England - Full Moon 52 - 01/09/01
Temple Bar Music Centre, Dublin, 04.12.2000
Victims of the annual "build them up and knock them down" campaign rarely survive the
snarling forked tongues of the popular British music press? flippant staff writers. The
Bluetones were a particular favourite target of this and may be well justified in using the
theme to Rocky as their walk-on music.
Standing in front of the microphone, oblivious to such obstacles, Mark Morriss has lost
little of the idiosyncratic swagger that brought so much success and initial "press darling"
stamp with their emergence in the mid nineties.
The evening's proceedings are packed with perky pop singalong singles, spanning every
release made. Party favourites Soloman Bites The Worm, Marblehead Johnson and the
classic Slight Return warms the devoted following who have swapped the hacks advice
instead for mass pogo-ing.
After a short intermission and a change of costume from smart suits to something more
comfortable, the band re-open with some new material. Latest member Richard Payne take a more
prominent role in their music on keyboard and on some songs from Science & Nature,
curiously features him on accordion, and even more surreally Mark on mandolin. It's not long
though before the singles are ringing out again with a fluency that, at times, seems lacking in
the newer songs. Though there is an obvious effort to diversify, there is a heinous tendency
to doze on the popular.
The world needs pop bands. But not the kind who have been manufactured as heartlessly as a
pair of Nike trainers. It is therefore the role of these bands to show their ability and not
hide behind what has already been successful.
Copyright © 2001 Colm Downes