Monday 28 March 2022

Introducing Starboard Hazes

Reflected Sunlight (instrumental) (100 second clip)

For a few decades I had an imaginary band. 

I wrote loads of songs as a teenager and into my early 20's, but other than the odd occasional open mic and the creation of a MySpace page, I never did anything with them. I never formed a band, other than in my head.

Anyway, last year I found folders of my old songs up in my Mums loft. I enjoyed looking through the lyrics; some were terrible, some were real teenage angst, others were OK. There were loads about dreaming, some even had chords I had written down and as I poured through the songs I found myself remembering some of them. Some were actually alright!

I dug out my guitar and recorded some very rough demos. I really enjoyed playing, it was fun and something to do during lockdown. It was escapism. After a while I sent a few of the demos to my friend James. I was delighted that he like them and we booked a rehearsal room to jam them out. 

I talked about combining acoustic guitar with electric, like The Lemonheads did so well with their It's A Shame About Ray and Come On Feel albums. James introduced me to Strung Out In Heaven by Brian Jonestown Massacre. He totally got the sound I was looking for and was amazed I hadn't heard the album.

We had 3 very sporadic sessions over 18-months before regrouping in January for one final rehearsal, then we went into a studio to record an EP.

I think I might have formed a band! I have formed a band! We're called Starboard Hazes.

Read on for more details.

Kicking Our Heels (excerpt)

Personnel - Murray Easton & James Barker + whoever we can rope in. 

So far that has included Callum Muir (drums), Annmarie Lochrie (vocals) + Norman Blake (backing vocals).

Sounds like - Warm, melodic garage guitar pop & psychedelia. Dreams, memories, fantasies, regrets, musings, teenage angst, love, loss, heartache, heartbreak & falling in love. (Hopefully!). The Lemonheads are a big influence on how I want the band to sound. 

How did Starboard Hazes form? - As above, I started playing old songs I had written up to 30-years ago! I really enjoyed playing, working out some chords and melodies to go with lyrics, combining half finished songs and recording some very rough Garage Band demos. 

After a while I was confident enough to send them to my friend James who I've known for 20-years or so. We used to work together at Abbey National, in the big office at the top of St Vincent Street. James was someone I knew was into the same music as me through his mod style haircut, Fred Perry bag and his jacket. James and I met up a few times to jam on them. 

And it was great fun. Actually it was more than that. I felt pretty elated after meeting up to play guitars and talk music, especially as we couldn't go and see bands. So we were forming one! After decades of being a music fan, following bands, writing about bands, managing bands and putting on bands ... I decided I wanted to be in one. It's my lockdown/midlife crisis! Or awakening!

Recordings? - I booked La Chunky studio in the Hidden Lane, Glasgow.  The first session at the end of January (2022) was immensely energising and great fun. We recorded the instrumental sections for 4 songs. James played lead guitar, I was on rhythm and our friend Callum was on drums. James overdubbed bass afterwards and I added some acoustic.

The 2 main songs (Kicking Our Heels and Keep On Dreaming) were recorded in 2 or 3 takes. Then we recorded 2 instrumentals completely live and unrehearsed which was great fun. One (Out Of My Mind) has lyrics that were then recorded in February , the other (Reflected Sunlight) is a psychedelic freakout instrumental - see above.

I invited my friend Annmarie down to the studio when I was recording vocals at the start of February and asked if she would sing on Kicking Our Heels. I was very much going for a Lemonheads (Evan & Juliana) vibe. Annmarie kindly came down and asked if a friend could pop in later on as they were going out for drinks. I was pretty amazed when Norman Blake showed up!

Norman hung out and offered some ideas on Annmarie's harmonies. She improvised something really nice over the instrumental section as she was warming up that I loved. So Norman got up and sang harmonies with Annmarie. Amazing! If I hadn't asked Annmarie (and I only gave her 3 days notice!) and it hadn't been that specific night, then Norman wouldn't have been on the song. Fate!

