Without an album in five years, although working on their
fifth, in March 2020 The Subways started re-touring their debut album 'Young
for Eternity' on its 15th anniversary. Then, like everyone else, they had to
stop due to the pandemic. Now, eighteen months later, they are picking up where
they left off and finishing off that tour.
Alongside them, also celebrating 15 years since their first
album (well 16 now obviously) are old friends of mine Art Brut. I haven’t seen
them for a while and I’m delighted to say they haven't changed one bit. Well
Eddie Argos hasn't anyway or perhaps he’s just grown into his age. The band
play themselves on with Guns N’ Roses 'Welcome To The Jungle' and proceed as if
they are headlining. Which they probably think they are.
That debut album 'Bang Bang Rock & Roll' doesn't get the
album in full treatment, and we instead get treated to a mix of all five of
their albums, but they do open (of course) with 'Formed a Band' and then follow
this with an updated version of 'My Little Brother'. It turns out his little
brother, who 15 years ago had just discovered Rock N Roll, is now nearly 40 and
a teacher e.g. not so out of control now. Cue updated and extended monologue
that goes on almost forever.
As usual their show is part music, part stand-up comedy and
part Jackanory. Delivered particularly excellently tonight. Can I take back
what I said about them not having changed? They are usually pretty shambolic
but tonight they are actually pretty slick once they get going. It’s probably
the best performance I’ve seen them do. While the band, and particularly Argos,
are clearly having a blast.
They play for almost a full hour, although 'My Little
Brother' was most of that. As I said, they probably thought they were
I may appear biased (and I’m also a big Subways fan) but I
fear the Subways are going to have some problem topping that and I’m right.
Upgraded from the smaller Rescue Rooms last time, due to the pre-pandemic lure
of the classic album I suppose, it’s not that busy. On the upside though that
leaves plenty of room for everyone to get lively, which is made good use of.
‘Young for Eternity' is delivered in full and in order. The
music is as good as ever, it’s lively, it is delivered enthusiastically by the band and
received just as enthusiastically by the crowd while Billy Lunn delivers some
interesting stories of his own but... it all still seemed a bit flat.
Perhaps that’s what happens when what was going to be a
brief look back at your debut album takes over 18 months to complete. On top of
that Lunn and Charlotte Cooper are now officially without drummer Josh Morgan,
Billy's brother, who has struggled with the touring for some years and has now
left the band. His place tonight is filled by the Ramona's Camille Phillips.
With the classic album delivered the band play just five
more on top from their other albums, which seemed a bit stingy. This included a
track from their upcoming album, their new single 'Fight'. I think they
desperately need that new album.
Then they finish by playing 'Rock & Roll Queen' for a second time. I'm not sure we needed it twice given the decent back catalogue they've got but Billy thought we did. They are off stage after only 75 minutes. Perhaps they also thought Art Brut here headlining?
(Thursday 30th September)