The Woodentops – 229 The Venue (8 March 2014)

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As a young man, The Woodentops meant a hellalot to me. Signed to Rough Trade, Peel favourites, kinda inevitable. On the eve of their third album in 1988, I was finally to get to see them live. We arrived at the QM on to find that lead singer Rolo McGinty had a throat infection and the gig was cancelled under doctors’ orders. The band kicked about for another handful of years, but never saw fit to return to Glasgow and make up for it.

Over the years, their first two albums were on near constant rotation. (Despite having pretty much the same tracklisting.) (Giant, the first – particularly – still sounds to me like it could’ve been yesterday. And, it could only have been made by this band. Like all great band, you may be able to identify or pick out idividual influences, but never put together in quite this manner. Which is how it should always be.) So, imagine my joy when the inevitable reformation was announced a few years back. Even moreso, when they finally got their arse into gear and came back to the dear green place. I think all of Tuts, had been at that gig 19 years earlier. And, they did not disappoint. TWICE! Yup, as the gig ended they announced they were also shoving in another set at The Box afterwards. It nearly made up for the wait.

Now, a few years further on, and we have an new album Granular Tales. We’re squeezed into a sweaty basement for the official launch gig.  And, it IS an album launch, so we get pretty much all of it played for us (I’m guessing).  To be honest, it’s sounding pretty fine.  McGinty is in fine breathy voice, his trademark acoustic sound battered at like a maniac.  On his right, Simon Mawby, one of the great lost guitarists of the eighties.  His sparse rockabilly riffing has expanded on the newer tracks. He’s having a rare-tear being a full-blown rock god.

The crowd are still screaming for more after two encores.  They missed enough to be able to do us another hour.  But, it was still boss.  One doesn’t like to be greedy.

And, this time, I remembered to get the new album.  Two copies in fact. I’d have bought more if I had the means to play them.


Written by Tony Kiernan

09 March 2014 at 7:34 pm

Posted in Gigs, London, Music

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