Big Audio Dynamite, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London
Friday 08 April 2011
In sharp suit, aviator shades and glistening pate, Mick Jones has smartened up since he modelled a garish baseball cap on the cover of 1986 album No. 10, Upping Street. Yet there is still a spring in his step as he takes the stage with Big Audio Dynamite's classic line-up, a quintet last seen together in 1990.
It is apposite timing, given the former Clash guitarist and writer's recent stint on a Gorillaz world tour with Damon Albarn, another figure keen to mash up musical genres from disparate cultures. That was BAD's remit in the Eighties, combining rock, hip-hop, funk and reggae, inspired partly by Jones's west London melting pot. One reading of the group's fitful success is that they were ahead of their time, providing a template for anyone from Pop Will Eat Itself to the Beastie Boys and beyond.
That is a difficult sell on tonight's showing, as more experimental numbers fall flat: Don Letts's samples, lifted from films and miscellaneous broadcasts without sufficient artfulness, struggle to gel with the hoarier rock'n'roll tunes, while more abstract soundscapes stay limp and unfocused. Yet his old punk mate was always a gifted writer and plenty of rousing tunes buoy the celebratory welcome for a hometown hero.
"V. Thirteen" is bolstered by the grinning Jones's supple playing while "The Bottom Line" remains a fine anthem for anyone partying in the face of adversity. The band show their range with the forceful bass and whip-crack drums that dominate a dub interlude within "A Party", then on the expansive, go-go rhythm of "BAD". On less inspired numbers, Jones's weak vocals become more apparent.
When he comes out from behind his keyboard, the looming figure heightens the energy on stage and transforms the odd country pastiche that is "The Battle of All Saints Road" with his crisp toasting – a nostalgic evening, then, but not without its surprises.
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
Gorillaz Phase 4: Cartoon supergroup is back as new artwork is unveiled
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
As Better Call Saul launches, here are the other spin-off shows we need to see
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Hard line on immigration could cost Tories the election