Dexys: Liverpool Sound City – live review

Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool Sound City 2013
4th May 2013 

Ok, so we only ran a Dexys review 5 days ago but frankly when a band’s putting in performaces as good as Dexys are at the moment we can’t get enough reviews up.


Where to begin eh?

What maketh-the-man that resurrects from the ashes of THAT Lingerie malfunction back in 1999 in that field in Reading ?

Where art thou you bloody so called “mates” when it comes to helping me out when others berate my dislike for fuckin’ “GENO” and “Come on Eileen” ?

Thirty three years ago some of us were still battling with our split personalities, ones that were caused by the outbreak of CRASS records and the NEW ROMANTIC scene. Some of us didn’t know where to turn so having DEXY’s MIDNIGHT RUNNERS on Top of the Pops and local skinheads singing along to “Geno” down the high street was a little too much. OK, so we read stuff and have seen stuff on telly since about how Dexy’s Midnight Runners meant so much to so many but in the eyes of some this didn’t count because some of us were always (and still are) trying to do the (what we think is) cool things that our mums won’t understand. Our mums understood this band (or thought they did) – they wore dungarees…..

No! not our mums, the band (…well maybe some people’s mums did….ignore me) and jumped around a lot (ditto) and sung songs about Darts players (sometimes you just had to let things run as they were and not get involved in explaining things as teenagers).

The aforementioned Lingerie wearing covers (solo) album and Reading performance in 1999 was shocking to some, disturbing even but that’s not to say we wanted Kevin Rowland to come to any harm. Us Brits love the underdog to bounce back as although it’s taken bloody years to happen (and maybe we never thought it ever would), in my eyes I think it’s time to come clean and apologise for bitching about you behind your back Mr Rowlands (“pub natter”) and announce through the medium of this Louder than War blog that THIS…….PHroahhhhh !!! (deep breath….) may have been one of the best things this writer has ever had the pleasure to see (raises glass. takes a big sip…..)

It’s good to have a gut feeling and have the enthusiasm to give something a go. There’s loads going on around this city this evening (still) but the IDEA of seeing something being performed from the most recent DEXY’s album “One day I’m going to soar” – (Fuckin’ ‘ell,I didn’t even know it was called that until yesterday) Inside THE FIFTH BIGGEST CATHEDRAL IN THE WORLD was tempting enough to dismiss the idea of going to see some Korean band playing in someone’s garden or”Golden Fable” or “Highfields” or anything else going on all around us.

“Anyway” as one of my little band of helpers suggested ….

” I can always piss off and have a beer with one of those Lily Savage looking birds down the high street if I get bored….”

This is a very well choreographed show.

And it is a show not a gig.

You work this out just by seeing them nonchalantly swapping a black chair for a white one half way through because someone has at some stage of the rehearsals had the idea that it looks better if you’re going to put one leg on it to have a chat to Madeleine Hyland walking around the stage discussing your “current relationship”.

Dexys: Liverpool Sound City – live review

We realise right from the off that this is this more akin to a play, a musical, a really bloody cool performance with PIANO’s Trumpets, co singers, violins, chats with each other over the top of some smooth jazzy soul searching interludes. A musical version of “Goodnight Sweetheart” without that plonker from ‘fools and ‘orses.

These people aren’t just playing a gig, they’re acting out this shit for real and if it makes you laugh, cry, punch your arms in the air and stand still for TWO AND A HALF FUCKIN HOURS WITHOUT BLINKING then I think you’d agree that it’s job done.

A good job WELL done.

Kevin Rowland voice is perfect in everyway. He throws out “Me” rather early in the set which is a good indication of what’s to follow. A tune that HAS to work live for any of this to make any sense and it works well.

It’s the tune that got me here. Something I liked the idea of but something I wasn’t convinced I’d yet heard the best of. I stood in hope I wasn’t going to be let down. I hoped I might leave this place at the end of the evening in a way I eventually did.

It was a personal risk.

And it came off.

It’s an early defining moment for those of us not too familiar with the album that the evening is going well and will continue to go well. “She got a wiggle” throws us into a frenzy quite early on as Kevin sits down (black chair, slightly higher than the white one) to sing and chat to an unresponsive co-vocalists Pete Williams, and as the chorus interrupts the one way chat, heads turn left and about 50 feet up to see a light simply shining on the face of aforementioned Madeleine Hyland singing the refrain “I’m mad on you” over and over and over and over ………(no miniature cymbal).

So basically the evenings plot goes:

Bloke sees stunning girl, bloke fancies stunning girl, bloke falls too much in love with stunning girl, bloke gets jealous when she eyes up another bloke (a piano player and possibly the trombone player as well), says the wrong thing, upsets stunning girl by telling her he’s going bonkers, ends the relationship and she pisses off not to return…. all in about twenty minutes. “Yeah”, as my funny little friend would observe,

“That’s about as long as your last bird”

She’s not even here for the bow at the end. However she’s not in a taxi to a swanky hotel in Sefton Park as by the time the band return for a final knees up she’s back. Previously smudged lipstick cleared up and happy smiling face… did I tell you how stunning she looked ? – oh alright then.

Dexys: Liverpool Sound City – live review

D’ya know how ace this was? – I don’t think they even played “Come on Eileen” or “Jackie Wilson”. “Geno” was not how my mum would recognise it and THAT is some feat. TWO and a half hours of the most stunning hard worked casually choreographed show and they don’t even need to drag out “the best British single” from 30 years ago.



…and double Wow. how did that happen ?

Kevin Rowland, I’ll say it now and I didn’t think I’d have the pleasure really, but this puts you up there with the greats….take a bow son, take a bow….(oh! you did).

All words by Keith Goldhangar. More of Keith’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here.

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Keith Goldhanger -- Spent the '90s as a frontman with London noise merchants HEADBUTT - spent the '80s in 'Peel favourites' BASTARD KESTREL. Spent a few years mashing up tunes and remixing bands as HIDEOUS WHEEL INVENTION. Is often out and about getting in the way of things and bumping his head on low ceilings - Will give your band the time of day but will dislike any band that balances full pints of alcohol on the top of guitar amps (Not keen on lead singers that wear hats either).


  1. Whilst I thought the show was thoroughly enjoyable, it was drawn out longer than a Corrie plot. They could have easily have knocked 2 minutes off each song and then maybe had time for Come on Eileen? I would have even been happy with a version of that I didn’t recognise. Does that make me a heathen?

  2. What can I say – the show was fantastic – Something I’ll always remember, who cares about the whole cross dressing thing, Kevin redeemed himself and more. The whole band / cast put everything into it, by far the best part of Sound City and I am a new fan of this genius showman

  3. My review of this review is that it is rubbish; Mr Coathanger cannot even get the guy’s name right (Rowlands?). Others, forget C.O.E. even Kev don’t like it! The night was awesome, the location was awesome and most importantly, the music was awesome. Thank you Kev, n thank you JC for letting us use your gaff, only next time get some decent ale in!


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