October 12, 2017
With a newly released multi-disc compilation assembling the more pertinent cuts from the ever-expanding Luke Haines solo songbook, this evening is neither an attempt to promote it, nor will it be as straightforward as playing the songs people know and/or want to hear. To do either would change course on a career that has shown no interest in making anyone happy, fan, critic and record company alike.
Sitting down with his acoustic guitar he looks like a man who went to the shops to buy a loaf of bread and ended up in Camden to sing a bunch of songs that in its own way, chart a potted history from the early days of The Auteurs through Baader Meinhoff and a couple of songs you’d only ever have heard if you were a patron to his Outsider Music series.
A mid-set break appears in the form of a chapter from his Britpop book, Bad Vibes, that 8 years after publication still finds Haines overcome with laughter while reading a passage about a 20 year old encounter with Chris Evans. You think perhaps in the intervening years he might’ve come up with something new, reflections on a twitter beef, or even plans for a new cookbook, not an old anecdote about a non-relevant radio personality.
Returning to the guitar, Haines takes us back to the beginning with “Showgirl”, making a sly comment about sounding like Kris Kristoffersen, while looking more like one of the Allman Brothers in his Panama hat, army jacket and chains. When the harmonica holder with a kazoo is placed around his neck for “The Incredible String Band” the picture is complete, and you begin to wonder if Neil Young had grown up in England listening to The G0-Betweens, would he have charted the same potted lunacy? “Are you mad?”. Haines enquires on the last song. He would know.
Setlist: England, Scotland and Wales / The Working Classes / Smash The System / Bomber Jacket / Saturday Afternoon / Enoch Powell /Lou Reed, Lou Reed / Unsolved Child Murder / Suburban Morning / New Song / Me And The Birds / Showgirl / Underground Movies / Child Brides / Baader Meinhoff / Home Again // Incredible String Band / Lenny Valentino /Are You Mad?