Altered Images, Gig Review. Eric’s, Mathew Street. Liverpool

Clare Grogan at Eric’s Liverpool. Photograph by Ian D. Hall

Originally published by L.S. Media. February 26th 2012.

L.S. Media Rating ****

Don’t let the years that have passed since Clare Grogan first burst onto the scene as a happy and vivacious girl fool you. With the new version of Altered Images on stage awaiting Clare’s arrival, the patient and certainly excited crowd were greeted by the vision of Ms. Grogan dressed immaculately in a Greek style flowing dress weaving between members of the audience, saying hello and making certain hearts flutter as she passed by.

Her presence, her absolute joy in appearing at Eric’s was palpable and goes to prove that just because time may move on, nothing is ever irrelevant in life. If people are still willing to read or sit entranced by your life’s work, then no matter the age, you are very much relevant. In that Clare and the band proved time and time again, song by song during a night that brought back many happy memories for all assembled.

Clare has surrounded herself with an all-female group of musicians which gave new life, a certain wonderful femininity to the songs whilst retaining the raw and intense passion that Altered Images music was so in tune with.

After playing the first song of the evening, Clare paid a glowing tribute to the dearly missed John Peel. Revealing how much Insects meant to the great music lover was just the first of many memories Clare spoke off with a smile on her face, but as with the audience she was addressing, with part of her soul firmly on those that have passed us by over the years.

The crowd at Eric’s buzzed with anticipation as the opening chords of the instantly recognisable hit I Could Be Happy echoed not just around the room but through the hearts of the fans. It has to be one of those great pop songs from the 1980’s that is impossible to be unwilling to dance to, even if the lyrics defy them to. This juxtaposition between surreal happiness and the line “All of these things I do, to get away from you…” should always be attention grabbing and loved.

Clare also gave thanks to the memory of Martin Rushent during the set. His excellent producing work on the band’s second album Pinky Blue being remembered fondly as the band played See Those Eyes.

In this day and age there are so few pop stars from an era when musicians still had an easier time of keeping hold of their personal life and out of the papers that retains their poise and distinctive joyful outlook on life. For this Ms. Grogan should be congratulated.

The night was soon over, it in all honesty went by so fast for all who danced or sat through the set, that in no time at all Clare and her rather wonderful musicians had played the excellent Happy Birthday and had been cheered lovingly off the stage as the final song Don’t Give Up Girl still echoed and bounced off every wall.

A wonderful return to the stage, proving once more that there is always a place for good quality pop/punk being performed by one of the pioneering women of the genre.


Ian D. Hall