Echo & the Bunnymen at First Avenue, 8/9/14

Echo_TheBunnymenTN118.jpg
Photo by Tony Nelson
Echo & the Bunnymen
with John Swardson
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Saturday, August 9, 2014

Saturday night at First Avenue, Echo & the Bunnymen made what could have been a fantastic, flawless pass through town, but bogged it down. There were a couple of strange passages and two Doors cover songs. One of them made a little bit of sense, but the other felt tacked on and outright terrible. The night was a whiplash-inducing rollercoaster to say the least. It was filled with highs, but the lows were almost low enough to cause pressure sickness.

See also:
Slideshow: Echo & the Bunnymen at First Ave

Echo_TheBunnymenTN047.jpg
Photo by Tony Nelson
The night began in grand fashion with "Meteorites," from their new album of the same name, and "Rescue" from their 1980 debut, Crocodiles. The pairing of the two songs highlighted that lead singer Ian McCullough and company have not wavered much from their brand of goth-soaked, punk-dusted new wave. They've put together some fantastic rock songs over 35-odd years.

Things quickly got a bit dicey, however, with "Do It Clean," as they mixed a snippet of James Brown's "Sex Machine" into the chorus, which had been thoroughly Bunny-ized and was overall just a little odd. After a resurgent "Never Stop" from 1983's Porcupine, the show ground nearly to a halt when they covered the Doors' "People Are Strange," recorded for the Lost Boys soundtrack in 1987. Theirs is a bad version of a song that's pretty bad to begin with and it made for a tedious few minutes right as the show should have been clicking into autopilot.

The band finally revved things up with "Seven Seas," "Bedbugs and Ballyhoo" (a highlight of the set), and a fiery version of "Holy Moses." With the show nearly half over, it seemed, just for a moment, that the band would keep digging up 35 years of gems, one by one. The 2014 version of Echo & the Bunnymen seem unable to get out of their own way, however, and they dropped the show down a couple of notches with an outright sloppy version of "All My Colours." They recovered a bit with "Over the Wall" and the newly minted (and fairly great) "Constantinople."

The concussion-inducing antics continued as "All That Jazz" and "Bring On the Dancing Horses" clocked in as passable. Again, they elected to wander in to mash-up/medley territory by combining the b-side "Villiers Terrace" with the worst Doors song ever recorded, "Roadhouse Blues." The latter's utter awfulness overshadowed the former's tentacled atmospherics. The show, which eventually clocked in at about 85 minutes, was starting to get a bit long in the tooth, but the band wrapped it up neatly and powerfully with "The Killing Moon." The song is as haunting today as it was in 1984. Then, "The Cutter," which is far and away their best song and was easily the best of the bunch Saturday.


Location Info

Map

First Avenue

701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Music


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3 comments
Steven Shockley
Steven Shockley

Wow. Was this review written by a high school student? Seriously?

Jeff Potter
Jeff Potter

Review=Dislike. Echo have been adding Sex Machine and the Doors clips to those songs for awhile with great effect. The only thing missing from the set was Ocean Rain- other then that it was a brilliant show and Ian's voice was top notch.

zinovy09
zinovy09

I thought the show was stellar.  Predictable Doors' bashing.  Also, "Villiers Terrace" is not a B-Side, it's a standout track from 'Crocodiles.'  Also, the Bunnymen have been tacking on "Roadhouse Blues" to the end of that song for years. Apparently, the Doors songs ruined this night for the reviewer. If the Doors are so terrible, why are the Bunnymen, Nick Cave, Iggy & the Stooges such fans?  

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