Annmarie also added some lovely touches to Keep On Dreaming. In just a couple of hours she made a big difference.

Influences - The Lemonheads, Teenage Fanclub, The Velvet Underground, The Jesus and Mary Chain (and loads more) 

Songs - 4-songs recorded; Kicking Our Heels, Keep On Dreaming, Reflected Sunlight (instrumental), Out Of My Mind. Recorded at La Chunky, Hidden Lane, Glasgow on 29th January & 9th February 2022.

Plans - We'll release Kicking Our Heels to introduce the band to everyone. And see what the reaction is! Our main goal is to play a gig! Even if we just release a single, EP and play a gig I'll be pretty happy! Things I have always wanted to do. 

Having said that I've really loved the whole recording experience and I've earmarked another few songs to work on with James and go back into the studio. So we might do it all again.

Find us on Twitter / Facebook 

Thursday 24 March 2022

Sunshine After The Rain

Trust Me #32 Sunshine After The Rain by Ellie Greenwich

It's f**king pissing down. Pouring. Torrential.

Can things get any worse?

War, the threat of nuclear weapons being used, millions of people fleeing their homes and their country, climate change, the Brazilian rainforest still being chopped down rather than protected and supported, the cost of living crisis, the lack of empathy and support from the worst government in history. A government intent on lining the pockets of their cronies, who accept dirty Russian money in donations, a government who would rather tax the poor than the rich and the companies raking in billions in profits.

F**k me.

I wanna see the sunshine after the rain

I wanna see bluebirds flying over the mountains again

Sunshine after the rain

Oh where is the silver lining, shining at the rainbow's end

Can things get any worse? Well they are going to!

We seem to be standing back and taking this. Where is the fight? If this was the 80's there would be rioting in the streets? Has the fight been beaten out of us? Do we just now tweet our anger and see how many likes it gets?

I obviously don't condone rioting. But there should be MASS PROTESTS taking place to display our dissatisfaction at the government. Cause we're all pi$$ed off? Right?

And the opposition?! What opposition! They should be going to town on this government, on this so called leader. It's a joke, it is embarrassing that so much sh*te is going on and we seem to be taking it.

So yeah, it's pouring down and I wanna see the sunshine after the rain. I want to see light at the end of the tunnel. Spring might have sprung, but it sure feels pretty dark right now.

Anyway, out of my frustrations I revisited Denise Johnson's cover version of Sunshine After The Rain, released shortly after her sad passing in July 2020, a few months into the pandemic.

Denise's effortless voice sounds beautiful, soulful, hurt and reflective n her version. I thought I would feature it as my cover version of the month.

Only .... I had never heard the original! I thought it was a 90's dance song!

But actually Sunshine After The Rain was written and released by Ellie Greenwich in 1968 - and it is INCREDIBLE! Utterly joyful.

Greenwich wrote, or co-wrote, a huge number of hits including Be My Baby, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), I Can Hear Music and River Deep Mountain High. WOW!

In the 60's, you could do a lot with a song in under 3-minutes. It's incredible that Sunshine After The Rain is only 2 minutes and 28 seconds long. Greenwich packs in so much; a 15-second intro leads to verse 1, flowing into verse 2 that ends with the question will there be a day when the sun will shine?

And then we're into the chorus at 42 seconds. Euphoric, hopeful and uplifting. Oh how good to hear music like this, how joyful to hear someone going for it with their voice.

After another 2 verses and a chorus, verse 1 is revisited, but it's slowed down, like a short breakdown, but then we're back tumbling head over heels in the chorus. Glorious! The musicianship is impeccable, the arrangement is sublime and it just seems to be sprinkled with that magic 60's fairy dust.

Ellie Greenwich - Sunshine After The Rain

And then a singer called Elkie Brooks released a cover version in 1977 - also rather beautiful. And then in 1994 New Atlantic featuring Berri released their version, with a little sample of Donna Summer for good measure. Berri rereleased the song the following year and it became a top 10 hit.

