A FULL Barbican applauded the tall, regal Mike Rutherford as he walked on to the urban scrapyard of flight cases and old par cans for Let Me Fly.
From the first note, the guitarist’s amp wasn’t working, causing panic and knocking all off their game. It was clear early on just how restrained the band were to a sequencer. Favourites like Another Cup Of Coffee and Silent Running had the crowd singing as wildcard Tim Howar brought his Bez-like cheerleading as if caffeine flowed through his veins with his effortless power.
Andrew Roachford’s rich, soulful voice can transcend any situation. He brings value to any song he is given. The set – a mixture of old and very new – featured one beautiful song co-written by Clark Datchler, Not Trying To Save The World, where Roachford’s faultless voice touched every hair in the Barbican.
At one point, Rutherford name-dropped about his old school band called Genesis to great amusement – he is a charming gentleman from music’s top table – as the Mechanics launched into Land Of Confusion and I Can’t Dance; possibly two odd choices for ardent Genesis fans.
When powerhouse Gary Wallace was freed from the shackles of the sequenced backing for Cuddly Toy, you could see the true energy in his playing as the band connected with the crowd and could react, his face going through the full range of Greg Davies joyful grimacing. The same happened as he took to his cajon at the front of the stage for a beautiful unplugged section to reveal his personality.
In the two previous tours, the sound was superb and the band relaxed but tonight there were too many glitches, false starts and pit-stops to match previous podium finishes.
York audiences want to hear a band play to the crowd, not to a click track! This is a band with great songs and so much talent. They should make it more about the Mechanics who should be on stage and having faith in their skills than about making great songs sound too mechanical.
© Yorkpress, by Ian Donaghy