ROCK / Shane's fairy tale of new work

''YOU better give him a bloody good report,'' said a Shane MacGowan fan who spotted my notepad at the end of the concert. Anything to oblige: at London's Forum, MacGowan didn't keel over or forget the words, and he revealed that he has a singing voice and not just a raw roar. His new band, the Popes, were up to the job, particularly guitarist Paul McGuinness, a karate-kicking Bruce Willis lookalike. The crowd shouted along to the punky new single, ''That Woman's Got Me Drinking'', as much as to rollicking old favourites like ''Dirty Old Town'', and they shouted a carousing chorus of ''There's only one Shane MacGowan''.

But does he deserve the adulation? His continual leglessness had something to do with his departure from the Pogues, and now his record company markets him as ''the darkest star'', the last of a dying breed of living legends. Everyone knows the myth: he hates interviews, as he told the Independent on Sunday, The Face, Time Out, Loaded, Q and NME; he hates publicity gimmicks, and so does his recent Top of the Pops sidekick, Johnny Depp; his alcohol intake is such that dipsomaniac fish are said to ''drink like a Shane''. There are people on the street who drink more, of course, but they don't get to boast about it on The Danny Baker Show.

As long as he stays on the booze he can't lose. If he vomits on stage - fantastic - you've witnessed the MacGowan myth; if he doesn't vomit - fantastic - what a pro, he's got his act together these days. You have to judge him on his own terms, and on those he deserves a bloody good report: he was wobbly, not always comprehensible, he wandered dazed and confused across the stage, but he was the focal point of a rip-roaring evening. If he could ever be as enthusiastic as his band and his audience, the ''last great rock'n'roll star'' tag would be deserved.

Electrafixion must be the worst name for a band since Echo and the Bunnymen. Coincidentally, both were coined by Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant. Now Will and Mac are back, resisting the temptation to use their original name or songs, and playing places like the cramped Zap Club, just across the road from the Brighton Centre, whose 5,000 seats the Bunnymen filled in 1988.

They perform thrilling dark rock songs with portentous titles like ''Who's Been Sleeping in my Head?'', ''Mirrorball'' and, the first single, ''Zephyr'' (WEA). The influence of the Doors lingers on. The Bunnymen had a hit with ''People Are Strange''. Tonight, McCulloch slips in a verse of ''Moonlight Drive''. Other American influences are there in the Scouse singer's Michael Stipe-ish accent, the compelling Television-style guitar interplay, usually with McCulloch driving the chords while Sergeant skids over the top, and the grungey distortion. McCulloch calls it ''gringe'': grunge with a grin. I'd hate to see him play growlge or grimacege. He is typically gloomy, nettled by hecklers and gazing dully at his fretboard. He should cheer up, because after the wilderness years, Electrafixion are giving bad names a good name.

Paul Weller's Albert Hall concert on Thursday was like his career: alienating and self-indulgent in the middle, but later we loved him again.

He never spoke to the audience, and when the band lost themselves in yet another psychedelic jam (that's with a small ''j''), the crowd lost interest. But the last few songs pulled us back to a frenzied climax. The highlights were not on his albums: the new songs - the chiming piano ballad ''You Do Something to Me'' and the vigorous soul ''Changing Man'' - and Neil Young's ''Ohio'', for which he is joined by ex-Suede guitar god, Bernard Butler.

- Electrafixion: Preston Mill, 0772 885799, tonight; Edinburgh Venue, 031-557 3073, Tues; Greenock C C Browns, 0475 888369, Wed, Glasgow King Tut's, 041-221 5279, Thurs. Paul Weller: Aston Villa Leisure Centre, 021-328 8330, tonight; Newcastle City Hall, 091-261 2606, Tues; Glasgow Barrowlands, 041-552 4601, Wed & Thurs; Manchester G-MEX, 061-832 9000, Fri; Shepherd's Bush Empire, 081-740 7474, Sun 4 Dec.

Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
Arts and Entertainment
Crowd control: institutions like New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art are packed

Art
Arts and Entertainment
Cillian Murphy stars as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices