Paul Heaton & Friends: The Lyric Theatre Gig 32, 6 July 2012
Surrounded by torrential rain until 6 pm I took a half day and headed to Manchester (half day facilitated by starting work at 6am). Trying to decide what to do with my time I looked up record shops in Manchester and found a great site which reviewed the 10 to 15 record shops still existing in Manchester, which really puts Brum to shame. With this incentive and knowing the lyric theatre was right by the Piazza de Stan Ogden (as named by Radcliffe and Maconi) I was raring to go. Sadly the rain put a dampener on the M6 traffic but I eventually parked in the M&S car park, emerged out into Manchester and realised I knew where I was! Minutes away from the old site of Piccadilly Records, which was now Fopp. Wandering in I spent a good half an hour settling into an old routine, shuffling through he CD racks, trying to remember what I already had, and needed!
Really enjoyed this first little stint, came away with the new Dexys and School of Seven Bells albums, the Yellow submarine DvD, a film about Bruce Campbell star of Bubba Ho Tep and the evil Dead films, a quality B movie it looks like, and then at the till I was caught by a War Child box set of 15 singles with original and cover of lots of famous artists. All music I could have bought possibly cheaper on the net, but the thrill of buying it in Manchester was grand. Wandering around outside and I decided to try and locate the new site of Piccadilly Records, which was by Afflecks palace, miles away when I was a student, today however it was simply round the corner, passed the road closed off by the police due to suicidal jumper, and there was Oldham Street, Piccadilly Records were really welcoming, impressively they had their chart of the year, which was very reasonably priced, and was headed up by First Aid Kit and had Beach House, both were albums I had heard great things about and heard singles on Rad Mac, those purchases came with a free sampler CD too, nice touch, chatty staff, cheapy section and an obligatory tote bag.
Two hundred yards away, Vinyl Exchange beckoned as I was on a roll, and there was a fantastic bargain sight, boxes and boxes of CD album samplers, for £1 and £2. Rattling through those and came away with 9 albums for £13 plus a tote bag, but better than that he thrill of rifling through music, which I haven't had for a long long time due to the Internet and lack of quality record shops.
Armed with these treasures I headed to Megacity / Mediacity home of the BBC and Lyric theatre. The rain having stopped finally I checked out the square and the extra large Pictures of Radcliffe and Maconi, I wonder whether they can really be seen doing there work live between 1 and 4 through the window, but it's a really nice view, I got to get the view from Wagamama next door whilst I ate my Chicken Katsu curry and Edamame with garlic and chilli salt.
Knowing I would be making a swift exit, I checked out the Merchandise, £10 for the cd of the eighth, but they had sold out already of the cd and DVD version, I was amazed though that I could buy it from Amazon with free postage, for £11.26 using my blackberry.
Anyway the Eighth, Paul Heaton summed it up well by saying that you had to concentrate whilst listening to it, as this wasnt a Take That concert, well he was right it was tricky.
First half was narrated by Reg E Cathey from the Wire. Not a show I have watched but I gather it is very good, but to me he was a mixture between Queeg from Red Dwarf and Isaac Hayes, he was up at the lectern and was incredibly expressive with his moves and narration. I got the stories, each bit of story was interspersed by a song sung by a different singer. Soul, indie, pop, rock, oak tree, gospel. Great tunes, difficult to hear the lyrics and understand how they fit, I will save that for when the CD arrives. Each singer was masked until they came to the centre stage to sing and the place erupted when Jacqui from the Beautiful South started off and double erupted for Paul Heaton. Reading a review, few people moaned about the light show, but really this was a gig about the songs and singers. For me I was more annoyed with the 57 times I had to get up to let the weak bladdered row out, it really was only my row that seemed to suffer with a weak bladder, perhaps it was an outing of the slackbladderers.
Section 2 was again something different, the singers sat round again and all singing one of Paul Heaton's penned hits, with him conducting ceremonies, lots of singing by Jacqui Abbott who has a stunning voice and anecdotes between each song, lots about not liking songs so much when they have been a hit by Paul. Best smile was for news that the weekends festival was cancelled but despite the same amount of rain falling on the Stone Roses they were ok because of the volume of flared trousers and Bez was sent out equipped with sponge shoes to soak up the spots ...... Spose you had to be there.
The new tunes were pretty good, ready for an album next April. Best bit for me though was being reminded about Paul's dancing, little shuffles here and there, back to the audience wiggle bottom, great stuff, more Jarvis than Jarvis had been when I saw him earlier in the year. The other revelation from these tunes was they were a big part of mine and Mrs P's courting. Not my usual but they bring back great memories of being a student together listening to our few CDs endlessly.
We also got invited afterwards to Paul Heatons pub in Salford, wonder how many people went.