Many years ago, I saw the Bluetones (at Reading Festival 2000), so I jumped at the chance to see them play an acoustic set at the fabulous Fulford Arms in York. But before we get to them let me tell you about the support acts. First on stage was Pete Lambert, he is a folky storyteller with an exquisite skill for weaving great tales with his lyrics. I really loved “Ghost” and the bluegrass styled “Without The Whiskey” was a fine way to end a delightful but short set. He was followed onto the stage by Lissy Taylor, she is a wonderfully charismatic singer from Manchester. “She’s A Stunner” and “Healer” were outstanding and her cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back To Black” was a great version of a classic tune. Before I get to the Bluetones I need to have a little rant. Why do so many punters at gigs talk loudly and persistently when an act, particularly a support artist, is on stage? Why don’t they just go to the pub?
This acoustic gig featured 50% of the Bluetones, which was Mark Morriss and Adam Devlin. Morriss announced it as a game of two halves with set 1 featuring no hits and a 2nd set after a cigarette break with all the hits. Although that was not strictly true as part 1 included some loud and enthusiastic crowd singalongs to “Down At The Reservoir”, “Bluetonic” and “Cut Some Rug”. The high point of the first half for me was “Carry Me Home”. But the one that seemed to hit the capacity crowd right in the heart was “A Parting Gesture” from the band’s debut album ‘Expecting To Fly’ from 27 years ago. After a brief nicotine break, Mark and Adam took the stage for the 2nd set. The cover of the Flying Burrito Brothers, “Hot Burrito #1” (a favourite song of Morriss for 30 years) was stylish and sublime. “Into The Red”, a song about the last great recession taken from the band’s last studio album ‘A New Athens’ sadly is still so relevant. But maybe that is helped by the fact that it is a great song. Incidentally, that last album was released in 2010, when will we see the next one lads? Thehighlight of the second half for me was “Keep The Home Fires Burning”. The one song that will probably never be left off a Bluetones setlist is “A Slight Return” and for this show, it was an absolute peak for a peach of a song which was probably the most popular tune of the night. The Fulford Arms roof was close to being lifted by 150 souls singing the magnificent refrain “You don’t have to have the solution. You’ve got to understand the problem. And don’t go hoping for a miracle. All this will fade away. So I’m coming home. I’m coming home” I was singing it in the car all the way home too. “A Slight Return” is the Bluetones song that even people who claim not to remember the Bluetones know. An intimate and perfect acoustic show from half of a great band. There a still a few dates left on this acoustic tour, grab yourself a ticket if you can, it will definitely be a worthwhile purchase!
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