- 15 Dec 17
Paul Cleary's Mod Mob Deliver The Christmas Goods. Dad Dancing: Pat Carty
Despite the technological marvels that surround us, there are still mysteries in our world that should both make us giddy with wonder, and slightly fearful. What rough beast is chained beneath the ancient floorboards of Rome? Are cats plotting to kill us in our sleep? How does James Corden keep getting work? The figs into the fig rolls conundrum remains a head scratcher.
All of these are mere 2 + 2 computations when compared to the failure of The Blades to make any kind of significant break through back in the day. A series of perfect, perfect singles released between 1980 and 1985, which include in ‘Downmarket’, a serious contender, alongside Phil Lynott’s ‘Old Town’, for greatest Irish single of them all, and the Last Man In Europe album should have been more than enough to guarantee world domination, but it wasn’t to be. There’s an alternative universe somewhere that sees Paul Hewson getting together with his mates every Christmas to play a few dates, while Paul Cleary swans around the South Of France, boozing it up with George Clooney.
Back in this reality, The Blades' December gig has become a welcome annual event, since they first got back together to play two sold out Olympia shows in 2013. The appeal has perhaps become slightly more selective, but there’s a good gang in the Academy on this cold night. As soon as the brass kicks in for the opening blast of ‘Last Man In Europe’, you can see it in the smile on every face – where others might be admired, Paul Cleary is loved. There are decades between the stop-start opening of ‘The Reunion’ and ‘On The Town’ from 2016’s Modernised, but you can’t see the join. ‘Then Came You’ is heralded, literally, by Frank Duff’s trumpet and is a love song that McCartney wouldn’t turn his nose up at, and show me a band who wouldn’t kill for songs like ‘Those Were The Days’, ‘Boy One’, and ‘Pride’, and I’ll show you a bunch of liars.