The Bad Shepherds
O2 Academy 2, Liverpool
Saturday 16th November 2013
“The twat on the telly”
There are few gigs you come away from with that genuine feeling that you have not just witnessed a decent band but have included within an experience; however, and being acutely aware how trite this sounds, when leaving the Academy following a magical set from The Bad Shepherds I genuinely felt I had been fortunate enough to have been included in such an event – what’s more surprising was the fact that this was not some ramped up, pyrotechnic orgy of noise and choreographed ‘mayhem’, this was three middle age blokes with an array of violins, mandolins, Uilean pipes and all manner of recorders and whistles;
Opening with ‘Anarchy In The UK’ – the track is barely recognisable, The Bad Shepherds have turned the Pistols incendiary rage into a haunting almost drone like masterpiece, for many in the capacity crowd its only when Edmondson breaks into the lyric that they recognise the source; the Pistols were all about amphetamine rage, The Bad Shepherds are subtle nuances – however watching Edmondson deliver those infamous lines it’s obvious he is channelling Lydon’s energy with a delivery that equals the intensity of anything from back in 77’.
Edmondson welcomes the audience, runs a quick poll to establish who had seen the Bad Shepherds previously, and to newcomers “where have you fuckers been?” before visiting Dury’s ‘What A Waste’ from the Bad Shepherds current album ‘Mud, Blood & Beer’ – either side of Edmondson are two of folk music’s finest musicians; Troy Donockley and Andy Dinan who are effortlessly able to realise Edmondson’s self-confessed ambition of being a musician; he peppers the set with humorous anecdotes, this time referencing his father’s despair when a teenage Ade declared his intention to earn a living strumming a guitar – his Dad saying he would never get a mortgage , Ade announcing did get one some 10 years later “for a quarter million pounds” he also took a swipe at Status Quo regarding a merchandising opportunity in Australia suggesting that Rossi and Parfitt had been “sucking the Devil’s cock”.
Pulling material largely from the punk and new wave genre, we get a stunning interpretation of The Adverts ‘Gary Gilmores Eyes’ with an equally amusing suggestion to “the horrors of light entertainment” as seen through Gary Wilmot’ eyes, Edmondson is immersed in the music – despite his projection that he is a barely competent musician, he is in fact a very fine mandolin player; also his voice – for so long I have associated Edmondson with the characters Vyvyan Bastard and Eddie Hitler that to hear his impassioned and genuine vocal delivery is invigorating.
The reference to Edmondson’s Vyvyan Bastard creation is I believe significant; Vyvyan was the violent punk in the early 80’ ‘Young Ones’ sitcom, it’s clear he opted for this role as the characters musical preference matched his own, indeed the Young Ones regularly featured bands whose material The Bad Shepherds now cover; Madness made two appearances; tonight we get ‘Our House’ before a cover of Costello’s ‘Shipbuilding’ – the music is dramatically mournful, Edmondson’s delivery of the lyric is intense, which then contrasts with the rush of both ‘GSTQ’ and da brudders ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’.
And then ‘Mud, Blood & Beer’ the title track form the recent album, the first Bad Shepherds composition which stands shoulder to shoulder alongside other genre defining tracks such as ‘London Calling’, ‘Rise’ and ‘Once In A Lifetime’
Encoring with a very recently arranged ‘Girlfriend In A Coma’ and then into the visceral assault of ‘White Riot’ this was a performance to savour; despite the perceived ‘no future’ ethos of the punk movement The Bad Shepherds have demonstrated the importance of both the music and more importantly the lyric; this was a night of exceptional music, and stunning delivery which in his own words included “the twat on the telly”
The current tour continues on into mid December, many of the dates are sold out, but if you do get the chance go and see The Bad Shepherds:
- Thu 21-Nov Birmingham Town Hall
- Fri 22-Nov Exeter SOLD OUT
- Sat 23-Nov Falmouth Pavilions
- Sun 24-Nov Southampton SOLD OUT
- Wed 27-Nov Cardiff The Globe
- Thu 28-Nov Gloucester Guildhall
- Fri 29-Nov Corby Corby Cube
- Sat 30-Nov Farnham Maltings
- Sun 1-Dec Brighton Concorde 2
- Wed 4-Dec Colchester SOLD OUT
- Thu 5-Dec Nottingham SOLD OUT
- Fri 6-Dec Holmfirth Picturedrome
- Sat 7-Dec Clitheroe SOLD OUT
- Sun 8-Dec Pocklington SOLD OUT
- Wed 11-Dec Folkestone The Quarterhouse
- Thu 12-Dec Oxford O2 Academy 2
- Fri 13-Dec Cambridge The Junction
- Sat 14-Dec London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire