Ahead of his support slot with Neil Young, Ian McNabb provides a night high on intensity, Getintothis’ Ian Salmon salutes a musician who’s always attempting to transcend his musical inspiration.
Know your influences. Aspire to your influences. Transcend your influences. The artistic ideal.
Ian McNabb‘s love of Neil Young isn’t exactly a secret; from covering his songs with the Icicle Works nearly (whisper it, some of us are touchy about the whole ageing thing) thirty years ago – back when Neil was seriously unfashionable – to co-opting Neil’s backing band, Crazy Horse, for his Mercury nominated Head Like A Rock album and ensuing tour in support of same.
Head Like A Rock itself is twenty years old now and the intervening years have seen McNabb plug in occasion for solo gigs and Icicle Works branded tours but more usually appear (splendidly) in the guise of the wandering acoustic minstrel.
Last year though saw him embrace his inner Neil once more with the three piece Cold Shoulder taking on the mantle of The Horse to indulge in a wonderful wall of noise, all drawn out guitar solos, throbbing backing and soaring melody.
Saturday night at the East Village Arts Club saw further proof of the good time rock’n’roll night out that the four men make so compelling. Icicle Works classics (but possibly not those the general public would recognise) sat cheek by jowl with material from 2013’s magnificent Eclectic Warrior (and that’s ‘Eclectic’ not ‘Electric Warrior’ – that was by some other bloke).
In fairness, much beloved as the older material is, its presence is unnecessary; the material written for and with the band stands strongly on its own, there’s no need here for ‘crowd pleasers’.
There was a moment, there’s always a a moment but this was a moment; McNabb and fellow guitarist/foil Chris Kearney met at centre stage to cut heads in the midst of the set’s centrepiece Memory Be Good To Me, Memory Come Back To Me – nine minutes on record, God only knows on stage.
As the song ebbed and flowed and built and dropped and grooved and shook the two traded licks, alternating between languorous and incendiary both utterly transported by the music and suddenly it was obvious; these two stood along the best of Crazy Horse for that moment. Pure, intense, real, honest and completely absorbed by their creation, their duel.
High claims. Claims I stand by. You want proof? McNabb is supporting Mr Young at the Arena on July 13. Treat yourself, it’ll be a hell of a night on all fronts.
Earlier, Go Fiasco showcased their trashy guitar-propelled bluster to enliven the early evening. Fractured percussion traded with Dan Duggan‘ pouty vocal snarl. New track, Calm, released in June, indicative of their glam-infused racket.
Further reading on Getintothis:
Ian McNabb: Young at heart and the tenets of eclecticism
4 Men 4 Mencap: Brian Nash, Ian McNabb and Ian Prowse: The Zanzibar, Liverpool
Getintothis’ albums of 2014 so far: Half term report from Liverpool’s writers on the block.
Liverpool bands line up for Brazil World Cup 2014.
Forest Swords: From Norse sacrifices to Smooth FM and making the follow up to Engravings.
Twilight Sad to play cult debut album in full in Liverpool.
LIMF 2014: By The Sea, Baltic Fleet & more set for Getintothis & Bido Lito! stage in Sefton Park.
LightNight Liverpool 2014: Cathedral, Black-E, FACT, St Luke’s Church – picture gallery.