wed 17/04/2024

The Loveless, Castle & Falcon, Birmingham review - a proto-punk Xmas from Marc Almond’s new band | reviews, news & interviews

The Loveless, Castle & Falcon, Birmingham review - a proto-punk Xmas from Marc Almond’s new band

The Loveless, Castle & Falcon, Birmingham review - a proto-punk Xmas from Marc Almond’s new band

Marc Almond and Neal X lay down some fine garage rock laced with trashy glamour

The Loveless: down on the corner where the creatures meet

Back in those halcyon days of 2017, before the pandemic, Marc Almond did a tour of large concert halls, singing songs that had influenced him over the years. Needless to say, there was something of a focus on glam and proto-punk tunes from the likes of Lou Reed and David Bowie – which all seems to have sown the seeds for his latest musical direction.

The Loveless are a Garage Rock band which comprise Marc Almond, Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s bequiffed guitarist, Neal X and Iggy Pop’s touring rhythm section of Max Hector and Ben Ellis – with additional help from James Beaumont’s keyboards and a brass section too. Their debut album, Meet the Loveless is out in the New Year but in the meantime, the band have spent the run-up to Christmas playing some of the smaller venues round the UK that Marc, in particular, can’t have visited for a good 40 years.

And so, they rocked up to Birmingham’s Castle and Falcon this week, dressed in black leather jackets, bandana scarves and shades to lay down some fine, gritty rock’n’roll for a crowd who may have been well into middle age but who were itching to get down and get with it. That said, while most in the audience must have been considerably closer to picking up their first free bus pass than to when they sampled their first illicit beer, there was not a single fleece to be seen in the building. This lot side-stepped the usual Radio 6 Dad attire but instead were defiantly dressed in black, with plenty of leather and leopard print in there too.

Kicking off with the sharp and lairy “Wild in the Streets”, Marc howled about “the corner where the creatures meet” while Neal X let rip a gnarly guitar solo and the brass section packed a serious punch. From there it was onto covers of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators’ “You’re Gonna Miss Me” and the Yardbirds’ “Shape of Things to Come” among plenty of other obscure Proto-Punk classics.

The stage was bathed in blood red light as Marc alternately writhed on the stage or let his inner Go-Go dancer run free, while Neal X ripped scorching riffs from his six-string. In fact, the space only just managed to contain the band as they tore through a raft of tracks from the 1970s, which included a handful of Alice Cooper tunes and an unexpected take on Deep Purple’s “Black Night”. There were originals in there too, like the sleazy “Nothing at All” and “Sticks and Stones” – which Marc modestly described as “an original song that sounds like other songs” to much hilarity from the audience.

With Neal X on stage, we also got a blast of Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s “Love Missile F1-11”, which has stood the test of time well. Then, as a final tune, a Garage Rock take on Soft Cell’s mighty “Sex Dwarf”. Let’s hope that they can come up with some more of their own tunes soon though, because the Loveless are seriously entertaining in a way that their American equivalent, the Hollywood Vampires can only dream about.

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