A host of Liverpool musicians unite with Clash legend Mick Jones in support of James McVey and justice for the 96 Liverpool FC supporters who lost their lives during the Hillsborough disaster. Getintothis’ Paul Snowdon reports on an emotional night at the Olympia.
‘We’re not a supergroup,’ declared Liverpool music hero Pete Wylie, towards the end of a memorable gig at Liverpool’s Olympia on Saturday night. ‘We’re a guitar army for justice.‘
Well, he might not have described himself, The Farm, John Power and Clash legend Mick Jones as a ‘supergroup’ but it certainly bore all the hallmarks of such an ensemble.
With half a dozen electric guitars in full effect at the West Derby Road venue, it definitely was an ‘army’ fighting for some truly worthy causes – justice for the 96 Liverpool FC supporters who lost their lives at the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster, the ‘Fazakerley 9 Charity‘ in memory of Reds’ fan Jay McVey who died last October and another magnificent swipe at Rupert Murdoch‘s flagship British newspaper The Sun, still rightly abhorred in these parts for the lies it printed after the Anfield club’s darkest day 22 years ago.
Although there were some LFC banners dotted around the venue paying tribute to Jay, this really was an occasion for Red and Blue to rally around the Merseyside flag – and they did it splendidly.
Timo Tierney and Nicholas Otaegui of The Tea Street Band
The Sums – featuring Digsy of Smaller and Oasis‘ Digsy’s Diner fame – opened with a strong swaggering set of melodic pop before The Tea Street Band offered something a little different with swirling keyboards, echoing early OMD.
Three speakers then added their words of support to the causes – Liverpool-born Len McCluskey, the General Secretary of the union UNITE, MP Tom Watson who has been in the public eye this year for his relentless hammering of the Murdoch empire following the phone-hacking scandal and Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotherham each gave short but very eloquent speeches that were, needless to say, cheered to the rafters.
The music then kicked-in again with a memorable set from Ian Prowse and his outfit Amsterdam which featured a tribute to those lost at Hillsborough, 96 Fallen Angels as well as his magnificent song Does This Train Stop On Merseyside? (which made it into the late, great John Peel‘s final Festive Fifty in 2003) and the terrific Raid The Palace, the debut single via his other band Pele from a few years back.
John Power, alone except for his guitar, certainly didn’t disappoint playing his Cast classics Sandstorm, Guiding Star, Alright and Walkaway before The Farm joined proceedings belting out the songs Groovy Train and Mind to much appreciation.
It was then that the aforementioned Wylie and Jones were welcomed to the party for what actually turned out to be the first of two shots at Peter Hooton and pals’ magnificent anti-war hit Altogether Now.
Wylie then came into his own with an outstanding version of his 1984 song Come Back before launching into his wishful tirade against the former Conservative Prime Minister from 1979-1990 which boasted the rather catchy title The Day That Margaret Thatcher Dies. Given the venue, the city and the causes, he knew he was on very safe ground singing that particular number.
Wylie’s very personal song Heart As Big As Liverpool was perfect for the evening while Sinful! neatly linked up his old pals from The Farm again having been a chart hit for them some 20 years ago.
Mick Jones in action
Jones then took his place in the spotlight on an admittedly very crowded stage as Clash classics Train In Vain, Stay Free, Armagideon Time and Should I Stay Or Should I Go? all received a Liverpool airing for the first time in more than 30 years. For many, that was the highlight of a quite brilliant evening.
Everyone then returned to the stage for an great encore featuring a fantastic version of The Clash‘s White Man In Hammersmith Palais before, appropriately enough, Altogether Now rounded off a night that neither the musicians or those lucky enough to be there will ever forget.
John Power (second left), followed by Ian Prowse of Amsterdam, Mick Jones and Pete Wylie (far right, almost out of shot).
More information on the Hillsborough Justice Campaign here.
Pictures by Dave Munn.