Review. Simply Dylan. The Atkinson theatre Southport 4.2.2017
As someone who has been fortunate enough to watch Groundpig since around 81(I think) in venues, ranging from the utterly manic Scotty club, bier Keller, and Daily's amongst others, where Groundpig would have hundreds of deranged match going individuals dancing manically to 'nelly the elephant and' postman pat' (the frenzied masses obviously thought the aforementioned tunes were rare and unreleased material from Floyd, and Zappa probably due in the main to a heady transcendental cocktail of Lebanon's finest, along with vast consumption of leg-trembling liquor) as well as songs by Dylan, Lindisfarne, Neil Young, Simon, the dire Dire Straits, Simon and Garfunkel et al. It was a sight to behold watching hundreds and hundreds of Samba / mamba clad scallies (fuck off with yer “casuals”) moshing madly to such mild old folk tunes. Its hard to fathom or to emphasise just how crazy and utterly ecstatic those nights where! (But if you wanna read more about them, check The End’s Groundpig memories here The End staff Groundpig memories
Anyway, enough of my nostalgic risible ramblings and on with the review. The Atkinson theatre is the perfect little place for John (O’connell) and his band to deliver a brilliant and intimate interpretation of Dylan's work.
The Band opened with the wonderfully acerbic “Positively 4th street” (if you have a 2 faced, let down, waster of a “friend”, go and check the lyrics of this song and rejoice in the utter unadulterated cynicism of Dylan’s lyrics to accompany his snarling nasal delivery) this was followed by beautiful renditions of “ISIS”, “changing of the guards”, “Jack of hearts” and probably the best version I have ever heard of “My back pages”.
The second set got off to an equally brilliant start with a scotty club favourite “Hurricane” followed by “Desolation row” and one of my all-time favourite Dylan songs “stop crying”. Next came an absolute stunning duet of “Boots of Spanish leather” with the bands multi-talented violin player.
John was engaged in a bit of ongoing cordial banter in between songs with some delightfully classy females sat right at the front, from Bolton, who I thought were on a hen night and had simply turned up at the wrong resort believing that they were actually in Blackpool to see Chubby Brown or some other chavvy shite comedian, luckily enough when the lights went on there wasn't a blow up doll or inflatable penis to be seen anywhere!
The Band ended with a rousing rendition of “Like a Rolling stone” that had everyone dancing in the isles (except for me of course, because I am a miserable prick and if I ever do try to dance I look like I am having violent parkinsonism tremors)….. Anyway, If you are a Dylan fan or simply just appreciate brilliant music performed by brilliant musicians then get your arses down to see John and his band, Simply Dylan!
You can also catch John playing some old favourites at the slaughter house on the last Friday of every month at Liverpool venue, The Slaughterhouse.