Live Review: The Pogues & The Stranglers - MEN Arena

Publication: The Bolton News

Author: Martin Hutchinson

Date: December 13, 2008

Reviewed gig: Manchester, MEN Arena Ė December 13, 2008

Original Location: Link

After a superb set by The Stranglers, I was in a great mood, and so was everyone else at the crowded MEN Arena.

The whole auditorium was ready for a great show by The Pogues.

The crowd erupted when they took the stage and launched into their set, but thatís when things went wrong for me.

Letís look on the good side; the music was infectiously catchy. You couldnít help but tap your feet or clap your hands.

It was lively too, and the throng on the floor of the Arena were definitely up for a good time.

What spoiled it was when this shambling wreck of a man started making strange unintelligible noises into the microphone.

The thing was, he wasnít a roadie, he was apparently Shane McGowan Ė the lead singer. Although whether you could call him a singer is open to doubt.

He was tuneless and you couldnít tell what he was saying even when he was talking between songs.

He gave the impression that he was under the influence of certain liquids. Iím obviously NOT saying that for certain, but he certainly gave the impression.

If he was sober, then he does so good an imitation then he is in the wrong job.

The show improved immeasurably when he went off, but sadly he kept coming back.

His dishevelled demeanour meant that he looked like an old man, and half the time he seemed to be unaware of what was going on and was hanging onto the microphone in case he fell over.

Jet Black of The Stranglers looked far better, and heís 70!

But to be honest, I must have missed something, for even though many headed for the exits early (in some cases after only half an hour), most of the crowd enjoyed every minute of the show and were dancing around having a whale of a time.

By the time they come round again, I hope that someone will have told me what it is about McGowan that the fans love. Is it all an act? Or do they love him for the wreck he appears to be?

Pogues fans Ė please forgive me, for I just didnít get it.

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