As Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band bring their traditional Christmas gig to Grand Central Hall Getintothis’ Kevin Barrett was on hand for an unforgettable night.
Merseyside has always had this habitual knack of producing incredible songwriters. And what a week it’s been for Liverpool’s gig-goers who’ve been blessed in witnessing three of it’s finest play the city within the space of days.
Following the colossal prowess of Paul McCartney at the Echo Arena, and the delicately beautiful intimacy of Bill Ryder-Jones in the same venue as tonight, some might suggest we have saved the finest of them all until last.
Mick Head’s lyrics will go down in legend, as influential as his songs, it’d be almost impossible to mention his name without a reference to the word cult springing up somewhere.
The adulation he receives from his followers is fascinating. For an artist who’s career has been as unconventional as Michael Head, he still wonderfully inspires, and instills beauty within the music he creates. As consistently compelling in his craft now as he ever has been, this evident in the wide generation demographic that attend his performances.
Tonight’s gig, as pretty much all of Mick’s tend to, sold out immediately, and would have more than likely done the same at least twice over.
Last time out we found ourselves at one of the most celebrated performances of the year under the architectural elegance of the Museum of Liverpool, tonight Grand Central Hall raises a very different setting, a stunning building all the same, now with a modernised revamp. Forgiving some of the Liberache’esq decor for the minute, the acoustics under the great dome are wonderful for the choice of sound on offer tonight.
Opening the support is Charlie McKeon, a Liverpool based solo singer-songwriter, blending traditional folk with contemporary playing, his subtle nervousness is lost in the charming music he presents. A pleasing yet gentle introduction into proceedings.
— Sally Williams (@Sally__Williams) December 15, 2018
Receiving a hero’s welcome as he unassumingly takes to the stage, Michael Head’s stage presence fills this venue. Leading with tracks from his former band Shack including Stranger and Mr. Appointment before Newby Street gets the biggest early cheer of the set.
As the set develops there’s a befitting intimate feel encapsulating the room. The one large family atmosphere is now pretty standard of a Michael Head gig given the devout dedication of the fanbase he takes everywhere with him, as he dedicates Cadiz to “the missus”.
Top night watching @Michael_Head_ & Band @VioletteRecords at a great venue 👏👏 #Comedy – great to catch up with @ToffeeArt @Sally__Williams @onlychildmusic @janeagallagher @eversparks1969 🎄🍻🍷🎶 pic.twitter.com/ydPY63KBGX
— Mark Nixon (@marknicko68) December 16, 2018
Gone are some of the inappropriate heckles seen at previous gigs for more shouts of ‘I love you’. Although one critique to note is something we are seeing more and more, completely frustratingly there’s a few factions within the crowd that feel the need to continuously chatter through the set resulting in the obligatory hushes from all around. As also seen on Thursday’s Bill Ryder-Jones’ gig it’s an enormously irritating trend that seems the norm for some.
Images by Getintothis’ Kevin Barrett