John Cale: The Button Factory, Dublin – live review
John Cale
The Button Factory
Oct 3rd 2012
Live Review

<strong>John Cale stopped off in Dublin recently for a date at The Button Factor. Even the frustration of endless sound problems could not deter our reviewer Coni T Poni</strong>

It was spectacular, not least because I’m in love with his magic, but his entrance was sharp. With a coy greeting as he sauntered to his keys and broke straight into song from his 1979 Album ‘Sabotage/Live’, Captain Hook. The duration of the gig consisted of more recent material from his latest 5 Star Album ‘Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood’ and last year’s ‘Extra Playful’.

He did seem rather miffed at times (quite a bit actually) about the dodgy sound; his acoustics weren’t stretching as far as they were supposed to; particularly when he took his guitar in hand. Dustin Boyer on guitar was just special, with riffs roaring enough to cause heat where no physical touch would dare. A smashing chemistry between him and Cale exists, which is testament to the charm of such a sublime sound. Style, substance and bloody great moves abound, whilst drums and bass impressed hugely; with blood, sweat and tears poured onto every track for the entirety of the set.

We got the set list which was not quite adhered to, there were few changes on what may have been a whim and the man Cale looking shifty himself at times during ‘Scotland Yard’ where he paid great attention to looking at the lyrics.

Experimental electronic fuzz appears to be the primary sound favoured on stage.
The highlight for me came during ‘Hanging’, where we fixed his gaze for what felt like a lifetime, tears rolled down his cheek and almost, subsequently, mine too. A special moment I’ll take to the urn and inevitable waters.

Shortly after our moment, he soldiered on into more songs, but soon became a little frustrated with a girl in the audience who, while at the front was casually texting. He repeatedly chanted during a performance of ‘Face 2’ ‘The bitch is on the phone‘, it went unnoticed with many, who may have assumed it was just another John Cale lyrical profanity. I saw it for what it was: frustration; gut wrenching annoyance by the modern audience of hipsters. We, however, got mileage out of this rather humorous moment.

He finished with ‘Nookie Wood’, much to the disappointment of the old school audience at back who suggested the new sound was adolescent. It was received with mediocre applause and John Cale left the stage quite abruptly, after consistent sound errors and grievance, with just a fleeting wave.

I hoped for him to come back, as did some others, but the moody tech guy who was running the stage (manning errors two hours too late), made it clear to us impatient folk that John Cale wasn’t coming back. Mostly by using erratic hand gestures, swinging arms and virtual slitting throat dramatics to suggest the end.

I should mention too, that he played keys mostly and midway through the set, he was virtually making love to the black and white. He moves so damn well and it says so in the Poem I gave him which he was rather amused by.

I could have overdosed completely to a sweet divine death for more of New York’s surrogate boy but I was satisfied too, that I had felt and absorbed enough to hold onto for as long as my grip upon my mind allows.

I am in awe of him.

All words by Coni T Poni

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