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Whippet out – Marc Almond, Glasgow ABC

Did you know the Whippet goes everywhere with a bible and a gun? His argument is it’s better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them. Laudable words. He set out in the blizzards to further the 80s kick he’s been on by seeing everyone’s favourite half of Soft Cell.

Two nights in a row I’m out, and on a school night too. Marc Almond is Mrs Whippet’s best-est most-est favourite and I’m press-ganged once more into accompanying her. I have to admit I’m a novice as regards Marc Almond’s career after Soft Cell. I have a vague, distant memory of maybe seeing him at the old Glasgow Nightmoves with Lydia Lunch and Nick Cave in a kinda heroin-drenched soul revue called The Immaculate Consumptives, but it’s a long time ago and my memory ain’t what it used to be.

Anyway, to tonight and another packed ABC on a cold night. After a couple of pints, I meet some sheepish-looking punk-era friends who are at pains to point out that it was their better halves that made them come  too, blah blah blah. Not convinced, guys.

After a long montage of video clips the man himself takes the stage. In another piece of punk-era kismet, his band includes ex-Ruts drummer, Dave Ruffy and Sigue Sigue Sputnik guitarist, Neil X. The band have a very jazzy swing to them punctuated with Neil X’s twang and power chords. It’s not altogether unpleasant and I find myself recognising a few of the songs.

Stand-outs early on include ‘Days Of Pearly Spencer’ and ‘Jackie’. Almond is at pains (no pun intended) to stress that the gig was nearly pulled due to his laryngitis and he has to take a mid-set break to “take some drugs”. I personally suspect he was backstage gargling something to soothe his throat.

He returns to sing a piano-accompanied ‘Gone But Not Forgotten’ which is rather good. The second half sees the band back and the tempo goes up a notch or two. ‘Bedsitter’ has two ladies of comfortable shoe and certain vintage beside me with tears rolling freely down their faces.

The non-electro versions of Soft Cell songs actually work well with a bit of guitar raunch, although the stony-faced keyboard player who seemed to be triggering samples of the synth parts looks like he’d rather be sand-papering his own foreskin.

The set ends with ‘Tainted Love’ (“It follows me everywhere” quips Almond) and triggers a mass outbreak of shuffling if not dancing.The encore is a fabulous version of Gene Pitney’s ‘Somethin’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart’ which sends Mrs Whippet home happy.

Brownie points earned this week………..loads.


2 Responses

  1. excellent review – you are becoming something of a regular writer these days!!

  2. Yeah, I need to get out less…….

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