The Tubes - LIVE: The Art School, Glasgow 2016

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Mondo Pulp Tour
October 22 (19:45 - 20:05)
Capacity 800

The Art School venue is at the top of an unbelievably steep hill, one so inclined that tour buses cannot be parked outside. Once inside, the room for bands is on the top floor and the toilets way down in the basement. A night out seeing a band here is like some form of mad exercise and one which for most ageing Tubes fans is hard work. Fortunately the band are so good it is worth all the endeavour.

With no support, the band are on quite sharp and have time to do a full set that incorporates a dizzying amount of musical styles and theatrics. Mixing blues, soul, hard rock and several interesting covers, the time flew by. Front-man Fee Waybill is of course entertaining between rants and costume changes along with some serious dad dancing, but at no point is it a one-man show. The whole band are tight and guitarist Roger Steen is someone who deserves more plaudits for his playing, with some of his solos being particularly exquisite.

Opening with an instrumental piece allowing the band to show off before the singer comes on, they then play the old Chuck Berry song You Never Can Tell, with all the dance moves from 'Pulp Fiction' added by Fee and a good number in the audience. The Monkey Time then started a soul/funk section of the show, with the crowd joining in lustily, which is appropriate as the song sounds so salacious and rude, and the night took off completely.

The first of the show tunes was Mr. Hate with Fee in straitjacket and mask, and the lyrics about murder, drugs and madness - all rather disturbing. Before Turn Me On he ranted about drug commercials and the greed of the companies and manufacturers, then got too carried away and said "I don't know what it is like in England," forgetting where he was. If looks could kill the rest band would have caused another rock and roll bereavement on the night. He apologised and several times during the night from then on he made sure to reference to Scotland. Golden Boy started with a dedication to the influence on the lyrics of Marlon Brando movie The Wild One, donning a leather jacket, but not the hat as apparently the proper hat for the song was stolen earlier on the tour and felt the replacement he was forced to use wasn't exactly the same, so he threw it into the crowd. They also went country and western with a cover of a song made famous by Gene Pitney in The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance, with Fee in woollen chaps.

Finishing the main set was probably their most famous song, White Punks On Dope, the second song to be performed in his alter ego Quay Lewd, revealing where he keeps his bottle of beer for emergencies. The encore included their biggest US hit in She's A Beauty and a Beatles cover, I Saw Her Standing There. Leaving the stage with am ironic "thank you Finland, we love you" was a fun way to end the night after his mistake earlier in the evening.

With great musicianship, a variety of styles and an entertaining front-man The Tubes are truly a band worth seeing. With or without all the staging, the songs stand up with plenty of melodies and clever word play. It was a first-class evening with a terrific band, and if they play over here again, hopefully Fee will remember where he is.

“ the night took off completely ”

Setlist: Overture / You Never Can Tell / The Monkey Time / Tip of My Tongue / James Brown Medley / Mr Hate / Amnesia / Turn Me On / Golden Boy / Gimme Dat Harp Boy / Stella / Mondo Bondage / Why Can't I Walk Away From You / What Do You Want From Life / The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance / Love's A Mystery / Tubes World Tour / White Punks On Dope // She's A Beauty / I Saw Her Standing There / Talk To Ya Later / TV Is King

Written by Tom Cornell
More: 2016, Gigs,

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