Edwyn Collins, Bullies & Fake Major @ The Westgarth In Middlesbrough On Monday 16th December 2014

The Sound of Young Scotland 1980 meets The Sound of Young Scotland 2013. Edwyn Collins, of Orange Juice fame, takes on the bright new sound of Fake Major. With the added extra of Edwyn’s son’s band, Bullies, it was shaping up to be a great night. Gig of the year? Potentially.

FAKE MAJOR

First up were our new heroes from Glasgow; Fake Major. Now we have seen them twice already this year and both times they have been fantastic. Tonight there are only two of them but the strength of their songs still make it superb. They do about half a dozen songs. A couple off their debut EP and the rest are brand new. They tell us they will have an album out in 2014. On tonight’s showing it’s going to be great. They also tell us their EP should be in our top 5 of the year. Well Fake Major it’s number one in this house. Ethereal, magical and a tough act to follow.

BULLIES

A three piece band that has Edwyn’s son on bass guitar. They hail from Kilburn in London and play surf pop. They are quite good. Sounding a bit like Orange Juice, funnily enough, and a few other 80s indie bands. Which is a good thing.

EDWYN COLLINS

A song by song run down. Why? Because it was that good. I have waited over 30 years to see Edwyn live. I never got to see Orange Juice which is a regret I have carried until tonight. I’ve never been that bothered about his solo stuff until it was announced he was coming to the Westgarth. I downloaded his new album which is so good I bought it on vinyl tonight. With it came a free cassette of a gig from Stirling University in 1981 which is absolutely magical. 30 years is a long time but tonight was worth the wait.

FALLING & LAUGHING

“I’ve got Falling and Laughing. The original Postcard version.” (On Tape by the Pooh Sticks 1989)

Any song that is name checked in another song must be a great song. And, it is. Edwyn opens with this all time Orange Juice classic. Their first single on the legendary Postcard records. It starts the gig off with a massive bang which echoes on and on as Edwyn plays a lot of his new album mixed with some great Orange Juice songs and a few of his older solo hits.

WHAT PRESENCE?!

Orange Juice single in the latter part of their existence. Not one I’d have chosen to hear but a delightful song none the less. It shows the depth of quality of the band that they could play almost any Orange Juice song and it would be good. A massively under rated group, in my humble opinion.

31 YEARS

First track taken from his latest album; Understated. As we’ve said a great album. I don’t know if its as good as any of the Orange Juice albums but certainly his best solo album. This track is about how long he’s been doing this rock n roll thing. A sad lament if ever there was one.

UNDERSTATED

Title track of the new album and one of its finest moments.

GHOST OF A CHANCE

From Edwyn’s debut solo album Hope and Despair released in 1989. A surprise inclusion but a great tune. Maybe proving I should have paid more attention to his solo work. I will certainly be filling in the gaps that I have missed. Although I do actually own this LP I cannot recall playing it too much!!!

FORSOOTH

New album track.

DYING DAY

Originally recorded for the “lost” Postcard album Ostrich Churchyard. Later re-recorded for the fantastic You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever. The original version finally seeing the light of day when Ostrich Churchyard was finally released in 1992. Again a drop dead classic and one of my favourite Orange Juice tracks. Simply Thrilled Honey!!!

MAKE ME FEEL AGAIN

The only track I didn’t recognise on the night. An album track from Gorgeous George his “hit” album of 1994 on the back of the single A Girl Like You. Probably the weakest song of the night but not too bad. Maybe a re-assessment of his solo work is needed?

LOSING SLEEP

Title track from Edwyn’s seventh solo album released by Heavenly in 2010. A return to form and his best seller since Gorgeous George in 1994. Tonight Edwyn has obviously given great thought to his set list. The best track from each of his solo LPs, mixed with half a dozen OJ classics and half his new album. Perfection.

FELICITY

Now in a gig as good as this there were a few “Oh my God” moments and this was certainly one of them. My second favourite Orange Juice song and not even written by Edwyn. James Kirk is the writer and Edwyn pays him some great compliments including a smashing rendition of his finest work. Maybe an Orange Juice re-union is on the cards. I hope so.

DILEMNA

Opening track of his latest and probably the best track on it. Even better live. The gig was really warming up now. So much so that Edwyn had to remove his cardigan. Punk rock eh??

RIP IT UP

Orange Juice’s biggest hit. Ok their only hit. Which is a massive shame but also maybe a blessing as we still get to see Edwyn at venues like this doing songs as good as this. Again an absolute gem but again pretty sad as when I spoke to people about this event this was the only Orange Juice song they knew which is criminal. If you fall into this category go out and buy any of the albums mentioned in this review. I assure you you won’t be disappointed.

A GIRL LIKE YOU

Edwyn’s biggest, only?, solo hit. And again the only one some knew. I have to admit I’m not a big fan of it for two reasons. Firstly its a bit of a dirge. Secondly it spoils Edwyn’s reputation as people only know the one song. It’s a bit like the Las and There she goes. It probably keeps him in money but gives people a false sense of the real worth of the artist involved.

HOME AGAIN

Taken from the album Home Again released in 2007 again on Heavenly records. How many great labels can one man have played for? Best track on that album and one of his finest solo pieces.

BLUE BOY

“When he spoke she smiled in all the right places. In her smile he saw the poison she tasted. She wasn’t listening to the sweet words. He wasn’t listening to her lying tongue. He was listening to the words being sung. By the blue boy.”

My favourite Orange Juice song. Ever. Their second single and an absolute classic. The biggest and best “Oh my God” of the night. I actually posted some of the lyrics in advance in the hope he would play it. Buy The Glasgow School to hear this in all it’s glory or get on eBay and buy the original Postcard record. It might cost a bit but would be well worth it. Surely one of the finest indie tunes ever?

DON’T SHILLY SHALLY

Edwyn’s debut solo single and still his finest moment on his own. So good it hasn’t even been on an album!!! He obviously must agree as he’s saved it till last. Released in 1987 after the demise of Orange Juice it looked like it would propel him to stardom but sadly that did not happen. It took until 1994 before he had success with A Girl Like you and not a lot in the following 19 years. It would seem only now that he is getting the recognition his talent deserves.

A great performer. A great venue. A great set. A great night. Gig of the year? Probably.

A big thank-you to Andy and Phil at the Kids are Solid Gold. They keep bringing these great acts to the North-East. Well done to both. Also thanks to all at the Westgarth. Easily our favourite venue.

LINKS:

EDWYN COLLINS: http://www.edwyncollins.com/

BULLIES: https://www.facebook.com/Bulliesmusic

FAKE MAJOR: http://www.fakemajor.com/

THE KIDS ARE SOLID GOLD: http://thekidsaresolidgold.co.uk/

THE WESTGARTH SOCIAL CLUB: http://www.westgarthsocial.com/

By peter on December 22, 2013


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