Echo and The Bunnymen at the Olympia Theatre – Review and Photos
There’s more than fifty shades of grey at the Olympia tonight. Indie hipsters of various vintages are reliving their 80’s electro pop youth in the dry ice and red velvet surroundings of the venue. There’s a few shades of grey on the stage too, as Ian McCulloch and his fellow Bunnymen seek to revisit the height of their iconic glory days. It’s only Ian and Will from the original lineup. That doesn’t seem to bother the crowd as they indulge in the offerings from the recently produced “Meteorites” right back to “Ocean Rain”.
Mc Culloch swaggers through the set like the Godfather of Indie. His work is widely acknowledged to have influenced generations of music. Coldplay, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Richard Ashcroft all on the list. Tonight there’s whiffs of Duran riffs, Stone Roses bass lines, echoes of Vampire Weekend and hints to countless other indie pop and rock giants. Known to be cranky at the best of times, McCulloch denies photographers the pit. Yet, he smokes, drinks and banters with the crowd.
In a set that encompasses over thirty years of music, The Bunnymen unleash a stash of nostalgia. Yes, you might say they indulged a bit with “People Are Strange” and there was no need for the Lou Reed or Sinatra cocktail in the encore of “Nothing Lasts Forever” and “Lips Like Sugar”. However, Mc Culloch indulged the audience as much as himself. Swelling out the classics, embellished with Will’s delay and reverb. He enhances with eerie vocals, soaring flawlessly into full volume. He conducts the drama, the isolation, the darkness. Hardcore fans are happy to endure the newer tracks for the reward of the classics. The somewhat empty unburst lyrical bubble of “Holy Moses” preceding “Constantinople”, where “it’s so cold”. Their reward comes quickly with “Bring On The Dancing Horses”. Devoured by the crowd, it’s timeless, bleak and brilliant. “The Killing Moon” and almost gothic “The Cutter” enhanced to full fat scale with Will’s evocative soundscape guitars. A second unexpected encore with “Ocean Rain”. One for the superfans to go home happy, despite the slightly somber undercurent. “All hands on deck at dawn/Sailing to sadder shores/Your port in my heavy storms/Harbours the blackest thoughts”. I can see why Richard Ashcroft is interested. It is beautiful. That’s the thing, you can critique this band, refer to years gone by, define them by age, pick holes in their delivery. It’s pretty pointless though. Their songs are standalone sculptures of art. Timeless, classic, a unique sound, a genre former. I’ll forgive them their indulgence tonight. Ian McCulloch, Godfather of Indie. Bring on the new Messiah.
Review by Ciara Sheahan
Photos by David Doyle