Support: Gavin Glass
Mr Heaton again; the first time in two years for me; the venue was Dublin’s intimate Academy (‘Intimate’ = small). It wasn’t full tonight but there was a healthy attendance to see Paul, an artist who writes some of the funniest, most poignant, political and damn right catchiest songs you could hope to hear. It’s just a shame that more people don’t appreciate him.
Tonight was part of a tour promoting Acid Country, his third solo album, a record that follows on from previous solo LP, The Cross Eyed Rambler released in 2008. Paul’s solo work has been consistently good; he is never going to be ground breaking with his style of music…but so what? He has many loyal fans, me included, going back to The Housemartins days. There are some fans that only came to him during the Beautiful South times, and there is nothing wrong with that, but there were some in the crowd tonight hoping for a rehash of all that bands old hits. Do they not read set lists these days? Do they not listen to interviews or read about the tour on the Internet? I mean Paul has barely sung a South tune for years and only plays a few Housemartins songs occasionally. It’s always thrilling to hear old songs from the past but this is a solo tour after all.
As we got there early (Lorraine hates that I arrive very early for gigs but after once missing a couple of songs because a band came on sooner than advertised it’s now habit) we managed to get right to the front, the problem when you are taller than the people around you…and it’s a small venue…and the stage is low…well the problem is I was almost staring right into Paul’s eyes. This can be a little off putting and I found myself looking at the guitarists, the floor, the celling, hell I even looked at the drummer, only looking at Paul when he was looking elsewhere. What an idiot I am.
So what do we get tonight? Well some of the best songs from his solo work had an outing, in particular Mermaids and Slaves, Life Of A Cat and Little Red Rooster which are all quite fantastic with the latter a wonderful song to ‘Heaton Dance’ to (shuffling your body from side to side). Three Housemartins songs are aired with Build and We’re Not Deep played early and a joyous Me And The Farmer as part of the encore. Clash song White Man In Hammersmith Palais rounds off the main set and God Bless Texas finishes things off.
My only criticism of the gig, of any Heaton gig in fact, is that you are left wanting more. They say that is a good thing but I’m really not sure. I’m not even talking about more Housemartins or Beautiful South songs; I just wish he would play tracks from his first solo album. In truth though that is a minor gripe as what we get is classic Heaton on great form. Backed by what appears to be a great band (albeit including an ex member of a Corrs Tribute Act) and with Heaton on great form tonight’s performance was a pleasure to see.
30 years in the business and this is one guy that has changed little but that happens to be a wonderful thing. He has much to offer and quite frankly pisses over most of his contemporaries.
Ticket: October 6th 2010
Ticket Price: €24.00