The Christians, Gig Review. The Atkinson, Southport.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

To undertake the task of performing two gigs in two very different venues in one day is perhaps something only Phil Collins would have thought of undertaking as part of raising awareness on the starving people in Ethiopia as part of Live Aid in 1985. However laudable, he did some help from all the organisers behind the event and the good fortune to have the luxury of Concorde to take him between London and Philadelphia.

Garry Christian and his group of superb musicians did something more remarkable by performing in Liverpool as part of the Waterfront Festival in front of 25,000 music fans as the afternoon had turned to evening and then dashing the 17 odd miles against the Merseyside traffic and with no help in the form of a friendly sky-captain to Southport to perform a more intimate gig at The Atkinson on Lord Street. As the band came on stage it was easy to see which endeavour the Southport audience found more noble and impressive.

The Christians are one of the defining bands of the 1980s and early 1990s and their music remains infectious and driven, the message woven through the songs is powerful and captures the spirit of Liverpool from the days when the city was systematically being destroyed by those all around and to their shame by those in Government. They are part of the second great music explosion that the city and the world witnessed and as they played tracks from those heady days for the band, the reflective but always steady Garry Christian sang the songs with great passion and honour.

Garry was also in jovial mood, catching his breath between the songs after the herculean effort of getting from one city to another town in less time than it takes for Jimmy Anderson to take Australian wickets, he played and teased gently the crowd, with much amusement being felt by both sides of the stage.

With classic songs such as Born Again, Greenbank Drive, Words, the brutal and damning statement to the nation’s mismanagement of the city in Forgotten Town, When The Fingers Point and Hooverville being performed, the audience inside The Atkinson were treated to a fine display of musicianship by Garry, Mike Trigg on keyboards, the phenomenally good Joey Ankrah on lead guitar and vocals, Neil Griffiths on acoustic guitar, Lionel Duke on drums and Clifford Watson on bass.

Whilst the music retains the affection of the crowd, it is also easy to see from whichever you look at it that Garry Christian and his superb vocal ability maintain the same love and warmth from any crowd.

With the news that The Christians will be performing at The Philharmonic Hall later in the year, the Atkinson audience lapped up the more intimate setting that was afforded to them.

A great night of music supplied by one of the towering voices and bands of Liverpool’s music past and present.

Ian D. Hall