Last night was a new beginning; a rebirth. The third coming of Mick Head.
There was something in the air last night which I couldn’t put my finger on. There was a great atmosphere in the pub beforehand, with conversations veering off at tangents…..Sinatra, The Bee Gees, Enzo Francescoli, Jack Palance, Morricone, Charles “Alex” Stepney…..time just flying before your very eyes.
I soon realised that the thing in the air was magic…simple as that. Listening to David Axelrod, Destroyer and Astrud Gilberto in The Leaf I sensed positivity everywhere…..then “Beginnings” is cruelly cut short as the Mick Head Trio enter the stage. Andy has had is haircut and suddenly looks like a Paley all over again…another good omen. The Red Elastic Band, a concept, an idea, a fluid project that has no boundaries. It all sounded so great a few years ago….a framework for Mick to experiment. Last night saw that vision, that idea, finally begin to breathe and come to life. Cadiz, Winter Turns To Spring, Feel No Way, Al’s Vacation, Queen Of All Saints, Lavender Way…..trumpet flitting in and out, embelishing songs that are already classics and turning them into masterpieces…Vicky’s cello just taking an understated backseat and complimenting the songs perfectly….that magic is in the air. Mick even has the confidence to do a mini solo set, three songs of pure bliss……a little bit of an experiment, he says…. “The Crystal Ship is being filled, a thousand girls, a thousand thrills, a million ways to spend your time….” Then Andy is back and we are treated to a bit of a “Paleys vibe”….its like Norfolk Broads re-incarnate, a slight Jimmy Webb thing going on “you know the neon lights are bright on Broadway”. Then there is another newie which is pure Forever Changes, Andys trumpet sounding like Between Clark Hilldale, then, lo and behold……..”and here, they always play my songs”, the real thing. It could be 1982.
People drift away, smiling faces everywhere. The word “genius” seems to be bouncing off every shopfront window in Bold Street………..The Red Elastic Band have belatedly arrived……and that’s simply the best Christmas present ever.
Mick strikes the chords to Cadiz and the magic happens and continues to happen, wave after wave. Instinctivly he seems to just about find the chords in time as his hand flits about the fret board. The songs in this form, with the trumpet and cello, make the songs kinda hover and it sounds great next to the stage, full impact. Andy working all kinds of magic with his talent and box of tricks. Now and again these two arl troupers look at each other in silent approval, these are the moments for them and us. The set is a fine mixture of old and new -gems all. Caught up in the moment, the crowd were all on the same ride, they wanted it to be this way, it was as much about Mick holding it together as the songs he brought forth. Finn`s enthusiasm for what was happening on the stage was enough for all of us. Mick: “That`s the missus over there, she`s had put up with me for 20 years” Finn: “We all have, Mick!” -great. The songs will be disected at a later date hopefully when they see the light of day. The one`s we have already we know, love and treasure. Glad everyone had such a good time. Welcome back again Mick, nice one Alice.
A magical night and great to see Mick conquer his fears and demons and demonstrate why we all think the same…genius.
We met a fantastic couple inside who chatted away through the evening and even offered us both accomodation next time we were in the Liverpool area. Can’t say you would get this offer from anywhere else.
After hanging around hoping to get the chance to speak to the brothers Head, but alas not having the opportunity, we left Bold Street late on heading back to the motor. When lo and behold from a side street out stepped Mick wearing a duffle coat with his guitar slung over his shoulder and accompanied by his daughter making their way home via bus or train. Not wanting to intrude his space we warmly congratulated him on the evening and said if he doesn’t fancy a chat we’ll leave him be. As it was he welcomed us to chat as we strolled through the rainy night. Sadly our ways parted soon after but it was a fantastic way to end the evening. And it’s moments like these that you take away with you and remember fondly knowing full well you will be recanting these stories in years to come.
An amazing night. I’m privileged to have played cello with two legends tonight. I’ll never forget it.
– Vicky Mutch
Chris Tarrant – Extreme Railways was brilliant last night – riveting tv.
Shack fans are definitely the best dressed in the North West music scene. Sensible cords all over the show last night. Every Shack gig I’ve been to could be subtitled ‘200 lads surreptitiously checking each others clobber’
– Daniel / Neil
As the years go by so many other bands/artists grab your attention, so many shows, so many records and then you hear something by Mick and it just brings it all back, those memories, that music, those people, because Shack is more than just music, its a feeling, a sharing, a love…