Thursday, December 06, 2007

Marc Almond / Lee Griffith Birmingham Academy 2 Saturday 1st December 2007

As the time comes to start opening up the advent calendar once more (Mars celebrations this year since you ask) Santa Claus brings me an early present in the form of a rare gig by a longstanding musical hero - Marc Almond. First up though I got stuck into opener Lee Griffith. A self confessed 'gobshite' from Liverpool who was, two years ago living the straight life and is now 'out and proud', Lee's one of the most infectiously endering performers I've seen for years. Given his 'gobshiteness' I wasn't expecting much of a voice or lyrical content but he came across as a younger, Scousier John Martyn. There's a bunch of tracks on his My Space page but I'd say he's at his best live.

Marc Almond is probably the only artist I've followed pretty much for their entire career (which, being a musical whore like I am, is a miracle). Although very, very young when Soft Cell first hit the charts way back in '81 (1981, not old do you think I am?) I can remember loving Tainted Love from the very first listen. Since then of course he's done all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff that most people probably aren't aware of. Check out the album Mother Fist and Her Five Daughters (named after a Truman Capote short story) for some of his best work. Back in 2004 he fell off a motorbike and was critically injured. Few expected him to survive, but here he is, apart from a large dent in his head, seemingly as good as new and back to his bitchy best. He wasn't impressed with the Academy 2 (who is?) but put on exceptional performance (especially allowing for the cold that he was suffering from, poor dear) that took in most of his 27 year career. Inevitably one woman starting calling for Tainted Love after just one or two tracks. She was swiftly put in her place. The rest of the crowd lapped up everything he played though, including Lilac (awesome), Your Aura, The River, Mr Sad, Tears Run Rings, What and The Idol. Like I say, a pretty neat package of the hits and classics. It's the sixth time I've seen him as a solo artist and one of the best. The only minor quibble was the band. They played fine but some of his key material was recorded with classically trained musicians, real strings and brass. I missed that. A minor quibble however, especially considering that it's a miracle he can still breath unaided let alone tour. The star remains undimmed.


thebobbydazzler said...

Baron, unfortunately due to a logistical nightmare I missed this little gem of a door step challenge. Like you, I would put Mr Almond up there with Mr Rowland. Did you manage to get any up-close and personal pics?

The Baron said...

Ho ho ho The Dazzler, no close ups...the stunning shot used on the 'aid was as close as I got. We can't all hob nob with the stars like you. How is Kev these days?