Tag Archive: Go West

Go West + Hue and Cry + The Christians, Town Hall, Birmingham, 6 November 2013

Well there’s total traffic meltdown tonight in Brum, but no problems for us – we’re seated cozily in the beautiful Town Hall listening to a bit ‘Love and Pride’ by King and ‘Footloose’ (Kenny Loggins) to get us in the mood for some 80s retro courtesy of The Christians, Hue & Cry and Go West.

 

Go West

First up at 7.30 come The Christians. Forming in ’85, three brothers Garry, Roger and Russell took their surname plus Henry Preistman (his middle name) becoming The Christians. These days its just Garry from the original line up, with full band. “Good evening Birmingham. Terrible weather and lots of traffic….” As they start up, they’re pretty slick and give it all the harmonisations the band was originally known for. “Been a great tour so far – don’t spoil it…” Christian jokes. He’s knackered after nine dates out of 30 odd. Next up is ’87s ‘Forgotten Town’, their first single ever released. Good rendition accompanied by a good reception, they are clearly enjoying life on the retro scene. Christian is quite chatty and entertaining; the next song ‘Ideal World’, he thinks means more today than it probably meant all those years ago. There are still a few empty seats: “Do you think they’re stuck in traffic, shall we wait for them?” They have a new album out (only two people in the crowd know this) but it is for sale tonight (and he’ll sign) so next is a track off it ‘Speed of Life.’ Garry loves Brum, (honestly) he really does, as he goes into ‘Hooverville (Promised Us the World)’. A short set, the last song, “…we’re constrained…” it’s ‘Harvest for the World.’ Goes down well with people dancing. And after his set Garry Christian is indeed at the merch stand chatting merrily away to the punters.

Quick break with Terence Trent Darby’s ‘Wishing Well’ before we get a bit of Hue & Cry. Scottish brothers, the Cranes – Pat and Greg, start off their set with ‘Labour of Love’, their biggest hit, which made No. 6 in the UK charts. Tonight’s set starts off with keyboards and vocals. We’re then encouraged to hold hands to ‘Violently.’ Pat is the one singing, has a powerful vocal range when he gets going. He’s feeling “…Liza Minnelli… a bit camp… but not all…” as they deliver ‘Ordinary Angel.’ Now he’ll be flogging their website, no problems with pictures or video: “…stick it inter-web.” “Here’s one you might know…” which is ‘Looking for Linda’ to which the crowd duly sing the chorus back. Greg’s swapping back from guitar accompaniment on a couple of tracks now to keyboards for ‘Mother Glasgow’ from their ’89 album ‘Bitter Suite’ – followed by an encouragement from Pat to start up an online petition to get them to sing it as the opening song at 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Next up, Paolo Nutini cover ‘Last Request’ followed by final track of their set and their first single on a “…pah…” major label, ‘I Refuse.’

And now to an interval and a little more 80s over the PA before Peter Cox and Richard Drummie aka Go West take the stage. Go West have full band in tow, starting off their set with ‘Don’t Look Down’ top 20 hit from ’85. People are already on their feet, dancing away. Straight into the next song, ‘Black & Gold’ Drummie encourages the audience to clap. Here’s something a bit different, they’ve all gone acoustic, three guitars and a couple of the band on rhythm accompany Cox as he sings soulfully ‘Skin Deep.’ Crowd politely cheers and start to clap as they recognise a very mellow version of ‘Call Me’, their ’84 hit that reached 12 in the UK Charts.

So acoustic set over and we’re into their rendition of Motown classic ‘Tracks of my Tears’, another song that has had a little bit of a makeover from their ’93 version which, once more, mellowly rolls on and on. Then we have possibly their biggest 80s hit that starts with bass beat and has bit of a remix before going into the version we all know ‘We Close Our Eyes.’ People start to stand as the audience repeats the second line to Cox and as the guitarist does a funky solo as the track goes on.

Now they’re trying a bit of Kings of Leon. ‘Sex on Fire’ is actually a better rendition than expected and shows that these West men can rock down. Cox’s voice too manages to deliver. This is the track that the crowd gets most involved in. An intro to the band members and then an intro to Birmingham, “…the audience…”, to cheers. And then it is their hit from the film ‘Pretty Woman’, this be ‘King of Wishful Thinking.’ Cox wants us on our feet and hands in the air. And after just over 35 minutes their set is over, as is the whole gig.

Well tonight it was a dolly-mixture of the pop middle ground, harmless bands of the 80s, slightly sugary, delivering pretty well in a nice posh cozy venue. Tickets at £32 maybe a tad steep, you got three bands (x 35 minute sets) for your buck and your 80s retro fix. And on a wet and miserable night or, as Cox pointed out a beautiful autumn evening, there were some very avid fans. Go West young man? It was indeed a gig for you.

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Go West setlist:
Don’t Look Down
Black & gold
Skin Deep
Call Me
Tracks of My Tears
We Close Our Eyes
Sex on Fire
King of Wishful Thinking

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Listening:
Go West – ‘Go West’ [1985]
Hue & Cry – ‘Seduced and Abandoned’ [1988]
The Christians – ‘The Christians’ [1987]

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Review for Gig Junkies. Pictures: Ken Harrison