WORDS AND IMAGES BY DESH KAPUR
‘Because Brilliant Songwriting Never Goes Out Of Fashion’
I was back at Castlefield Bowl Thursday night for another evening of music, brought to us by Sounds Of The City, and this time it was Kiwis and adopted Australian legends Crowded House and I couldn’t be more excited. For the 20 years I lived in Australia, Crowded House were always on the radio; they are iconic and revered there – I am a huge fan.
They promised rain tonight, but in true British weather forecast fashion it was a gloriously sunny evening, Castlefield Bowl was pretty much full, people eating, drinking, laughing and there was a buzz in the air. The audience was a little bit older than the previous night for Foals as you would imagine, but I was sure they were going to be just as loud.
The first act on the big Sounds Of The City stage tonight was Liam Finn, son of Crowded House frontman Neil Finn.
Don’t be fooled, this is not nepotism! Liam has a solid music career himself, from his early days with the very excellent Betchadupa, (who I spent two weeks on tour with in 2004 in Australia with one of my bands, The Avenues). Then he went on a solo career which has seen him play and support the likes of Wilco, Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam and The Black Keys.
So, taking the stage resplendent in a salmon pink double denim ensemble, he launched into an acoustic set of songs from across his musical back catalogue, showing his true musical talent playing the guitar and letting his great voice shine through whilst also using a loop pedal and smashing the S$%T out of a drum kit along the way. He even had time to throw in a cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” for good measure, with his brother Elroy on drums. Now I am sure that the vast majority of the crowd is unfamiliar with most of the songs Liam played tonight, but they cheered and danced anyway and you could see that he felt the love coming back at him… Well played Castlefield Bowl, well played!
Then it was time for Crowded House, which now consist of Neil Finn, Nick Seymore, Liam Finn, Mitchel Froom and Elroy Finn and as they walked onto the stage, they looked happy, excited, and up for a great night; Neil Finn in a white flannel suit headed for the centre of the stage and the mic.
A quick, “Hello Manchester” and they went straight into “Distant Sun”, followed by “Nails In My Feet” and “To The Island” the latter is a track off their brand new album “ Dreamers Are Waiting” and it fits in perfectly. The band is so tight and Neil’s voice sounds as good, as ever, and those harmonies were just so brilliant. Liam’s Finn’s voice slotted beautifully into place alongside his father’s, singing harmonies originally sung by his uncle Tim Finn, and this is one of the reasons why down under they are referred to as the Aussie Beatles.
“Goodnight Everyone” was up next before the Castlefield Bowl erupted with the first gentle guitar strumming of “Fall At Your Feet” resonating around the amphitheatre and the first mass sing a long of the night ensues.
Crowded House songs are full of the most beautiful melodies and as the songs keep coming one after another and the sun starts to set over Manchester and Castlefield Bowl it couldn’t have been more perfect. The band emanated such warmth and love for their fans, it was like we are all members of the band which turned a good night out into something very special indeed.
As to be expected songs like “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, “Four Seasons In One Day”, “Something So Strong” “Fall At Your Feet’, brought the house down and had the whole venue singing along, which does make the hairs on your neck stand up.
But if it wasn’t enough to be hearing these amazing songs, in this amazing setting, the band brought on a special friend – none other than Manchester legend and friend of the band, Johnny Marr, to play a couple of tracks. Crowded House playing “Weather With You” with the ex-Smith’s songwriter was a truly golden moment and the response from the crowd was deafening.
So as the night came to an end with a cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” and the brilliant “Better Be Home Soon” I knew I had experienced a very special night indeed, and before I finish this review, I need to say that Crowded House are no tired nostalgia act. They have a wonderful back catalogue and a great new album, and they are as current and vibrant as they have ever been. Because brilliant songwriting never goes out of fashion.
1/ DISTANT SUN
2/ NAILS IN MY FEET
3/ TO THE ISLAND
4/ GOODNIGHT EVERYONE
5/ FALL AT YOUR FEET
6/ PINEAPPLE HEAD
7/ SOME GREATER PLAN
8/ SHOW ME THE WAY
9/ DON’T DREAM IT’S OVER
10/ PLAYING WITH FIRE
11/ BLACK AND WHITE BOY
12/ WHEN YOU COME
13/ PRIVATE UNIVERSE
14/ FOUR SEASONS IN ONE DAY
15/ SISTER MADLY
16/ WORLD WHERE YOU LIVE
17/ WHATEVER YOU WANT (with Johnny Marr)
18/ WEATHER WITH YOU (with Johnny Marr)
19/ SOMETHING SO STRONG
20/ MESSAGE TO MY GIRL
21/ CHOCOLATE CAKE
22/ HEROES (David Bowie cover)
23/ BETTER BE HOME SOON
FOLLOW CROWDED HOUSE
FOLLOW LIAM FINN
My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.