Sunshine After The Rain is an incredible song, no matter how it's played and sung. Whether it's Ellie Greenwich in 1968, cheesey electro pop in 1994 or Denise Johnson stripping it back to the bar bones in 2020.

Elkie Brooks - Sunshine After The Rain

Berri - Sunshine After The Rain

Denise Johnson - Sunshine After The Rain 

I've added Ellie Greenwich's version to my Trust Me playlist on Spotify. Search for Everything Flows Trust Me or CLICK HERE 

I've also added all 4 versions mentioned in this blog to my Everything Flows Cool Cover Versions playlist. CLICK HERE

Previous Trust Me blogs

1. Something On Your Mind by Karen Dalton
1A. Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells
2. I Am, I Said  by Neil Diamond
3. Where's The Playground Susie?   by Glen Campbell
4. If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lighfoot
5. Gimme Some Truth by John Lennon
6. Gone With The Wind Is My Love by Rita and the Tiaras
7. In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evans
8. The Music Box by Ruth Copeland
9. The Ship Song by Nick Cave
10. Sometimes by James
11. I Walk The Earth by King Biscuit Time
12. Didn't Know What I Was In For by Better Oblivion Community Centre
13. When My Boy Walks Down The Street by The Magnetic Fields
14. The Man Don't Give A F**k by Super Furry Animals
15. All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun by Jeff Buckley and Liz Fraser
16. Are You Lookin' by The Tymes
17. A Real Hero by College & Electric Youth
18. Feelings Gone by Callum Easter
19. Sunday Morning by The Velvet Underground
20. Did I Say by Teenage Fanclub
21. Don't Look Back by Teenage Fanclub
23. Belfast by Orbital
24. Clouds by The Jayhawks
25. Dreaming Of You by The Coral
26. Everlasting Love by Love Affair
27. Walk Away Renee by The Left Banke
28. Teenage Kicks by The Undertones
29. Shaky Ground by Sneeze
29. Rill Rill by Sleigh Bells
30. I Can Feel Your Love by Felice Taylor
31. The State We're In by The Chemical Brothers w/ Beth Orton

Sunday 20 March 2022

Anything Goes & Everything Flows DJ mix 11 - Andrew Weatherall

Andrew Weatherall seemed to sprinkle magic on absolutely everything he touched. Coming to my attention through Primal Scream's seminal 1991 album Screamadelica, Weatherall's taste was cool and unique. If he loved something, if he thought it was interesting - then he was all in.

This resulted in him working with an incredible range of bands and artists through his career. From bands at their peak, to new bands breaking through. Old friends and new friends.

His talent and taste was well supported by labels like Heavenly Recordings, recognised by peers and worshipped by devoted fans.

In short, Weatherall was special. A visionary. He heard things in songs that us mere mortals couldn't. Or at least we couldn't until he got his hands on them and remixed them. 

On the second anniversary of his death, I found myself checking Twitter for tributes and fans posting their favourite Weatherall moments. Leading to me going down a delightful Andrew Weatherall rabbit hole for a few hours and clicking on some remixes that I hadn't heard before. As well as old favourites.

So for my regular Anything Goes & Everything Flows 60-minute mixes I've compiled one of Weatherall mixes. Only it's gone way beyond 60-minutes. That's probably apt as Andrew Weatherall was a guy who didn't believe in boundaries.

I believe in you, I've got no bounds

As mentioned in previous blogs. I started the 60-minute mixes based on favourite pubs in Glasgow like The Variety Bar and McChuills. I think this would go down a storm on a Friday/Saturday night in either.

I hadn't heard a number of these songs/remixes before. I particularly love the Silver Apples song, while both The Asphodells songs are fantastic and I'm exploring them a little more. Elsewhere long-time favourite bands of mine are well represented. 

