On The Scene//Jon Byrne - Live at Studio 2, Liverpool.
On an evening that for once didn’t thrust you into internal submission to its breeze there was much gig activity in the ol’ town of Liverpool. On this particular evening I found myself in the always uber cool Studio 2 for a sparsely attended (undeservedly so I say) but none the less peaceable gig from the master of acoustic rants, Mr Jon Byrne.
The twilight acoustics of the venue don’t always work for every band I’ve seen in this setting but on this occasion, with the help of the mostly acoustic songs and a man with a great talent for mic stand re-positioning it was an excellent sonic experience for all. The support slots from Son of Mojo and Adam and Prometheus were excellent, setting the tone for the evening easily before the man himself came to the stage, dapper in his pointy shoes which really caught my eyes.
The dazzling array of instruments scattered across the stage were all used at some point in the set - various guitars and a mandolin all making the perfect backing for his pointed and often hilarious rants on life. Perhaps the red flowers and the raven adorning the microphone were a metaphor for the images his music produced or perhaps they were just as they seemed adornment but they certainly put ideas into my head. The music he performed, mostly from the recently released album Built By Angels had a real bite – mostly right off your ear as you watched him stomp the stage to death with an energy akin to a madman who collects roses and ravens… Ah!
Soon it all became clear that this was no ordinary gig stop. There was pitch black humour, swearing a plenty and music that was beautiful in the darkest and occasionally dirtiest of manners. More than once the aforementioned man with a talent for mic-stand manipulation appeared to enable Byrne to sing in an erect position, and more than often the mic slipped down again as the oft viciously stomped on floor drum took a battering to great effect.
Indeed the whole set from Byrne could be summed up using a quote he himself said at one point during the gig: “It’s like a maniac having a breakdown isn’t it?” followed by an impassioned scream. And it’s hard to disagree that a performance so full of energy and flair didn’t deserve a least a few more people in the room. I still want those shoes however…
Reviewed by Sebastian Gahan.