Playing in County Hell

I saw The Pogues last time they played Brixton, a couple of years ago. I’ve just dug out my old review, to see what I said last time, and it turns out that I said about three words, which is a bit shit, really. Still, at least I don’t have to worry about repeating myself. (I saw them on Monday – this is a bit delayed.)

In short: that was very bloody good indeed.

It was a crowd pleasing set. It’s a re-union tour, so of course it was a “best of” set. A blend of stomping stuff like “Bottle of Smoke” and “If I Should Fall From Grace With God”, and the more sentimental stuff like “Rainy Night in Soho”.

But saying it was a crowd pleaser doesn’t do justice to the response, because it was fucking astonishing. I’ve been to better gigs this year, but I don’t think I’ve been to one that was so much sheer bloody fun. The set was made for singing along to, and everyone did. The atmosphere was phenomenal, and it only seems like justice that the only non-blurry photo I’ve got from the night was a crowd shot. I’ve never heard a Brixton crowd reach that volume before.

But enough about the crowd, because good and all as it was, it was the band that kept our attention.

MacGowan’s looking well, for a complete wreck. Certainly better than he was a couple of years back, and he seemed to be having a rather better time of things. I’ve seen a few interviews with him where he said that this has beena really good year for him personally and creatively, and I think it shows.

As for the rest of them, well, for all they’re looking suspiciously like old men these days, they’re still putting on an excellent show, with plenty of energy and jumping about.

Well, OK, Cait O’Riordan isn’t looking like an old man, and it was nice to see her back as well – she’d been missing last time. Made “Fairytale” that bit better (though still not a patch on Kirsty MacColl, but well, who is?), and her rendtion of “A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day” is still fucking splendid.

After the gig, I checked up something, and it turns out that it’s actually Phil Chevron who is responsible for some of my favourite Pogues lyrics in “Thousands Are Sailing” he took over vocals it for at the gig, but still, I prefer Shane’s rendition of the song. But if the worst I can find to say about a gig is that I’d have prefered it if one song had been sung by someone else, than that’s pretty bloody good going.

I read one reviewer saying that it should be a regular thing – an annual Pogues Christmas re-union. I’m not sure I’d like it to be every year – it’d kill the magic – but yes, I’d love to think I’d be able to see that again.

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