Tartan Anthems – Melody Maker

Big Country/Balaam And The Angel  The Gaumont, Ipswich.

Parading delights for the ears. if not the eyes, Balaam And The Angel are not such a daft choice for this support slot as some would have thought.  Their politeness, fiery guitars and keyboard – coated melodies remind me of a boy’s own Altered Images – honest.  It’s only a pity that tonight they were restricted to a bitterly short set and a few in front of a tick curtain drawn across the stage.  One day my boys, one day.

Among the secrets behind the velvet veil was the Big Country back-drop: an uncanny recreation of the charred remains of the Rover’s Return.  Not that Stuart Adamson looks much like our Bet, Whicksy is nearer the mark.

With an air of apprehension Adamson’s mob thundered head first into “Wonderland” and “Fields Of Fire”, pausing only to cringe at the less diplomatic sections of the audience chanting football anthems – reminders of the on-going Mexican saga to find the big country.

Not that this Big Country had much to worry about.  The punters were all sporting their “I’m so happy I could shit” badges, reeling in the aisles as they were led through such merry Jacobean traditional songs as “Look Away” , “In A Big Country” and “Steeltown”.  The new single, “The Tea Chest”, passed almost unnoticed and with little comment, all and sundry preferring selections from the history books and opportunities to exercise their lungs with the likes of “Chance”.  You pays your money you takes your cue.

Three encores saw Big Country finish the evening as a relaxed, effective unit, daring to include an hilarious version of “Honky Tonk Women” and an appalling “tracks Of My Tears”.  If musical homicide were a cardinal sin, here were two clear cases fro eternal damnation.

But what the hell? Nobody cared, least of all Big Country.  Here’s a band who know what is required of them and who can entertain to saturation point and beyond.  They provide.  Offering no surprises, fulfilling all expectations, their working themselves up to be a Status Quo for the Nineties and somehow it doesn’t seem to matter …


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