Until I met my husband Moth I had no idea I was such a fan of rock. Moth also pointed out my underlying folkiness. I strenuously denied it, of course! But there is no denying our shared admiration for The Waterboys, who are sometimes described as ‘folk rock’ or ‘celtic rock’.
|Last night we went to see them at the Stables in Milton Keynes; my first time, but Moth had seen them before. The Waterboys are essentially creative force Mike Scott (pictured) and various other musicians who happen to be with him at the time. Scotsman Mike is heavily influenced by traditional Irish music and writes songs with a thread of pagan spirituality running through them.
His lyrics are about politics, society, literature, history and, of course, love. His easy poetic style and phrasing is very Dylanesque. Some of his lyrics are just marvellous, check out these from ‘The whole of the moon’ a hit in 1985:
“Unicorns and cannonballs
Palaces and piers
Trumpets, towers, and tenements
Wide oceans full of tears
Flag, rags, ferry boats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars”
And from the the song ‘A Bang On The Ear’, a gem of lyrical simplicity:
“It started up in Fife
It ended up in tears”
Anyway. I’m beginning to digress!
The set started with an acoustic version ‘The whole of the moon’, which was quite interesting, and follwed it with other acousticky stuff, but frankly I like The Waterboys best when they ‘rock!’ and present you with that thick carpet of sound you can just get into. So it took me a while to get into it. Thankfully as more songs were sung, more musicians came out until all five were on stage and they finally let rip with ‘Fisherman’s blues’. Gah! I love that song. The rest of the set was good and loud and rocky. A particular high point was ‘Medicine bow’ from the wonderful album ‘This is the sea’.
Our friends’ band Cooper Black cover lot of Waterboys songs and it was actually weird to hear the original band doing it! It also showed me how good Cooper Black are at covering them.
The Stables is a great venue. What it lacks in character and warmth, it makes up for in crystal clear sound quality. You know at some gigs the sound is muddy, muzzy or fuzzy/ well at The Stables you can hear every single note and it’s fantastic! Apparently the venue is known for it. Hence The Waterboys sounded wonderful – Mike’s voice strong and full of emotional and passion, and the talents of his wonderful musicians shown off to their best.