Live Reviews Music

Live Review: Echo and the Bunnymen at St David’s Hall, 15/10/18

Echo and The Bunnymen, Bridgewater Hall, 28/05/18

By Izzy Wright

I didn’t know what to expect of Echo and The Bunnymen when I signed up to see them. Although widely known as a post-punk 80s band, they’ve been churning out music pretty consistently since their first album in 1980. Their new album The Stars, The Ocean and The Moon is mostly a revamping of their old songs, but also includes two new recordings.

The people outside the concert were an eclectic mix: middle-aged men wearing t-shirts emblazoned with post-punk album covers under formal looking blazers, young fans, and people who looked like they never left 1985. One Tommy Wiseau lookalike in a galaxy print suit was so enthusiastic that he engaged in a full on tactical war with the security guards, running to the front of the stage and being dragged back, again and again, until he was supervised by a kneeling security guard and begrudgingly allowed to dance in the aisle.

Ian McCulloch looked much the same as he did in 1980; he wore the same dark glasses, the same leather jacket, only his hair had marginally changed. The band included a mixture of old and new members, but this didn’t detract from their energy. McCulloch embodied the general moody, dark vibe of the band, barely moving during his performance, but delivering perfectly the drawling vocals which rocketed the band to fame.

The band played a medley of old and new songs, never wavering in their quality. Unlike their tour in May, this concert ditched the string quartet and grand piano, opting for a stripped back, guitar rock vibe. Rather than detracting from the quality of the music, this allowed the audience to appreciate the newly mastered versions of the songs, which was McCulloch’s intention when recording his new album.

The concert finished on a moment of unification: the band trooped offstage and returned to tell the audience that they had negotiated with the security guards, and that everyone who wanted to dance at the front was welcome to. I’m pretty sure the Tommy Wiseau lookalike had been kicked out by this point, but nonetheless it was heart-warming to see everyone come together to sway to the gloomy chords of “The Killing Moon”.