Mull Historical Society, Bush Hall, London (4/5)
Nick Hasted has been a film journalist since 1986. He writes about film, music, books and comics for The Independent, Sight & Sound, Uncut and Little White Lies. He has published two books: The Dark Story of Eminem (2002), and You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks (2011), both from Omnibus Press.
Friday 09 December 2011
When Colin MacIntyre was a young man on Mull, he’d look out at the Atlantic dark and feel he was on the edge of the world.
His first three albums as Mull Historical Society were imbued with that feeling, and identity with underdogs. The first, Loss (2001), was directly inspired by the death of his father Kenneth, the BBC’s top Scottish political reporter. It sounded strange and wonderful: literally insular glam-rock, bursting with the released energy of a grieving 30-year-old, with such a powerful need to make pop music buzzing in his head he once feared he had schizophrenia.
In the ten years since Loss, MacIntyre has also made two albums under his own name, including a collaboration with Tony Benn, and spent time in London and New York. Now he’s returned to his old band moniker, for a strong pop album out in January. City Awakenings conjures the wonder he felt as a boy in Glasgow or London, coming from Tobermory. Apart from a gig there two days before, he hasn’t played in years, and this strong, rangy man is breathless and sweaty between songs, yelling and stamping his feet during them, exultant to be back. Though he’s playing in an ornate classical hall, the atmosphere oddly makes it feel like a parish hall, and this a local band who’ve made it big but kept their provincial quirks and pride.
“If it wasn’t for my family, I’d have no songs,” it dawns on MacIntyre. 2001’s “Instead” revisits his father’s death, as he searches for something more substantial than “a photograph…an empty space” to fill the void. A laptop brass section and real trumpeter’s fanfare make it majestic. “The Final Arrears” takes us to an uncle’s deathbed. “You Can Get Better” is sung down his mobile phone to another uncle, too poorly to hear it in person on Mull. MacIntyre, a man who used to go hoarse just thinking about songs, gives it everything.
The link between ten years ago and right now feels very strong. Old songs blend with new, and there’s a sense of resurgence, now MacIntyre is more than himself again. “Mull Historical Society” concludes things. It’s a Big Society founded on a little island, welcoming all those cast out by the government’s version. MacIntyre’s fans these days are a small, hardy band, following a resolute, remarkable pop figure.
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure'
James Blunt finally admits the truth: 'You're Beautiful' is annoying
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars Episode 7 has almost finished filming
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt is intriguing as unsympathetic war hero
Batman v Superman: Side-kick Robin to be 'woman played by Jena Malone'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments