Razorlight, Electric Ballroom, gig review
Borrell may chafe at his musical baggage, but those Razorlight tunes are proving hard to shift
Thursday 05 June 2014
This may be an unfamiliar Johnny Borrell – no white jeans, George Harrison beard - yet flashes of the showman in his pomp remain. As he removes his jacket during a lithe 'Golden Touch' the band stop for an enthusiastic audience to carry on a capella.
Given the career trajectory of the quotable motormouth that alienated all his original bandmates, we should question why he is marking the 10th anniversary of the release of Razorlight's debut album Up All Night.
The merchandise stand is dedicated to Borrell's eccentric solo output that has sold mere hundreds while his former outfit topped both single and album charts.
Surprisingly taciturn between numbers, Borrell is in great voice as he recreates the new-wave urgency of 'In The Morning', still a heady celebration of hedonistic defiance among a series of indelible hits. His new comrades are also on the money: João Mello delivers taut Bruce Foxton-style basslines alongside occasional abrupt guitar solos from Gus Robertson.
Unpoetic Patti Smith-style monologues and slight stabs of existential angst remain unconvincing, though punchy melodies cut through the more obvious lifts from Television or Talking Heads. Borrell may chafe at his musical baggage, but those Razorlight tunes are proving hard to shift.
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