When we came out tonight, RTM expected many things from the evening. If we are honest, however, not once did we expect to hear someone covering “Destination Anywhere” by Jon Bon Jovi. Mark Curran seems to like Jovi, though, because not only does he do just that, he plays “Blood On Blood” as a set closer. The Irish born, New Jersey raised frontman of a band that bears his surname is an entertaining diversion before the main event(s).
So Terrorvision. Acoustic. It’s gonna be great, isn’t it. Or shit. There will be no in-between. Actually it is absolutely marvelous. Acoustic TV is Tony Wright, who takes to the stage in a suit Shawaddywaddy would have been proud of, and one time Paradise Lost Touring member Milly Evans, and they just have fun for an hour. Wright retains all the cheeky-chappie charm he always had and remains one of the most likeable blokes on the British rock circuit.
The “shit ‘ot” persona sometimes can hide the fact that Terrorvision (in whatever guise they are playing) have some fantastic songs, full of clever wordplay and hooks in abundance. They air plenty of them tonight. From “Alice What’s The Matter” (which features “Elvis Tony” wearing a cape…) to “Oblivion” and “My House” the whole thing is triumph. They even chuck in a cover of “Moonage Daydream” for good measure.
RTM has seen Ricky Warwick do one of these acoustic shows before. Back about 10 years ago, he played The Princess Charlotte in Leicester to about 20 people. During the course of the gig he told the story of how, when The Almighty split he was forced to sell sandwiches to make ends meet.
Fast forward these few years, and it’s a very different era for Warwick. The world has woken up to the Belfast man’s prodigious talents. He has released some superb singer/songwriter tinged solo records, been the singer in Thin Lizzy, and now fronts the quite phenomenal Black Star Riders. The sandwich days behind him, he can instead tell tales about getting drunk and ruining a two grand Macbook in the process.
Don’t let that fool you into thinking Ricky has gone big time on us though. He is still the same bloke he’s always been. Now (as he tells us onstage) 47, he still retains the air of a bloke that would be in the crowd with us if he wasn’t playing.
Certainly there is nothing remotely “rock star” about the way he walks onstage. No fanfare, no music, just a man and his guitar and a chap called Jack playing percussion.
He begins with a cover of “Summertime Blues” one of several covers he plays during the course of the evening. It isn’t long, thought, before The Almighty get a track played. In common with many in the crowd we suspect, RTM’s first exposure to this band came with “Wild And Wonderful” back in the late 1980s so we are quite nostalgic for its return. With typical self-deprecation Warwick – who claims “never to have had an original thought in my life” says he ripped the verse off Hanoi Rocks and the chorus off Brian Adams, whatever, it proves why the Almighty are still, to this day, so revered.
The rest of the show is augmented with work from his entire career. “Bound For Glory” and “Hey Judas” from the BSR album to songs from all his three solo records, complete with Almighty favourites and covers. At one point “Ooops I Did It Again” by Britney Spears gets played and it seems that hundreds of rockers – just like RTM – are happy to admit they liked all along.
As Springsteen’s “Born To Run” closes the show, “How I Survived The Punk Rock Wars” by Ginger’s latest project blasts out the speakers as we file out the venue. Whether this is Warwick’s choice or not is unclear, but it is pertinent. That song, which deals with Mr. Wildheart’s views on the record industry contains the lines “if you want to take your 15 minutes of fame/And stretch it over 40 years in this game/You had better learn a little word called integrity.”
Such a verse sums up Warwick too and probably explains why RTM remains such huge fans of his work and why for nearly 25 years his music, particularly in The Almighty, has formed such a huge part of our lives.
That might be too deep and sentimental for what was essentially supposed to be a bit of fun. We leave with a grin, but on so many levels, this evening delivered more than just laughs. It was quite brilliant.