Wednesday, 25 February 2009

TLS Edinburgh Edition: Live Review: Magazine @ The Glasgow Academy

Another contribution from the Edinburgh reviewer who only ever goes to gigs in Glasgow !!

The last time Magazine played in Scotland, I was celebrating completing my O levels with some cheeky pints and getting tipsy on less cash than it takes now to buy a large coffee from Starbucks. This show started with the equivalent of a caffeine hit which would have woken the dead. 'The Light Pours Out Of Me' was once introduced by Peel as a song about the consequences of drinking too much beer, a bit frivolous on a most complex post punk classic suitable to meet expectation built over two decades head on. Thirty seconds into the intro Howard Devoto appeared looking much fitter and healthier than in his cameo role in 24 Hour Party People in 2002.

Dressed in a pinkish white blazer, three quarter length breeks and deck shoes, Howard looked like he had docked his million pound speed boat at the nearby Jamaica Bridge. Typically the vocals cruised into place alongside the layering guitar and keyboards backed by a superb bass rift. Devoto looked slightly overwhelmed by the audience reaction at the end of the tune - it had been well worth the wait. Magazine were back at the top of their game and with a back catalogue many artists would kill for, we were in for some night!

Magazine instantly set themselves apart from other bands on the "nostalgia" circuit with a sound which was utterly fresh and a performance which reaffirmed that they were at the top of the art band end of post punk. With the exception of Wire, no other band gets close. Devoto's stage presence complimented the thrilling keyboards of Dave Formula and Noko (who played with Howard in Luxuria) played guitar lines which were a real tribute to the late John McGeoch.

The set featured tracks from throughout Magazine's recording career from the racy 'Because You're Frightened' to the anthemic 'A Song From Under The Floorboards'. The confidence and panache was clear and additional art entertainment was thrown into the mix as the lectern appeared and Devoto donned the milk bottle lenses to indulge us with a reading - in Glasgow - now that IS confidence. The cover for 'Real Life' was used as a stage backdrop for the gig and tracks like 'Shot By Both Sides' and 'Recoil' reminded us how great their debut album was. Mind you 'Second Hand Daylight' with 'Permafrost' and 'Correct Use of Soap' featuring 'I Want To Burn Again' were equally merited. In some ways it would be sad if guys this good, this original and this talented don't get back in the studio and, even this belatedly, build on this reunion.

Support provided by all girl four piece Ipso Facto who gave us a fresh take on girl goth, Xmal Deutschland style raggy scratchy guitar pop. They lost a bit of impact being thwarted by some poor mixing from the sound desk. Singer Rosalie Cunningham then joined Magazine on stage for a rather arty duet with Devoto and then, aided by bassist Samantha provided more conventional backing vocals on the old Sly & The Family Stone classic 'Thankyou' ( Falettinme be mice elf agin - check out this youtube link). Good to see them down the front enjoying the encore with the rest of us. Well worth checking Ipso Facto out on their current UK tour, see their MySpace page for details...

(Ipso Facto on Flickr by vern)

By Ian Campbell (of Edinburgh)

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