daniel benson

Review: Echo and the Bunnymen @ Newcastle's O2 Academy

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Echo and the Bunnymen

After getting ushered out of the venue at 10pm because the Alpha night club was due to start, there was little time to badger the roadies for a guitar plectrum.

They were so eager to keep to the schedule I got asked twice to move so a man could pick up the cups off the floor, shattering any belief I had that Rock ‘n’ Roll was still alive. The term seems to crop up a lot when loosely describing a lot of people, such as Katy Perry, and recently in an article, a cocoa sniffing Shocklatier Chef, who I guess has been labelled with the title because his lifestyle is so ridiculous it’s morphed into a genre of music.

The smoke machines positioned on either side of the stage filled with a thick fog clouded the drummer. I didn’t know he was there until the show ended. For a visual experience, it was minimalistic but effective, although I would have preferred the smoke to be on the audience, preventing me from seeing the couple celebrating Valentine’s Day with a drunken smooch.

As Echo and the Bunnymen continued their rescheduled tour in Newcastle’s O2 Academy, the hits kept coming, and judging by the reaction of one particular man, his part of the floor was a trampoline that he persisted in jumping on throughout the whole set. A frontman talking in-between songs is normally a tedious act in the form of a long speech I never understand, Ian however, kept it short and funny and praised the city to the delight of the audience in a non clichéd way: “Newcastle? I thought it was intended to be an old castle.” I was glad his observations were funny and short because it didn’t slow the set down, or make me wish they’d hurry up and play the next song. The songs have aged well and don’t seem the least bit absurd, despite being sung by a 55-year-old.

The Killing Moon is arguably their biggest hit, but just because it’s popular, that doesn’t mean it’s the best; it was nice to hear such a classic track but compared to the power in the rest of the set it was quite underwhelming. All the songs were very well performed and The Killing Moon was just the cherry on top of the generously glazed bun. When the show finished I still wanted to enjoy the atmosphere left in the air; that soon disappeared as the first mop hit the floor. I saw one set-list get handed to a fan and the rest stood resting on the barrier like they were waiting for a second encore. It was only when they started dismantling the set that I realised the show, and any chance I had at flogging some memorabilia on eBay, was over.