Enjoy. Search for Everything Flows DJ mix 11 - Andrew Weatherall remixes on Spotify, or CLICK HERE

I Heard Wonders (Andrew Weatherall Instrumental Mix) - David Holmes

2013 (Andrew Weatherall Dub) - Primal Scream

Another Lonely City - The Asphodells (Andrew Weatherall & Timothy J Fairplay)

101 (Andrew Weatherall Intensity Mix) - Finitribe

Make It Right (Andrew Weatherall Vocal Remix) - Frank Butters Presents

Edge Of Wonder (Andrew Weatherall Remix) - Silver Apples

Wide Eyed (Andrew Weatherall Remix) - The Horrors

Feathers - Andrew Weatherall

Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Andrew Weatherall Mix) - Saint Etienne

Hallelujah (Club Mix by Andrew Weatherall & Paul Oakenfold) - Happy Mondays

Mainia Theme (Andrew Weatherall Remix) - Hardway Brothers

Restless (Andrew Weatherall Remix) - New Order

A Love From Outer Space - Version 2 - The Asphodells (Andrew Weatherall & Timothy J Fairplay)

Come Together - Primal Scream

Thursday 17 March 2022

Never Ending Mixtape part 70

The Delfonics
Karen O
The Left Banke

Welcome to part 70 of my Never Ending Mixtape.

Firstly, it's always important to buy music/merch/tickets for bands & artists that you love. I think it's important to state this on the back of Spotify announcing a sponsorship deal with Barcelona to the sum of $310 million. Money that could easily have gone into better streaming deals for artists using their platform.

I struggle with this deal on 2 levels. Firstly, Spotify really don't need to advertise. Secondly, it wasn't so long ago that Barcelona proudly didn't sport a shirt sponsor and the thought of selling the naming rights to Camp Nou wouldn't have crossed their minds. It sadly highlights what a money driven world top level football has become.

I own many of the songs listed below. I've also just discovered many of them. I have Spotify to thank for that. It bugs me that I really like the platform, but hate the way they are spending money.

Hopefully, they will realise that their strategy could drive artists and music fans away from their platform if they don't improve.

So just to re-iterate. Streaming is fine, but please support the artists you particularly love. It's not easy for them.

Here are this months additions that take my Never Ending Mixtape beyond 2,500 songs.

Search for Everything Flows Never Ending Mixtape on Spotify or CLICK HERE

Love Is A Hurtin' Thing - Gloria Ann Taylor

She Calls The Tune - Andy Bell

The Kids Are Alright - The Who

I Can't Explain - The Who

Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time) - The Delfonics

Groove Me - King Floyd

Listen To The Band - The Monkees

The Kind Of Girl I Could Love - The Monkees

She May Call You Up Tonight - The Left Banke

Pretty Ballerina - The Left Banke

Galveston - Glen Campbell

Times Like These - Glen Campbell

I Fought The Law - The Bobby Fuller Four

It's Over, If We Run Out Of Love - David Holmes & Raven Violet

Let's Dance - M Ward

I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain - The Chemical Brothers w/ Beth Orton

