Band Of Holy Joy
The Cluny, March 2nd
Despite a frustratingly short set in the middle of an oddly mismatched bill, Band Of Holy Joy totally overwhelmed me tonight. I’d waited twenty-five years to see them play and they still managed to exceed my expectations. Their recent Easy Listening album is the best of the year so far and the songs from it were wonderful – the dignified, measured rage at the heart of There Was A Fall, their forensically scathing account of the death of Ian Tomlinson; their gorgeous cover of Darryl Banks’ timeless Open The Door To Your Heart, which saw singer Johny Brown beseeching and imploring like a North Shields James Brown. The band – four musicians managing to sound like so much more – did justice to the richness and ambition of the songs without ever lapsing into bombast, and clearly a had a blast on their cover of Penetration’s Don’t Dictate (which Brown introduced as having changed his life). And as great it was to finally see Tactless live – one of my very favourite songs – it was during the genuinely astonishing closer A Train Ride To Another Place that my arm hairs prickled, my heart soared and I was reminded all over again that Brown is without question the greatest songwriter the north east has ever produced.
(this didn’t make it into the April edition of Narc magazine so I’m posting it here instead)
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