It only seems like yesterday, such a short time ago, that the fashion to take the popular songs of the artist and scale them back from the more rock/pop dominated sound, then giving them a different history all together was almost everywhere, it sidled into the conscious and left its mark. The only issue being when something is fashionable it can leave the feeling of too much, everybody trying the same relentless thing. It perhaps came too much, too identical, the uniform of consistency the audience didn’t even know they needed and when they figured it out, it was too late; like ivy creeping up a wall, it was soon everywhere.
Garry Christian at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool. October 201Photograph by Ian D. Hall.
Charm, style, grace on stage and all the attributes of a gentleman; it is perhaps hard to see The Christians in any other light, especially in front of a home town crowd, and with the bonus of celebrating 30 years of history placed before an attentive, passionate, 80’s driven nostalgic audience. However all those years have produced one of the most interesting and self effacing front of stage men and with a voice that feels like silk and hammers home the message with all the power of Thor’s hammer at his disposal; it is no wonder that The Christians remain one of the most respected bands of their time.
There is a night out, the all guns blazing, bring the house down and sweat pouring off the worthy and the thrilled and then there is the night out where the gig becomes almost regal, hosted by the statesman like quality of the front man whose very smile leads you down a path of hope and faith.
Both nights are always well attended but there is something about the latter that really brings home to the attendee the power of music, its ability to make you cry true tears of regret, make your heart bleed and yet grow wings to soar above the petty and the ignorant at the same time. It is a virtue that Liverpool’s The Christians have in abundance.
The last night of the tour is always a reason to celebrate. For the fans it can be a vindication that their band, in some cases their whole reason for being, has proved yet again just how important their music is and that the country shares their love for certain songs. For the band, for the artists, it’s a chance to breathe for a while before the circus starts again, to perhaps sample a semblance of normal life once more with family and friends, and a glass of champagne supplied by the support never goes a miss.
Heaven forbid the day when there is too much great music being produced that you find you cannot keep up with it all. Making time for an album should be savoured, it should want to be played at the right moment, not when fashion dictates. In that moment occasionally a beautiful album may slip through the net, not because you have forgotten but because the time never felt quite right in which to slip into the words of someone so talented a song writer.
It may have been a shorter set than any of their home grown fans may have liked but there could be no doubting the honesty, the respect and love from band to audience and given back a hundred times over. There was obvious mutual sheer enjoyment which accompanied the half dozen songs performed by The Christians as they opened up a terrific night of 80s/90s musical nostalgia at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
The sheer magnetism that runs through The Hummingbirds, whether in their live sets which sets the pulses racing as if being hooked up to the national grid or in the studio recordings which just seem to get better and better, certainly marks them out as being part of the new breed, the surging confidence in music from Merseyside.
Their latest self-titled E.P. release epitomizes this and once more the band has come up with a set of music which has been strung together in timeless fashion and made to resemble a piece of work that gets pawed at, eyes glowing with anticipation as the prospect of each song coming through the speakers is nothing short of tantalising.
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.
Even after a couple of albums it is impossible to ignore the song-writing talent that lives and breathes in the very heart of Susan Hedges. She impossible not to love, a piece of Liverpool that might go unnoticed by the greater population of the country but in the city she calls home, that talented is appreciated and nurtured.
Originally published by L.S. Media. September 11th 2010.
One of the last times The Christians came to Liverpool was to perform at the Liverpool Academy and even though the band went down well that night, there seemed to be something missing from the overall experience that audiences expect from one of Liverpool’s finest and most respected bands.
Anything that was sadly remiss on that balmy summer’s night in 2009 was put right by having the band in a setting which suited their style and laid back harmonic approach such as the Philharmonic.