Edwyn Collins and his northern soul band ignite Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall with explosive tunes and heartfelt tales, Getintothis’ Alan O’Hare salutes a Scottish great.
Let’s not talk about all that has gone before. Instead, we’ll concentrate on Edwyn Collins‘ vital new record, the fantastic band he has put together to tour it and the fabulous racket they make.
Collins‘ eighth solo album, Understated, is full of beefy beats, soulful riffs and Stax-style horns. How his four-piece group were going to recreate said tuneful noise was a worry, especially when that massive stage greeted us with two electric guitars, a bass, drums and an unoccupied keyboard stool. And no horn section.
We need not have worried though.
The ex-Orange Juice man’s choice of musician remains as impeccable as ever.
The bottom end was deep and tight, the twin guitar attack had the lightness of touch required and the stool behind the keys’ was soon filled by a double-duty bass player who worked harder than a demolition team on Hope Street.
Collins? He was fantastic. That baritone voice you all know and love from A Girl Like You was as rich as ever.
Edwyn Collins watches on as his band work their magic at the Phil
If his performance lacks his previous dynamics, it’s more than made up for in his grace and humour, as he offers tales between tunes, sat on an amp. The Scottish singer is special.
As was Saturday night. The crowd had clearly come to worship – they sang the new tunes (a cracking Dilemma being a particular highlight), remembered the earlier solo stuff (previous album title track Losing Sleep went down a storm) and got up and danced around the hall for the hits – Rip It Up remains the grooviest tune a Scotsman will ever write.
Edwyn Collins and The Heartbreaks’ Matthew Whitehouse at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
It’s a family affair in more ways than one (this band are funky, especially guitarist James Walbourne), as Collins’ son, William, joins in on guitar and soulful BVs for Motown pile driver Too Bad (That’s Sad).
The new tunes stood out and the northern soul the band create, suits them perfectly.
Finishing up with a roof-raising Don’t Shilly Shally, Collins made mention of his 30 years in the game.
Here’s to at least another decade of recording and touring – the music still beats inside this Caledonian heart.
Pictures by Gaz Jones