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Shepherds Bush Empire, London 11 February 2012
by Noel Buckley
time I saw Gun was back in the Wheatsheaf in Stoke in the late
80's just as they were starting out. They called in a day in the late
90's only to resurface again in 2008 with Toby Jepson (Little Angels) on
left over a year ago and up stepped original bass player Dante Gizzi to
the mic stand and he seems to revel in the frontman role, bar the odd
bit of Bryan Ferry/dad dancing and a bizarre series of press-ups towards
the end of their set.
It is a
hit friendly set with 'Better Days', the Cameo cover 'Word Up' (the
biggest audience reception of the night) and closing with 'Steal Your
of new songs with 'Last Train' sounding particularly strong after just
one listen. Based on this show and the brief peak of new songs Gun look
set for another shot in the limelight.
Country are like a band reborn and this gig tonight marked a
transition for the band as they played all of their classic debut album
'The Crossing', plus with a new song 'Another Country', showing they are
ready to move onto the next chapter of the band.
fans' setlist as the show started with some lesser played songs like
'Balcony' (which features on the recent double CD re-issue of 'The
Crossing' album) plus the new song 'Another Country', which has the
classic stirring Big Country vibe and a touch of the Mike Peters
influence with its big, anthem chorus.
band start playing the album proper the audience goes wild, a veritable
middle aged mosh pit for 'In A Big Country' and 'Fields Of Fire'.
moving 'Chance' again Mike Peters starts at the back of the audience to
make his way slowly to the stage again. Peters along with Bruce Watsons'
son, Jamie have added a spark into the band and it all bodes well for
new songs from the band.
time saw the band do a semi-acoustic version of the classic 'Tracks Of
My Tears', one of Stuart Adamson's favourite songs.
Away' and 'Wonderland' rounded off their set with the band visibly moved
by the crowd's reaction to the gig. Excellent sound as well, maybe
helped by the fact the show was being recorded for a future DVD release.
sense of a band moving on tonight, as they successfully paid tribute to
the man who helped get them where they are today in Stuart Adamson and
with a new song showed they still have good music in them. A cracking
double bill and I for one can't wait to hear what musical routes Big
Country will take in the future.
Nathan adds: Gun's set was a reminder that they wrote some cracking
songs in the 1990's and the new line up appear to have kept that knack.
The sound also has more depth with two guitarists rather than one. It
was frustrating that they had to be condensed into a 30 minute set and I
look forward to some more live action in 2012.
I really enjoyed both Big Country shows I went to last year, but, helped
by the excellent sound Jason mentions, the new line up has taken a huge
step forward this time. Mike Peters seems more natural singing the
songs, and has brought his heart on the sleeve passion to the group, but
also a real sense of humility to the impossible job of filling the late
Stuart Adamson's shoes.
I was also particularly impressed by the way Bruce Watson, who used to
be in Stuart's shadows somewhat when I saw the original line-up in the
1990's, has stepped forward and I thought his lead guitar solos were
brilliant throughout while Mark Brezicki's drum kit was absolutely huge
and really added to the power of the sound.
As Jason says this was not just a reminder of Big Country's legacy but a
declaration that exciting new times might lie ahead.
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