REVIEW: Echo and the Bunnymen

Ian McCulloch of Echo & the Bunnymen
Ian McCulloch of Echo & the Bunnymen
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DURING their lengthy time together, Echo and the Bunnymen have always been a big draw in Edinburgh.

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USHER HALL, Lothian Road

They first played here in the early 1980s as the original quartet of Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Les Pattinson and Pete de Freitas, so it’s somehow fitting they start their 2018 tour in the city to promote The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon.

The album is a 15-track re-recording of older songs, with a few new tracks and pleasing promises of “strings-and-things attached”.

The core of the act now comprises McCulloch’s still soaring vocals and Sergeant’s minimalist guitar stylings. They have been joined by guitar, bass, keys and drums plus, as the promised “strings’, the glorious Cairn String Quartet.

Unsurprisingly, the show is a ‘greatest hits’ from the days of Tube appearances, starting with a stonking version of Nothing Lasts Forever that goes straight into the song All My Colours (aka Zimbo). One of the new tracks for the album came next, The Somnambulist, which sounded more like a lost grunge track rather than a newbie. A few 
mid-period obscurities such as a very Midnight Cowboy sounding Rust, which is many a fan’s favourite, then followed.

McCulloch has always been a well-known Scotophile and he gave his voice a rest to recount an anecdote from his dad, who once told him he played for Dundee United during the war. But, he explained, his dad was a notorious liar, so he couldn’t confirm the claim’s veracity.

After a few other early songs came the classic Cutter, which prompted the stalls on to their feet. A very laid back Seven Seas prompted everyone back down and then on to Killing Moon – and all up again.

A quick break led to an encore of Never Stop and Ocean Rain to finish on, with Mac belting out the crescendo to the rafters like the 25-year-old who laid down the original track.

Watch the vocal chords Mac – you’ve the Albert Hall next week.