Luke Haines: Live at the Borderline, London 30th July 2013
'I don't think I could handle a night of acerbic 70's nostalgia' says a pal. He knows Luke Haines too well maybe. Me - I can take his sardonic wit and psychedelic flights of fantasy anytime. Particularly tonight (30th July) at the lightly frying Borderline basement as Luke launches his latest LP 'Rock N Roll Animals'.
Like his previous album celebrating the grapplers of the 1970's the new un comes with its own fully realized world - Magic Town. A frisky fox, Jimmy Pursey , a hep-cat called Gene Vincent and a badger called Nick Lowe do battle against a fuck ugly bird, The Angel Of The North.
You still in? Good, we'll get on fine
Luke plays pretty much everything on the album so as he explains 'tonight will feature live overdubs' as he switches back n forth from guitar, percussion and keyboards. Yes its a little ramshackle but there's so much goodwill in the room, we don't care, he laughs and we laugh along.
The new new album is full with the same humour and slanted point of view that has made Haines an outside man but one of the most engaging live performers out there. The quick asides, the 'rock\roll' glasses as seen above that he occasionally has to pear over the check what's next on the set list and his raspy drawled delivery - it just works for me
He pauses to read an article about Gene Vincent written by journalist \ musician Mick Farren who died of a heart attack on the same stage just days before. Its a bit of a downer ending with Vincent on his knees in front of his mother coughing up blood. 'Luckily, this song isn't that depressing' as Luke intro's , yes, 'Gene Vincent'.
The finale 'Rock N Roll Animals In Space' outlines the manifesto with difference between the righteous (Deep Purple Mk 2\ Soft Machine with Wyatt \ Soft Machine post Wyatt) and not righteous (Led Zeppelin \ The Stones without Brian Jones (even though he was probably evil)). And above all things - 'don't get the old band back together'
Kendo Nagasaki emerges and the air soon hums with the smell of liver sausage sandwiches as Luke gives us some of his meditations on grappling giants of the past with 'Haystacks In Heaven' prompting some communal singing.
The set ends with some old favourites 'Showgirl' , 'Lenny Valentino, the mighty 'Baader Meinhof' and 'Leeds United' whose lyric suggesting The Yorkshire Ripper's identity could be Jimmy Saville has Luke rueing 'there are some lines you wish you hadn't written'.
Despite the outsider edge he gives off, when it comes to it, Luke Haines is a bit like Gene Vincent - a wily old pussycat at heart.
The new album is available from Cherry Red Records on