frontman Jim Kerr was on his knees, bent back double on the ground, howling the words of ‘Waterfront’ into the microphone. The years of living in Sicily (and presumably a lot of aerial yoga) have kept the Scotsman in good nick, and he bounded about the stage with abandon. There seemed to be an unnecessary amount of mic-held-to-the-audience-for-them-to-sing-back throughout the set, which works well only for big numbers like ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ – but with such a lack of vocal power, not even the enthusiasm of those die-hard fans can lift Kerr and co. to the lofty heights of the preceding act and fellow journeymen.