Live Reviews | 2011
12 September 2011
Collectively they certainly create a mighty scuzzstorm but, with apologies to The Violators, the music was at its most potent when Kurt played solo with acoustic guitar.
The full blast of the band had its moments although some of the outros hung on in there a bit too long. It was also great to see a drummer play with his hands and no sticks to create a Crazy Horse-type percussion feel on some tracks, with a hint of The Stones to boot.
The long-haired Philadelphian’s latest CD, Smoke Ring For My Halo is an absolute gem that was best delivered here in those delightful stripped back, finger-picking moments of 'Baby’s Arms' and the final song of the evening, the gloriously skewed, almost childlike song, 'Peeping Tomboy' Sang Kurt: “When I'm down I would never come around/But you should be kind and read my mind.”
He seemed totally at home all alone in the spotlight, hunched over the guitar, faced screwed up to deliver vocals that make you pay attention. In 'Baby’s Arms' he told us: “In my baby’s arms, in my baby’s arms/And I got the hands to hold onto them” – simplistic but hugely engaging, nonetheless.
As good as he is, Kurt may have a dilemma when it comes to the style of show he wants to put on – alone or with his maters. As I said, the brash rockier numbers were fun but crushed any subtleties evident on the CD, and I’m not arguing for note-for-note studio stuff live.
Maybe it was the dodgy sound quality that made me think this during the show, but there is no doubt that when the band take a break, Kurt really does shine.