Gig review: The Pogues @ Apollo, Manchester

Publication: The Citizen

Author: James Higgins

Date: December 17, 2009

Reviewed gig: Manchester, Apollo – December 13, 2009

Original Location: Link

HERE’S a conundrum. How can somebody on the one hand apparently lack real charisma, yet on the other ooze a stage presence and sense of mischief that is unsurpassed?

I don’t have the answer, but if I could bottle a bit of what Shane MacGowan has — and I don’t mean the booze — I’d be a rich man.

He’s a funny one. The bloke barely moves as he pelts out The Pogues’ famous hits — yet he has the crowd in the palm of his hands.

When he speaks to the assembled fans, he is incoherent. Yet when singing he has the lyrical dexterity of a West Coast rapper.

The Pogues’ festive tours have become a stalwart of the seasonal calendar. In fact, it is not truly Christmas, in my opinion, until they have performed The Fairytale Of New York, which they duly did after two encores.

It was a chaotic affair; rowdy, and rumbustious, but that’s what The Pogues are all about.

This year’s choice of venue, the Apollo in Manchester, probably contributed. It’s more intimate than the MEN Arena and the Manchester Central, where they have played previously.

Rough though it was, however, there was an overwhelming sense of fun among the crowd. And with classics like Dirty Ol’d Town and Irish Rover among the many hits The Pogues performed, there was plenty to keep the crowd bouncing.

All that topped off with sterling performances from the musicians made for a top night. Roll on Christmas 2010.

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