Hue & Cry and The Christians – Live Review – Warehouse 23, Wakefield
By @Steve Crabtree, May 2018
I’ve really grown to like Warehouse 23 in Wakefield as a live music venue. So, I’m pleased to be here for a third time to see two of my favourite groups from the later half of the 80s.
A double header from Hue and Cry and The Christians awaits this Friday evening, and there’s a very healthy number of people coming through the doors of nostalgia to relive a bit of their youth.
“Unmistakeable, perfect Glaswegian vocals”
It’s Hue and Cry who are first up, and as ever they’re impeccably dressed. They’re in a great mood and as they ask us who’s here to see The Christians: A cheer goes up. Then they ask who’s here to see them, and a louder cheer goes up. They seem genuinely, pleasantly surprised – but looking round the room I think everyone’s here for both line ups.
It’s a stripped down set from the guys from Scotland tonight. And as they open up with ‘Ordinary Angel’ those unmistakable, pitch perfect Glaswegian vocals from Pat Kane grab everyone. A voice as good as it is on the records – no wonder they don’t need a full band behind them. Both Pat and his brother Greg’s chatter with a grateful crowd means everyone’s on good form.
We’re in for some new stuff too. ‘Pocketful Of Stones’ from the new album of the same name is a true ear-pleaser, and after 30 years they’re still great songwriters. And they’re a powerful stage duo too.
What I really like is that the “best” isn’t saved until last. We were all there itching to hear ‘Labour of Love’ and ‘Looking For Linda’, and you can normally expect them to come in the encore. But the latter came very early doors and the former hitting us mid-set, along with ‘I Refuse’.
They get a great ovation from us at the end, truly well deserved.
After a quick break, The Christians enter the fray, and the chirpy Gary Christian, with trademark shades and beaming grin leads his men in to ‘Forgotten Town.’
A full band, with LED wall and great lighting really brought the mood together. And I’m pleased we’re down the front, because it’s become very busy down here!
“Effortless, soulful tone”
They’re giving us their back catalogue tonight. And not only can they still play, but Gary Christian can sing with an effortless, soulful tone. I say this every time I see an 80s act, but before conveyor belt pop, auto-tune and getting a record deal because of how you look; you had to sound great and write special things. Which is why 80’s artists and their tunes always sound as fresh today as they did 30 years ago. And ‘Hooverville’, ‘Ideal World’ are no exception. The Christians are still a fantastic band.
Christian is very chatty all night and being a Scouser he makes the mistake of asking us Yorkshire folk if we’d be cheering on Liverpool in the Champions League final the following evening. The boos slightly outweighed any noise that signalled a “yes” from the crowd! And at one point a fan asked for his hat, and as he went to throw it to her, he flung it behind him to the drums. It tickled the audience, but the lady in question was genuinely heartbroken!
The band give us a brilliant rendition of ‘Greenbank Drive’ (they’d spotted Greenbank Drive in Wakey on the way in) which led in to ‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone’ and left us with ‘Harvest For The World.’
Evenings like this can go too quickly, and this one was certainly over in a flash. Two fantastic bands, one fantastic night. We’ve been treated to timeless music, and as far as Friday nights in Wakefield go, this is right up there at the top.