14 May 2012

Ian McCulloch Epstein Theatre Liverpool review

Ian McCulloch Epstein Theatre review

Ian McCulloch Epstein Theatre Liverpool review

Formerly known as the Neptune Theatre, the Epstein theatre has re-opened under the management of SoundCity and they launched it with the announcement of 2 nights with the legendary Ian McCulloch.

Ian, best known for fame with the Echo and the Bunnymen, was joined on stage with Lightning Seeds' Ian Broudie and a 2 piece string section and keyboard player. The set up reminding me of MTV unplugged with the curtain back drop and subdued blue lightning.

The sell out crowd waited patiently for Ian to arrive on stage and greeted him with rapturous applause when he eventually did and he wasted no time getting them eating out of his hand. Playing through a set list of classic bunnymen hits and solo stuff, Ian's voice was raspy which added to the intimacy of the night with the acoustics of the theatre amplifying it clearly and crisply.

Running through hits such as Bring on the Dancing horses before showcasing his new stuff starting with Pro Patria Mori which he self proclaimed as being a "classic" already and to be fair it was typical McCulloch material with angst ridden protest lyrics which play well to his vocals and the string section adding an extra melancholy to the song. 

Ending the set on a rapturous note with the always brilliant Nothing lasts forever which prompted the whole theatre to sing along culminating in McCulloch visibly choking up and on the edge of tears before leaving the stage to thunderous applause and the demand for more, which they got in the form of 2 encores covering songs such as Wild Side, and Lips like Sugar the audience had enough of sitting about and rose to their feet to dance in the aisles and out sing the man himself finally leaving to a standing ovation. This was a masterclass performance from a class act.

The Epstein theatre returned with a bang and a most welcome return it is. If they continue to have gigs of this calibre, then I can see a bright future for the venue. The 300 odd seating capacity being ideal for those close-up gigs and with the option of balcony seating/standing ideal for more. Long may the Epstien theatre flourish.

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