Bull & Gate,
London 5/7/03


I, LUDICROUS > Gigography > Bull & Gate 5 Jul 2003
    Set list:

    My Baby's Got Jetlag
    Never Been Hit (By Mark E Smith)
    We're the Support Band
    Richard Madeley
    Preposterous Tales
    Things That Happen
    Approaching 40
    When I Worked at Textline
    Trevor Barker
    Glad All Over
    Where Were You?
    Bar-room Bore

"I blame Thatcher", proclaimed the eponymous Bar-Room Bore in the closing number from I, Ludicrous on a mild Saturday night, down at the old Bull & Gate. Odd to think that The Blue Widow was still ruling the roost in Maggie's Den when the lads put out their first two long-players in the late 1980s. Bizarrely, albums three and four coincided with Major coming to power and the collapse of the ERM respectively.

So, with the launch of a new CD by the band - the first in eleven years, the first this millennium, the first under a Labour-ish government, etc - can we expect upheaval at Number 10, or is it simply heightened sunspot activity? Perhaps there's a clue when during an acerbic rendition of Trevor Barker, announced as album 1, side 1, track 1, the lyrics mutate with a hint of menace into "My name is Tony Blair". Little bit of politics, anyone?

It's satisfying to hear a goodly mix of both old and new material, ranging from the one-hit wonder flexi debut of Preposterous Tales, a mysterious no-show on that year's Now That's What I Call Music 9, through Jet Lag, the night's energetic opener, to the near-wistful Approaching 40, "written ten years ago". And no Ludicrous gig is complete without the inevitable nod to the guy who once interviewed them for the NME, hence the new track Never Been Hit By Mark E Smith.

Will, John and the slickly operated drum machine seem mightily up for it on the night: if they were in the play-offs, they'd walk it in Cardiff. I came away with a smile on my face and a shrink-wrapped disc to play at home. Doesn't seem to be available on Amazon as yet, though there is a single by a band called Ludicrous Idiots. Stupid name.


Review © Ed Broom. Photos © Jeff Higgott.

An alternative review from in love with these times in spite of these times web site:

.....oh, and the live set was one of their better ones. "Preposterous Tales" and a dizzyingly heavy "Trevor Barker" updated with an extra verse that nailed not only bush and Iraq but a v. topical reference to current business ("the workforce call me a bastard / because I close their pension schemes down") finishing with the dcf's "Glad All Over" (hint: it was brought back to the charts in 1990 by Crystal Palace F.C. 1990 cup final squad), the Mekons' "Where Were You ?" [reply has to be "the Bull and Gate, again] and the album closer "Bar Room Bore", which ends fittingly as the music just stops, with will in his guise as the bar room bore continuing to yap on until the house lights come down. they joke - of course - about the future ("our next album should be out in about 2015. it's called The I, Ludicrous Pension Plan") and it is odd, you know, that, unlike their main rivals as social commentators over the last two decades, Half Man Half Biscuit, I, Ludicrous cannot pack a thousand into the Astoria (although they did play there as support to the fall in the 1980s!), but have to settle for a sporadic residency at this rather more austere venue (although on the other hand, they attract a rather larger crowd than some of the excellent bands that we also rave about on these pages... The Windmills, who are one of the finest guitar groups of their generation, still seem to be playing to audiences in london two human, one canine). still, I, Ludicrous are coming south of the river for their next date, so we'll see you (and them) in Brixton this autumn.

Review © in love with these times in spite of these times

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