REAL GONE GOES OUT: The Replacements, Roundhouse, London 2/6/15

The Replacements broke up in 1991.  During their lifetime, they became one of the world’s greatest cult bands, gaining a legion of loyal fans, the actor Matt Dillon among them.  Following the split, bassist Tommy Stinson embarked on an interesting career, as frontman of his own bands Bash & Pop (whose sole album ‘Friday Night Is Killing Me’ an essential listen for ‘Mats devotees), and Perfect, maker of solo records and as a touring member of Soul Asylum.  Rather unbelievably, he’s also been a member of Guns N’ Roses – an odd move, certainly, but one Stinson has previously claimed pays well.  Guitarist/vocalist Paul Westerberg released a string of excellent solo recordings, some of a rather lo-fi persuasion, but always showing the songwriter’s gift for a lyric.  In a move that pretty much no fans ever expected, Westerberg and Stinson reunited in 2012 as The Replacements, played their own live shows and appeared at festivals across the US.

In 2015, the even more unexpected occurred when The ’Mats announced gigs in the UK.  For some fans this would be a great opportunity for revisiting their youth, but for many – and certainly for a huge part of the audience present at The Roundhouse on June 2nd – their first live experience of the band. A proper bucket list job.

Continue reading

REAL GONE GOES OUT: The Boomtown Rats – Roundhouse, London 26/10/2013

Despite having numerous hits, including two UK number one singles, The Boomtown Rats have never seemed to get the due they so honestly deserve.  Ask anyone born after 1985 about the band and they’ll mention Bob Geldof and/or ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’, if you’re lucky.  Yet there are other bands from the punk and new wave era that have firmly crossed generations: Ramones t-shirts are plentiful (even worn by those who’ve never heard a note), Sex Pistols are well-documented and The Clash are revered.  The Boomtown Rats are a fantastic bunch of musicians whom, as far as most are concerned, are part of an all-too-quickly forgotten musical past.  ‘Diamond Smiles’ and ‘Banana Republic’ were huge hits in 1979/80, but when was the last time you heard them on the radio or played anywhere in public?  For most people born after 1985, Bob Geldof is just the scruffy man who does tireless work for charity – he’s hardly ever given proper credit for being one of the best songwriters of the era.

Continue reading