Where Do I Begin - The Chemical Brothers

Tunnel - The Dining Rooms

How Far - Beth Orton 

Pass In Time - Beth Orton

It's Not The Spotlight - Beth Orton

Building All Is Love - Karen O

All Is Love - Karen O

Anthems For a 17 Year old Girl - Broken Social Scene

Someday, Someway - Marshall crenshaw

Till I Found You - JAMC

Where I Find My Heaven - Gigolo Aunts

Nearly Lost You - Screaming Trees

Dollar Bill - Screaming Trees

Anemone - The Brian Jonestown Massacre

Waterfall - Wendy & Lisa

Faces - Clio

Big Me - Foo Fighters

All Apologies (demo) - Nirvana

Turn It On - The Flaming Lips

Sick Of Goodbyes - Sparklehorse

Impossible - Royksopp w/ Alison Goldfrapp

Listening Man - The Bees

We Can Be Strong - Willy Mason

Cigarettes & Alcohol (demo) - Oasis

Sad Song - Oasis 

Fade Away (demo) - Oasis

Turn! Turn! Turn! - The Byrds

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue - The Byrds

The Times They Are A-Changing - The Byrds

Introduction - Nick Drake

Here but I'm Gone - Curtis Mayfield

Blue Monday People - Curtis Mayfield

Bloomsday - Samantha Crain

New Direction - Echo and the Bunnymen

Us V Them - LCD Soundsystem

Great Release - LCD Soundsystem

Winter - James Grant

Does It All Add Up To Nothing - James Grant

Love Street - The Doors

How We Met (Cherry Pie) - TeenCanteen

Impossible Stuff - Carla J Easton

Acrid - The Beths

Newby Street (instrumental) - Michael Head and the Red Elastic Band

Saturday 12 March 2022

Anything Goes & Everything Flows DJ Mix 10


Welcome to the 10th in my series of 60-minute DJ mixes where I try and play tunes that I think would do down well in 2 of my favourite bars in Glasgow - McChuills and The Variety Bar. I used to visit these bars regularly in my younger years and the music the DJ's played tended to keep me in the bar all night long. Often giving up the chance to go on to a club just to stay there.

This month, I've gone for a more guitar focused mix than usual. Tunes like Crosstown Traffic can transform the atmosphere and vibe of a night immediately thanks to that incredible vibrant and urgent intro. The pace doesn't let up as Hendrix plays with sexual innuendo as he and his band rip through the song.

Louie Louie by The Kingsmen is a song I have heard many, many times in McChuills. It must be one of the coolest songs of all time. Then again, so must Roadrunner by The Modern Lovers.

Lennon's Instant Karma is euphoric and raw, Primal Scream sit next to their beloved Stones, the way Roger Daltrey sings why don't you all f-f-f-fade away still excites and thrills in 2022 and there is power pop perfection from Elvis Costello and also Buzzcocks.

Enjoy this mix. You can search for Everything Flows DJ mix 10 on Spotify or CLICK HERE

Rock The Casbah - The Clash

Let's Dance - David Bowie

Pump It Up - Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Town Called Malice - The Jam

Crosstown Traffic - Jim Hendrix

Rocks - Primal Scream

Get Off Of My Cloud - The Rolling Stones

Louie Louie - The Kingsmen

My Generation - The Who

Another Girl, Another Planet - The Only Ones

Here Comes The Summer - The Undertones

Roadrunner - The Modern Lovers

Have Love Will Travel - The Sonics

Transmission - Joy Division

Here Comes Your Man - The Pixies

Hotel Yorba - The White Stripes

Instant Karma - John Lennon

Ever Fallen In Love - Buzzcocks

Tuesday 8 March 2022

Sweet Jane

Cover version of the month #75

Cowboy Junkies cover The Velvet Underground

Sweet Jane by The Velvet Underground is classic Lou Reed storytelling; characters, sleaze, rock n roll, the escapism of dancing, the reality of working over scuzzy guitar chords played in a riff form.

It's one of my favourite Velvet Underground songs and I particularly love the middle eight where things are turned up a notch at 2 minutes 34 (on the full length version) as Reed hollers;

But anyone who ever had a heart

Oh, they wouldn't turn around and break it

And anyone who ever played a part

They wouldn't turn around and hate it

Reed then takes things off on a gentler tangent, singing of heavenly wine and roses

The glorious riff sounds even better, even scuzzier, on the Live at Max's Kansas City album. The band seem to be changing pace constantly, somehow keeping it together. I could listen to that riff for hours on end. The closing 90-seconds of this song are compelling. The aforementioned rise to the middle eight is speeded up, then slowed down and the closing outro is power punk pop before the genre was invented.

