Love Music Live Warrington presents – Ian McNabb (the Icicle Works) at Warrington Irish Club Friday 13th October 2023






It’s Friday the 13th, but no freaky Friday vibes here tonight, that’s safe to say. The long awaited Ian McNabb (the Icicle Works) performs a solo acoustic set at Warrington Irish Club: 2 hour long sets from Ian plus support; now that’s content for you!

There is a buzz tonight; people have come in their droves, wearing T shirts and carrying vinyl albums! An all seated event which sold out fast; this is such a wonderful opportunity to see Ian perform – laid back, just him and his guitars and keyboard – in this intimate venue. These Love Music Live Warrington events make it possible for us to witness iconic musicians up close and in the purest form, showcasing the abundance of talent they possess with the added bonus of (often local) support acts, tonight’s being a special one from Old Rookie as it’s their first performance in 20 years.


Support – Old Rookie

Sean O’Brien – vocals

Danny Maxwell – vocals

Stuart Smith – piano/backing vocals


Warrington based Old Rookie open for us tonight and it’s instantly captivating and mesmerising – real melodic piano sounds mixed with a combination of our two front men’s vocals, which complement each other perfectly. Harmonies are incredible: really gentle, verging at times on a folk feeling sound; overall a very uplifting, ‘makes you smile’ kind of a sound. Personally I get Beautiful South feels, sometimes a Mumford and Sons type sound. Songs alternate from slow, gentle and meandering to rousing and far reaching; others are moving and filled with emotion. Both lead vocals are powerful and provide somewhat of a juxtaposition, one being light and free sounding, the other more sad and angsty in tone, both managing easily to reach soaring and high fuller notes. Think Hall and Oates type sounds but with a more earthy and textural quality; some songs even have a vintage, slightly music hall, sing-along kind of a vibe going on which is infectious, and these guys do have us with them as a crowd, swaying along. A brilliant, feel good set with powerful voices and an excellent start to proceedings tonight.


Set List

1/ Alright

2/ Old Ground

3/ Beauty

4/ Spinners

5/ Dirty Shirt

6/ No. 1

7/ Sinatra


Ian McNabb – Headline.

Our headline tonight begins his first set seated before us, playing his 12 string acoustic guitar; a hush falls over our venue and as a crowd we are enthralled, hanging on his every word. The sounds are so atmospheric: strumming guitar, harmonica, and the vocal is slower paced, brimming with descriptive lyrics, black humour and that famous Scouse wit! Complex guitar work – Ian apologises, explaining he s recovering from a recent hand injury so he s sorry if it sounds like “I’m playing with gloves on” – it doesn’t! The musicianship is quite something to behold in fact. He holds our attention fully and completely and between songs there is light banter which is very animated and quite hilarious as he jokes and recounts stories from his past, of his working class Liverpool roots; of encounters with American record label executives and of terraced housing with ‘outside toilets’. Once the keyboard is brought into play, the feels change – very immersive, and the ‘space’ themed material works brilliantly; it’s very conceptual and the sound emphasises this.

As a crowd we are encouraged by Ian to join in and sing along throughout, cleverly including this in the sounds of songs. This adds another layer to this rich tapestry of sound. Given that this is a solo performance, the sounds he creates with guitar or keys, harmonica and that incredible vocal are very special; .it feels progressive; it sounds epic, huge, and this is added to with the haunting depths of the vocal. This is often quite eerie sounding, a deep echoing, rich and smooth tone, but a rasp that kicks in when needed, like velvet with a gritty edge. Along with the obvious 80s alt rock sounds there a sci-fi feel to some songs and a 60s Simon and Garfunkel ‘Sound of Silence’ vibe to others, but then a Johnny Cash, country, Americana feel, especially in the newer material from Ian’s new album ‘Brighton Rock’. Such a diverse and eclectic mixture of sounds, feels and atmospheres is created. When Icicle Works songs are performed we’re back to the ghostly and intense feel and the audience sing along enthusiastically.




The highlight of the night for me was the performance of ‘What about our future in space?’ which was one such number where we were asked to sing back the phrase; this gave real Pink Floyd feels and worked brilliantly!

It’s been pure joy to witness this tonight, my first time seeing Ian McNabb. Genuinely a mesmerising and fully immersive performance, breath taking vocal, clever song writing, very tight musically and real atmosphere created throughout. A gig to be remembered for sure! I urge anyone to get to see this musical genius live!


Set List:

1/ Great Dreams

2/ Mersey Beast

3/ Fire Inside

4/ Deserter

5/ Silver Sing

6/ Out of Season

7/ Comes Down

8/ All the Daughters

9/ Future in Space

10/ Evangeline

11/ Film Noir

12/ Be Prepared to Dream

13 / Understanding Jane

14/ Stone my Soul

15/ Liverpool Girl

16/ Officer of the Watch

17/ Bit of Magic

18/ Hollow Horse

19/ Love is a Wonderful Colour