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Michael Head and Some Other Bands - Liverpool Echo Arena

By Mike Love


Down by the docks the talking turned.  Who'd have thought it; Mick Head ending up playing the cavernous new complex at the waterfront, as part of 'Summer Pops'.  Has Britain's 'Greatest Living Songwriter' (NME 1999), finally made it to the big time, and lining up in this year's extravaganza alongside the likes of Mick Hucknall and Mick Buble.  Hell, had they played on the same night, imagine that comedy potential?  Bog off Pavarotti and his fat mates, here come the 'Three Micks'.
Anyway, billed as 'Scouse Factor', six Liverpool acts played on the same bill, over three hours, which meant that the unfortunate Bo Weevils, straight outta the Stocky Village projects, played at 7.00pm to sundry cleaners, security staff, and me.  They were good, 'n all.  The Maybes? were spot-on, and The Aeroplanes and The Real People okay.  I can't take the latter too seriously, though, since an interview a few years back when they said that "the press make a big thing about this so-called rivalry between us and Oasis".  Sorry, run that by me again?
By the time Mick took to the stage - accompanied only by veteran flautist Les Roberts - there were around 2,500 in the 10,000 capacity venue.  I actually don't know anybody who paid in, such were the number of freebies doing the rounds in a desperate attempt, by the Summer Pops promoters, to get some sort of audience.  It's a good idea, having a local band night on the 'Pops', but, realistically, you would need to sign up the likes of The Coral, Shack, The Wombats, Half Man Half Biscuit, a reformed Candy Opera and The Zutons, to make the attendance anywhere near respectable.  Still, the show must go on, and Mick's solo appearance - along with Brother John's similar lone outing at The Zanzibar next week - has led to some speculation about the future of Shack.  Indeed, fuel has been added to the fire, by the announcement that Mick's side-project, 'The Red Elastic Band' (with Andy Diagram and The Coral's Bill Ryder) will be playing live in September.  But, for now, let's not speculate, but sit back and enjoy the lad's seven delightful acoustic numbers, played to a combined backdrop of some reverential worship, and incessant chatter from those who didn't have a clue who he was (and cared even less).
In fairness, he was fantastic, running through the following set:
Queen Matilda
The Prize
New Song (something about Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, bizarrely)
Full Moon
Something Like You
Streets of Kenny
Here's a clip, in fact (thanks, Jimmy):
And then The Farm came on.  Two female backing singers, in pyjamas, with Peter Hooton commenting that it was "just to annoy Pete Price".  I sat through 'Stepping Stone' and 'Hearts and Minds', and then decided that I didn't like 1985 all that much anyway (apart from Everton winning the league).  'Summer'? 'Pops'?  Literally and figuratively, it was pissing down.  So I went home, got into bed, and came to the conclusion that there is nothing better in life than Mick (and John) Head.  Oh, and writing on the sole of your slipper with a biro.






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