Gig review Echo and the Bunnymen at Warehouse 23, Wakefield

As one of the prime movers in the first generation of Liverpool musicians to escape the long shadow cast by The Beatles, at the end of the 1970s, Ian McCulloch never doubted the star quality of either himself or his band.

Echo and the Bunnymen
Echo and the Bunnymen

Now, more than 30 years after Echo and the Bunnymen blazed into national prominence alongside the likes of Teardrop Explodes and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, it is left to McCulloch, Will Sergeant and the rest of the present-day Bunnymen to keep alive that legacy.

And, on the evidence of this gig, they’re performing that duty with all the style and charisma they ever possessed. Oh, and – of course – one killer tune after another.

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McCulloch, if he’s that way inclined, can cross the line from moody to morose but here he was in sanguine form. Enveloped for much of the time in dry ice, he still sported the spiked hair, the shades and the trademark overcoat with complete conviction.

Then again, when you can open a set with a triple whammy of Crocodiles, Rescue and Villiers Terrace (the latter incorporating snatches of the Doors’ Roadhouse Blues and Bowie’s Jean Genie), how can you not feel good about what you’ve got?

The crowd – average age clearly the senior side of 50 but revelling in a journey back in time – lapped it up, singing along with every word and greeting each musical and lyrical reminder of their youth with gusto.

Having ended the main set with Killing Moon and The Cutter, the encore brought another embellished version of a classic as Walk On The Wild Side and In The Midnight Hour were worked into Nothing Lasts Forever, before Lips Like Sugar kissed goodbye to 90 minutes of unremitting quality.

Gig date: October 16