The Velvet Underground also recorded a much slower version of the song, but I don't think it works for them, certainly not in comparison to the Live at Max's version.

Early/slow version

Full length version

Live at Max's Kansas City

I came across Cowboy Junkies version of Sweet Jane on a compilation album by Richard Fearless from Death In Vegas, one of the Back To Mine series. It's well worth checking out.

It's slowed down and at only 3 minutes 30 seconds long, the band don't quite play on the riff or outro like the Velvets do. With Margo Timmins on vocals, the song is kept cool and calm, the story is there, but the way Timmins sings the song, especially Sweet Jane, anyone whose ever had a dream and anyone whose ever been lonely really changes the whole feel of the song. It's much more melancholy. The grit, dirt and sleaze of the Velvets song is wiped. 

Lou Reed was allegedly quoted as saying this is his favourite version of Sweet Jane. I love the way Cowboy Junkies take on quite a masculine song and bring out its feminine side. It's really bold, really beautiful.

You can find links to all my previous cover versions of the month below and a playlist on Spotify by searching Everything Flows Cool Cover Versions. Or CLICK HERE

Previous covers of the month

13. Hurt

Saturday 5 March 2022

Grant, Blake & Butler at Strathaven Hotel

When FRETS announced that there would be a follow up to the Grant, Blake & Butler Celtic Connections shows in their hometown of Strathaven I immediately snapped up a couple of tickets. Their Saint Lukes show at the end of January left me with a warm afterglow for a couple of weeks.

Three brilliant songwriters clearly enjoying getting together, learning (and appreciating) each others songs and having fun playing them.

My friend Christina bagged the one and only handwritten setlist
James Grant kindly arranged to get it signed for her

The setlist was largely the same as January, a cover of The Monkees Me and Magdalena, written by Norman's friend Ben Gibbard, was a welcome addition. A really beautiful song from the last Monkees album.

Bernard talked of only discovering the song at 10pm the night before after Norman suggested playing it. He played it a few times in a row and sent it to his wife and friends, highlighting that if this show wasn't taking place then he wouldn't have discovered it.

In a similar way I wouldn't have discovered the songs by James Grant. His humour, songs and voice across the two shows I attended was incredible. Really strong and soulful.

Check State of Art from James first band Friends Again. CLICK HERE 

I need to check if Grant has recorded it in a similar way to the stripped back soulful version he played last night. Grant's voice was effortlessly rich and deep all night long. Winter was probably my favourite song that he performed.

If you're the only star, in countless constellations
Won't you shine on the debris of my situation

Shine on, shine on
In the beauty of a storm, I wither
I wither

And as for humour - his chat surrounding alpacas and misty maidens was hilarious.

Norman, joined in the fun, telling a tale about the height of each member of The Beatles and the height of his band mates in Teenage Fanclub. They were officially bigger than The Beatles!

The tale of writing I Don't Want Control Of You following the birth of his daughter is one that led to me finding deeper meaning in the song. Particularly when I became a Dad. It's such a beautiful song. And Norman's voice is ageing like a fine wine.

Every day I look in a different face
The feelings getting stronger with every embrace

I don't want a world of pain
Staring at every tear
Don't want this world to stay the same
Grow with every year

Everything Flows with Bernard going for it on his beautiful semi acoustic was a delight. Afterwards Butler said he could almost see Raymond looking over him as he played. Norman expressed his admiration at his friends playing. Bernard then let it slip that Norman had played him a new Teenage Fanclub song in the car last night after Blake had picked him up - promising news!

Ah yes, Bernard Butler. It's been a genuine pleasure to witness him playing guitar up close in such an intimate setting on a couple of occasions. He feels everything, rarely looking at the neck of his guitar. And the way he improvised on some of Grant and Blake's songs was joyful to watch.

Butler's opening choice of Souvenir was backed by a sublime performance, his reading of The Wild Ones by Suede was gorgeous - slowed down and soulful. His voice is ageing well. I can understand why he has recently released his debut album with newly recorded vocals.

