The Wake recently reactivated after a 15-year hiatus with no obvious fracture in their sound. Frontman Gerard McInulty’s vocals were a little too monotonous to match the band’s full, fragrant moments but were entirely in keeping with the darker, more insistent gear they moved into in the latter stages of their set.
The Pastels/The Wake
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The Pastels, meanwhile, have never been away, but their workrate is about as diffident as their live performances. For this first hometown show in eons, they proceeded with characteristic hesitancy, adhering to a slightly perverse onstage configuration which placed their more awkward members front and centre (including former band linchpin Annabel “Aggi” Wright on cameo backing vocals) and left guitarist John Hogarty lurking in the shadows. Reaching the end of current single Check Your Heart without mishap, frontman Stephen Pastel wryly declared their rendition “a total triumph”.
There were whimpers from the audience when he announced the final song but these quickly turned to cheers of recognition for Baby Honey, their epic Velvet Underground-style distorted jam which made for a blast from the past. Arguably, this is all part of the naïve charm. Perish the thought that The Pastels would ever become a slick operation, but a bit more self-confidence in their delivery would surely not break the spell.