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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 100

Date:- 24 May 2003

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Ian McCulloch

Live at the Lomax, Liverpool
Report & Photograph By Dominic Bonner

THE phrase ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ could almost certainly be used as a euphemism for the adopted son of Liverpool. But the absence of McCulloch’s former band mates from the Bunnymen, and the addition of the former ‘Cast’ bassist for this gig, made this return to the stage a memorable but disappointing occasion as the crowd witnessed the Scouse version of Nick Cave last Saturday.

A new set of raiment and a slick haircut ensured a rapturous reception to the song ‘Playground’- displaying a dramatic western style guitar sound with beautiful melodies for the following two songs from his album ‘Slideling’ to be released later this month.

But this is were the fun was to begin as Mac made a tongue in cheek reference to an earlier Melanie C gig by asking if there were any Scousers present – one of many pieces of crowd banter proving to be the truest entertainer the city has at this time.

In recent times gigs from his former band Echo and the Bunnymen have often been an epic occasion, but the smell of an elements missing from the ingredients of this performance was quite evident - As the audience although awestruck and remaining eerily silent, often struggled to synthesise Mac’s latest offering. 

Cigarettes may be a key feature of this performer in which the smoke may have made him appear to float on brimstone during the 90-minute performance was no surprise that some of the old favourites like Killing Moon, Lover Lover and Nothing Lasts were obvious crowd pleasers. 

But no matter what song was played, the attributes of stoicism and inertia with the lack of lasting change could not banish comparisons to his former band and often led to disappointment and yearning for latter days. 

It was only till the arrival of Kansas that the rock icon managed to stir the audience into movement. But it was all too late as the gig neared its end and only in the encore of the song ‘Velvets’ left gave a saving grace and hunger for more.

This may not have been the best performance seen by the former Bunnymen front man. But question remains in that can McCulloch survive without them? For being Mr Livercool may not be enough to see him through an uncertain future. 

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