Saturday, 15 May 2010

495 THE SHEILA DIVINE, plus support, The Paradise, Boston MA USA, Friday 30 March 2001

After a day doing some seriously brain dumping with a sympathetic ear in EdV - I know what I've got to do, I just have to do it now - and avoiding the rain, we're up for the second of this 2 night TSD CD release stand. "The Peach", Pete Stone, EdV's "date" for this evening (his "+1" on the TSD guest list!), picks me up from my digs at 1/4 to 8. He's his usual acerbic self and Ed keeps rolling his eyes and saying, "aah, the Peach!" We hit the venue early for this advance sell-out to get good viewing places, only to find it packed out already and the punkish but unfocussed unnamed support act already assaulting the crowd's eardrums.

Hit the bar upstairs and EdV introduces me to barman Bill Guerra, new Senor Happy guitarist and roommate to James Horrigan! Take a wander to the balcony, stage left, where I chat to Fly Seville vocalist Jesse Blatz. The Sheilas come on at 9, opening with familiar slow-burner "Automatic Buffalo", then really kick-start things with strident newie "Every Year", which I remember clearly from the previous night. In fact, all the new "Countrymen" numbers in this rejigged and reshaped set are instantly memorable and recognisable from last night, starting with the title track, 3rd number in, which is similarly slow-burning and features serious vocal gymnastics from an in-form Aaron.

By this time I've eschewed my balcony spot and I'm once again pissing off the locals by barging my way forward, stage left, and trying to get this sell-out and supposedly rapturous local crowd to dance! The Sheilas do their best too; "Awful Age" is a brilliantly angry growl of a song, newie "Kiss Army" is a thrilling rush, and "Like A Criminal", with its dramatic guitar slashes, is an excuse for bassist big Jim Gilbert to jump about like a scalded cat, arms flailing Pete Townshend style around his pitifully small-looking bass. But my own personal favourite "I'm A Believer", and "Hum", two absolute top drawer slices of emotive, spine tingling dynamic guitar rock, are the superb climaxes to the set, "Hum"s middle eight vocal line being seemingly sung by the whole crowd. Passionate, haunting and brilliant!

A couple more encores, including a surprisingly superb "Eleanor Rigby" which features some almost scat-vocalising from Aaron, are followed up by champagne onstage, and an unscheduled last "Modern Log". Brilliant stuff, but my night's not over yet; I meet up with EdV and Pete and we're off to gig 496!

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