Rain Dogs Revisited: Review Of Barbican 13 July 2011
July 14, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Rain Dogs is an album that has been with me consistently for the last 18 years. I have bought it about six times in three different formats. I once interviewed Marc Ribot and got him to sign one of my vinyl copies (as well as Real Gone which had just come out at the time.) So I am maybe not the best person to go see this performed as I would be overly critical. I saw a Tom Waits tribute act about 14 years ago in Dublin and it was one of the worst gigs I can remember. I was approaching the Revisited gig with some intrigue but more caution.
Camille O’Sullivan opened the gig singing Make It Rain. She did a good job of trying to break the audience in. A tough crowd, as many London crowds are. Singapore was a good enough attempt too but she was really handicapped by a strapless dress that needed constant pulling up. She did redeem herself in the highest order though by singing one of the highlights for me which was a slowed down version of Hang Down Your Head. Really, really beautiful.
The Tiger Lillies came on and butchered the title track. Really, really poor arrangement. I didn’t get their gig at all. Shame though as they showed such great promise with their clown outfits. For me it would have been better if they had’ve kept walking when they got on the stage. Awful.
Erika Stucky entered the auditorium playing the spade. Yes. She crossed through and started shouting out through the back doors. Again I would have liked her to have left at that stage but then come back again. She then played the spade on stage like a bodhran over her shoulder. Was great. Her swedish ramblings went down a treat. She played 9th and Hennepin as well as a great chaotic version of Jockey Full Of Bourbon. She was definitely the star performer of the evening.
When I was going to this gig I was thinking to myself that if the songs are played just as they sound on the album they would have failed and unfortunately Stef Kamil Carlens did exactly that with Gun Street Girl. That was a low point for me as this was a missed opportunity with a banjo. Cemetery Polka was just played like the album too and his little silly dance did nothing for me. By the time he sang Blind Love I wanted him to be over. No imagination.
St. Vincent came on and at least she had learnt the lyrics. (Why couldn’t these people learn the lyrics? They only played 3 songs each!) I would have liked her version of Downtown Train to have been more like Waiting For The Man. But it’s not my gig. I did dig her guitar playing and thought she had a really great presence. Also her clothes fitted her well. Liked her version of Big Black Mariah. There was a cool bass solo and possibly the best drum solo I had ever heard by the mightly Seb Rochford – this was because of his non playing. His gaps were so great that many of the audience thought that the song had finished. Then when he did play his timing was impeccable and slow and deliberate. As I say one of the best drums solos I have heard in any gig. Ever.
St Vincent Score: 8/10
Seb Rochford Score: 11/10
Rain Birds was a lovely piano-double bass duet (not on the Rain Dogs album) performed by Steve Nieve and Tom Herbert. Yes it was just like the original with the odd flourish here and there but it was great to hear this live.
Arthur H. then came on a butchered Clap Hands. I actually left towards the end of the song to go to the loo as it was just too awful for my little ears. When I came out he was still awfulling his way through it. When he sang Time I was quite upset. Here was one of the best songs being played towards the end so maybe even a climax and this guy a. Hadn’t learnt the lyrics and b. Hadn’t the grasp of the melody of the chorus! Really piss poor.
The Tiger Lilies came back on and so I left.
I just searched Twitter to see if I was the only one to think that this was a hit or miss gig but it seems I am in the majority. For me the girl performers won 3-0 easy with the band all doing a mighty job. As I said this was the second Tom Waits tribute I have ever seen. I think I might just bother with the next one.
Overall score: 4/10.