O2 ABC, Glasgow
Saturday November 5th 2011
“I don’t know,” says Howard Devoto, wearily wiping his palest of faces.
“Have we done enough songs about the wrong kind of sex?” The band
behind him launch into the icy menace of 1979 album Secondhand
Daylight’s closing epic Permafrost for good measure, anyway. Devoto has
a point. As the archest man in pop entered wielding a Brechtian style placard bearing the
legend, ‘Let’s Fly Away To The World’, the band he reformed after
thirty years away strike up an opening rally of Definitive Gaze, Give
Me Everything and Motorcade. Heard in rapid-fire succession, the songs
show off the light and shade of a canon that lays bare Devoto’s soul
via an array of psycho-sexual baroque brutalist bon mots.
With new album No Thyself and bass player Jon ‘Stan’White added to the
fold to replace Barry Adamson since they first toured in 2009, Magazine sound more urgent than
ever, with Devoto’s self-absorbed confessionals offset by a dirty white
funk that sounds harder and looser than on record. Of the precious few
songs from No Thyself included tonight, Happening in English and Holy
Dotage fit seamlessly with material from their first, all too brief
incarnation. With keyboardist Dave Formula and guitarist Noko carving
out brittle soundscapes powered along by White and drummer John Doyle,
Devoto is every inch the drama queen, conducting every flourish or else
watching with aloof wonder at this thing he’s conjured up.
Shot By Both Sides is brought bang up to date with part distressed, part fame-hungry references to flash-mobs. Magazine's other classic, the Dostoyevsky-referencing A Song From Under
The Floorboards is there, but so is the lesser-sung but just as immense
Rhythm of Cruelty. Crowd-pleasing this Magazine may be, but
there still isn’t space for recent single, the rock and roll suicide of Hello Mr Curtis. Perverts.
The Herald, November 7th 2011