I didn't manage to see them first time around so this was going to be a real treat for me. I'd interviewed John Perry for Mudkiss a few weeks previous so was all geared up for the live action. The venue was pretty packed in the Academy 3, a nice small intimate venue. A little later than advertised, Peter emerged onto the small stage looking frail and slightly bent over, couldn't believe how tiny he appeared. John looking quite robust , decked in his trademark black outfit and hat with cowboy boots. We positioned ourselves for peak viewing at the front and prepared to be transported into the 70’s once more.
Although I was keen to hear their new stuff I wanted to hear some of their classics and they didn’t disappoint. They kicked off with the timeless ‘Immortal Story’; Peter’s unique vocals were surprisingly strong. He was cheerful and shared a few words with us, quietly spoken however, and I couldn’t quite hear what he said. The rest of the band seemed confident and glad to be back on stage once more. John spoke a few times into the crowd and a few individuals shouted out several times, “when’s your new album out” and one guy was insistent on shaking Peter’s hand when he was playing. This was a strong tune to start the ball rolling. With the track listing in front of me I had a preview to what was to follow. ‘The Whole Of The Law’ was a wondrous, dreamy concoction of delight. John’s beautiful heartfelt guitar playing mixed with Peter’s romantic, yet dark vocals was mind blowing.
Unfortunately for me halfway through the gig I had a couple at the side of me almost copulating, which was kind of off putting. Doncha hate it when that happens! The woman in question decided to swipe a few slugs of John’s water, which he didn’t drink in the end.
It was around this point in the evening that Peter told the audience they needed a break so were going to do some acoustic numbers. They did a version of ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’, I wasn’t that struck on it played this way. They did 5 acoustic numbers in total. Peter seemed to struggle with his breathe a few times and I caught him holding his chest as he came off stage, only to emerge again a few minutes later after a short break. I wanted to jump on the stage and give him a big mothering hug
New songs to me were Black Operations, Trouble, Transfixed, Magic Tablet and Wife. They may not be the full titles of the songs. They had a few technical problems when the drummer Mike Kellie broke a drum snare and it had to be replaced but the band played on! Glad to see they did some old favourites ‘Special View’, ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’ the best version, and finally ‘Beast’ where they gave it their all, including John Perry thrashing his guitar around, feedbacks galore, he almost did a Pete Townsend and threw his guitar towards the end, almost knocking himself in the face. Thanks for a great nostalgic trip and we look forward to your new album.
Review & Photo's: Mel
Back in the day - The Only Ones 1978
STOP PRESS - DVD REVIEW! from Den
Only Ones: Faster than lightning (55 mins £12) details from www.theonlyones.biz/onlyonesmerch.htm
Only just got this, but its great! This first came out as a video in 1991, now available as DVD. Fifteen tracks from the late 70's/early 80's prove what a great live act the Only Ones were.
All the main songs are here, from the first single ‘Lovers Of Today’, ‘Another Girl’ (2 versions) and great versions of personal favourites like ‘Immortal Story’, ‘The Beast’ and ‘Out There In The Night’ (possibly the best song ever written about a cat!). There's some great guitar interplay between Peter Perrett and John Perry all through. Generally the film's of very high quality - taken from shows like Whistle Test - which make up for the occasional blip like some rather dodgy Paradiso club footage on one track. There's also some clips from an undated (1991?) interview with Peter Perrett in stick-insect mode.
They're out there playing live now - if in doubt about why they're one of the most important groups of the era, check this out.