There are things which are almost impossible to do in life. Things like touching your chin with your tongue, raising one eyebrow independent of the other, tickling yourself or indeed leave a Tony Wright (solo or with Terrorvision) show without a massive grin on your face! With great songs, some of the catchiest choruses ever written and some very humorous banter surrounding those, a fun night is always guaranteed.
This was Tony in acoustic form with just his normal sparring partner on guitar and backing vocals in Milly. Within the cozy confines of Bannerman’s bar, this works really well. It was a good mix with songs from both of his solo albums as well as a sprinkling of Terrorvision tracks.
Starting off by having a laugh about where they stayed the previous night whilst sorting out the guitars and microphones and asking for some “stadium style clapping” to opening song “Love Hold On” which the audience were happy to try and emulate. Before the Shakespeare inspired title “Music Is The Food Of Love” there was laughter as Tony found himself bending over quite a bit to see the set list on the floor claiming that this “shows how much taller I am getting” and nothing to do with getting older. (Later in the set when he sat on a stool for a song someone shouted out “NOW you look taller” to much laughter especially from Milly) The song itself is a praise of music and lyrics that get hold of you and won’t let go. With a nice mention of Status Quo at one point showing the music he grew up with and how they are a band that wrote stuff that was infectious yet rocking. The first of the Terrorvision tracks came in the shape of “Babylon” with its Queen type riff kicking it off (there is a real hint of “Tie Your Mother Down”) along with the jaunty chorus of “the grass is always greener, Babylon” which certainly had some dancing going on off stage. One of my favorite songs on the latest album Walnut Dash is the song “The Blues” which as he explained beforehand is about the difficulties of singing the blues when everything keeps going well. Apart from Loudon Wainwright III who also has a song about the “happy blues” called “I’m Alright” this is an unusual play on the genre. Or as Tony put it “how shit it is when life is great and you are a blues writer”.
There is lots of chat at his acoustic shows, much of which written down doesn’t make a huge amount of sense (the case of you needed to be there), but some is still easily translatable. The story of getting his first illegal pint of beer (or at least a half) in a pub, the fear of being told to leave or being laughed at, then the joy of getting away with it before trying for another and being told not to “try and take the piss” and getting juice the second time is one that many rock fans will appreciate having done similar. This led to his song commemorating that pub in “Great Horton”. When he returned to his band material “My House” got a tremendous reaction from the crowd. Adding some Russian style guitar work to “Opposites Attract” whilst singing about “Fandangos” was almost inspired if possibly geographically inaccurate.
During “Tequila” their biggest UK single (it reached number 2) the promoter came through the crowd with some shots for them both. Tony tried to prove it was good for vegans, which nobody believed! Finishing the set with a good sing along (and dance along if that makes sense) in “Friends And Family” where we could prove how well we had learned our swearing technique in the chorus of “party over here… fuck you over there” was an excellent choice. According to him, the song is used in his home town of Bradford to help all children swear properly. Unlikely, but a fun story. As Bannerman’s doesn’t have a backstage they both stood behind the Bannerman’s logo sign supposedly hiding, which as their legs were still in view was silly, but that was what the night was about music and having a laugh. Their penultimate song (or as he said the last song written by a pen) was “Perseverance” with its chant of “Whales And Dolphins” being belted out by the audience leading to the last song of the night “Alice What’s The Matter” another huge hit for Terrorvision in the UK and the opening song to their first top 20 album (in the UK) How To Make Friends And Influence People. An absolutely barnstorming track leading to lots of singing and lots of bouncing. Even done acoustically it still has that effect.
As I started this I mentioned it is nigh impossible to leave one of his gigs without a smile on the face and I can assure you that every person I saw was grinning and smiling at the end. As is normal in Bannerman’s both of the band hung around chatting and signing stuff for fans long after they had come off stage.
If I may add a quick few words of appreciation for support Pat Dennis, who opened up the evening. An American now living in Edinburgh who has a whiskey soaked voice making me think a bit at times of Tom Waits although not quite as gravelly. There was a song which I think was called “Deeper Than Blue” which was particularly good as well as his cover of “Corrina Corrina” an old blues tune from way back.
A fun night in Bannerman’s all round!