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BIG COUNTRY/THE DIRTY STRANGERS/CROWNS @ ISLINGTON 02 ACADEMY 06/01/11 - REVIEW BY CHINNERS

In March 1983 U2 were playing the Hammersmith Palais as part of their legendary 'War' tour, the support band that night were Scottish band Big Country, U2 were coming to the end of their set., during the encore Bono invited Stuart Adamson and The Alarm's Mike Peters to join him on stage to sing Bob Dylan's 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door'. Bono called these two guys "the new breed", this was the first time the two of them had met and immediately a mutual respect was formed. Stuart Adamson sadly died in 2001 and now that Big Country have decide the time is right to return to the live stage, they could think of no other man better suited to front them than Mike Peters. 

Tonight the venue has completely sold out, there is a building atmosphere with massive air of excitement, the first support act are a Cornish band called 'Crowns' who feature Big Country bassist Tony Butler's son Jake, they have a folk 'Pogues' style to their music, performing some great tunes including 'Back Against the Ropes' and the last number 'Little Eyes' which got much of the audience singing along to the catchy chorus. The second support was 'The Dirty Strangers' from London who included a surprise guest in the form of Brian James from the original line up of The Damned. The band performed some spirited blues rock including a number called 'Gold Cortina' and set closer 'New Rose' by The Damned which got a great reaction from the excited audience.

The classic Big Country intro music started and the band walked on stage to one of the best receptions from a London audience I’ve ever heard, Mark Brzezicki (Drums), Tony Butler(Bass), Bruce Watson(Guitar), Jamie Watson(Guitar) and Mike  Peters(Vocals/Guitar) all had huge smiles on then faces and launched into '1000 Stars' from the bands debut album 'The Crossing', the sound of the 'bagpipe' style guitars rang around the whole of the venue with every voice singing as loud as they could right back at the band. Mike Peters didn’t try to copy Stuart's style in any way he just respectfully performed the songs in his own way, nervous that he may get the hallowed lyrics wrong he had a music stand on stage with all the words just in case of a memory lapse.

 

The set was made of classics with much of it leaning towards the 1st album, Mike read out a piece from a book by HG Well called 'Pollock and the Porrohman' a book apparently that Stuart loved, writing a song inspired by it called 'Porrohman', the twin guitars started and I had Goosebumps all over and looked around their were many grown men actually crying such was the heavy emotion of the evening. Mike gave every ounce of energy to the performance and several times he jumped in amongst the crowd while singing, he desperately wanted to do a good job and be respected by the Big Country fans, he did an excellent job that no one could fault. The set ended after nearly 90 minutes with the bands theme tune 'In a Big Country' which saw the crowds go absolutely wild, ending the evening on a massive energy draining high.

Set-List

  • 1000 Stars
  • Harvest Home
  • Driving To Damascus
  • The Teacher
  • Just a Shadow
  • Look Away
  • Porrohman
  • Inwards
  • East of Eden
  • Steeltown
  • The Storm
  • Wonderland
  • Fields of Fire
  • Lost Patrol
  • Chance
  • Restless Natives
  • In A Big Country

www.bigcountry.co.uk

www.myspace.com/dirtystrangersw12

www.crownsband.co.uk

Review/photos/videos by Dave Chinery(Chinners)