And of course Yes got a suitably rapturous response on stage and off. Blake introduced it as a f**king incredible song. And it is. Again, I loved Bernard's stripped back reading of the song. Slow, sublime, soulful and spine tingling. I'd love to hear the trio record an EP or mini-album, each choosing a couple of their songs. 

Ending with a really urgent take on Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl, Grant, Blake & Butler left to a deserved standing ovation. An excellent night.

Tuesday 1 March 2022

Echo and the Bunnymen 40th anniversary at the Barrowland

A half silhouette, half human, bathed in a spotlight, mumbles in a broad scouse accent; 'This is the best song ever written' and his band take off, playing The Killing Moon, released back in early 1984. 

At one point band and singer fell away to let the Barrowland crowd sing;


Up against your will

Through the thick and thin

He will wait until

You give yourself to him

2,000 people give themselves 100% completely to him - the half silhouette, half human. His name is Ian (Mac) McCulloch who formed Echo and the Bunnymen way back in 1979, quickly going on to release their debut album Crocodiles in 1980. 

It's a beautiful moment, the crowd uniting behind a beautiful song in front of author.

Echo and the Bunnymen are a special band. Their first four albums in particular created the kind of devotion that is only saved for the very best of bands. People followed them like a football team and many gigs were like cup finals. Their 1997 comeback with Nothing Lasts Forever could have a case for being the greatest musical comeback of all time, coming over a decade since they had done anything of note. And after Mac had left the band.

Last night wasn't the most euphoric Bunnymen gig I've seen, it wasn't the best, but the best teams with the strongest leaders can still pull a performance out when they need it.

Early on Mac said he was nervous, playing the Barrowland on the last night of their tour. This was after he joked 'it only feels like yesterday that we were here.' This was their second sold out show in a row and I'm sure many in the audience will have attended both nights.

Will Sergeant on guitar coxed exquisite sounds and freaky psychedelic sounds, introduced on stage by Alan McGee as the best post punk guitarist. His playing on Ocean Rain was simply sublime, truly beautiful. Sergeant could attack his guitar with grace one moment, then play stunning solo's on just a couple of strings next - incredible.

And Mac, the half silhouette/human? Well his presence was felt by every single person in the room. All eyes were on him. He berated the sound engineer a little at the start, took drinks from the drum riser during and in between songs, talked nonsense and ... most importantly ... he sang his heart out. His brittle heart. When he pulls way from his microphone, head tilted back, then you know he is at his best.

Sure at times he was croaky and hoarse. But at other times he thrilled as he reached as high as he could go and at others pulled us closer with a mere whisper. Throwing in Walk On The Wild Side during Nothing Lasts Forever and then bringing it back is an old and seasoned Bunnymen trick, as is a little segue into Roadhouse Blues here and The Jean Genie there.

Over the wall, hand in hand felt important and urgent, especially so given the current news and seeing such bravery from Ukranian citizens. It electrified the Ballroom, the band played superbly. See you at the barricades.

Highlights? Rescue lifted the crowd early on and it was followed (perhaps a little too early in the set) by Bring On The Dancing Horses, but it dazzled and it always will. An extended Lips Like Sugar that went pretty psychedelic was a delight. But it was the encore that raised the roof. 

The Cutter was skyscrapingly euphoric, the crowd singing say we can, say we will, not just another drop in the ocean before those incredible strings and Sergeant's guitar reach heavenly. And then the aforementioned greatest song of all time with the best choir in the world that Mac said he wished he could take on their American tour.

And then? Then it was Ocean Rain. An even better song than The Killing Moon for me. So pure, heartfelt, soulful and true. Beautifully played and sung. 

All hands on deck at dawn

Sailing to sadder shores

Your port in my heavy storm

Harbours the blackest thoughts

They'll be back. And we'll be there.