Gig review: Echo & The Bunnymen

Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant of Echo And The Bunnymen performing at the Queens Hall. Picture: Getty
Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant of Echo And The Bunnymen performing at the Queens Hall. Picture: Getty
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IN AN ERA of reformations and revivalism, there remains something enduring about Liverpudlian miserablists Echo and the Bunnymen, who defeated the current vogue for moneyspinning comebacks by getting theirs out of the way in 1996.

Echo & The Bunnymen - Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

****

Yet 18 years down the line, with this show having already been postponed for a month due to singer Ian McCulloch’s ailing voice, there remained a fear among their fans that the current vintage of the group (who retain their key founders from 1978, McCulloch and guitarist Will Sargeant) might be a somewhat shop-worn proposition.

In which case, the audience visibly relaxing as they warmed to a gig which eventually touched upon the triumphant was a relief. In a small space by this group’s standards, although a decidedly atmospheric one, McCulloch, Sargeant and their five-strong band started with the title track of their new fan-funded record Meteorites, eminently in keeping with their classic style. Elsewhere in the set new songs like New Horizons and the bedraggled ballad Lovers On the Run came up against minor early hits including Never Stop and Bedbugs & Ballyhoo.

Yet what had progressed as a strong and purist-friendly show stepped up a few gears at the end, with McCulloch’s voice sounding blissfully haggard on a powerful crescendo of Bring On the Dancing Horses, Killing Moon and The Cutter, giving way to an encore in which Nothing Lasts Forever found itself fused sublimely to Lou Reed’s Walk On the Wild Side and Wilson Pickett’s In The Midnight Hour.

Seen on 11.06.14