Hazel O’ Connor, Gig Review. Epstein Theatre, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Time, as noted by the singer and the audience, is a peculiar animal, it can snarl all it wants, it can find ways to give new perspective to eras in which some saw the end of a kind of order and were frightened by the prospect and in which other relished and rubbed their hands in glee as the future and bold vision opened up before them.

Such was the impact of Hazel O’ Connor on the musical mind of the bitterly divided nation looking at the 1980s with a sense of terror, that like the erstwhile and equally talented fellow Midlander Toyah Wilcox, the image of Ms. O’ Connor was striking, a boldness that was to be celebrated and which paved the way in how Punk Rock music was to be defined over the coming years.

It was an impact that still resonates today. Nearly 40 years since the Coventry born vocalist stormed through with her debut album Breaking Glass, Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre was host to a sound that was brimming with possibility, of the rage at an establishment that was a ticking time bomb, and the optimism of a world not founded in the television squeaky clean but in the harsh reality of a truth that would not lay down and take the bleak offering handed out.

In the eyes of the Epstein Theatre crowd there was reminisce made real, an icon and survivor of their mutual past, who had shared the stage with many and to whom the urge of rebellion and passionate display was still there, fighting their corner and giving the evening a distinctive edge to the build up to the festive season.

It was the songs from that Breaking Glass album that featured heavily in the set. Tracks such as Writing on the Wall, the still disturbingly relevant Monsters in Disguise, Come Into The Air, Big Brother, Blackman, If Only and Eighth Day all thrilling the audience and with band member Claire Hirst giving a sense of beguiled purity in her saxophone solos, especially on the song Will You, the evening was one in which Ms. O’ Connor once more stamped the collective foot in rage but with the gentleness of Time very much sewn into her fabric as an artist.

A great night of music at the Epstein Theatre, once more the notes all coming together to rock the foundations of the venue!

Ian D. Hall