The House of Love - L'pool + MCR - April 2013


There are bands you never stop playing throughout your life. The House of Love is one of those bands. I heard my very first song, Sulfur, 25 years ago and it opened the door for me. I fell in love and it never really stopped.


They faded away a bit. But back in 2005 they reconnected and released their 5th studio album : Days Run Away. They then went on tour through the UK & Ireland. Fair is to say they were extremely hard to catch. I managed to see them in Brighton. Mind you, they were promoted as ‘Terry & Guy’. It was a memorable gig, full of emotions. I had a nice chat with them both afterwards.


Anyway, days truly ran away…. And here they are, back with a superb album called

She Paints Words In Red. The songs are beautiful and they really sound fabulous live. I can only advise you to buy it to support them ! Consider that it’s more than a treat really, it’s a major event.


Accordingly, you won’t get just a simple review from me, no. You’re going to get the top stuff :


1) My pictures from the Liverpool gig at the legendary “Eric’s” club, April 8th 2013

2) A FANTASTIC gig review by Cath Aubergine, the cream of the Mancunian music journalists.

3) The full album review by the ever so talented [sic magazine],


So it begins…


Follow this link to read the full album review by [sic] magazine








+ Spotlight Kid

Manchester Sound Control 8/4/13


Review by Cath Aubergine



It's almost a support band cliche these days to say, towards the end of your set, how honoured you are to be supporting whoever it is. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard some generic nobody trot it out, perhaps desperately hoping that early arriving fans of the headliner will go "ooh, look, they like them too" and give them a bit more attention. You can always spot the ones that are bullshitting.  At the other end of the field however is Rob McCleary, skinny guitar-slinging singer with Nottingham's Spotlight Kid who's clearly absolutely buzzing about landing these dates with The House Of Love, true indie legends. "We grew up listening to them" he tells us. Not that we'd have guessed from their sound, er, much - let's just say there were probably a few Ride and Swervedriver and Spacemen 3 records knocking about as well. Still, you can never have enough pedals, right?  This is of course in no way a bad thing, their fuzz-smothered shoegaze a warm glow of nostalgia for the crowd's majority of fortysomethings and a sound that - whilst it never really went away - is having something of a golden age right now.


A confession: I didn't grow up listening to them. The House Of Love, that is. Ride and Swervedriver and Spacemen 3, yeah, and of course I remember them being around in that long, hot post-GCSEs summer of 1988 when listening to music was about the extent of all I was required to do. That and pick the blackcurrants - the five or six bushes that lined our fence had produced a particularly generous crop that year and if I didn't pull the ripe ones off every morning the birds would, and would then shit them all over the patio. Those days almost impossible to imagine now, when people actually bought records and the indie charts were counted down on The Chart Show every week and featured one week in three; "Destroy the Heart" seemed to be number one for at least a couple of those cycles. So while I wasn't what you'd call a massive fan at the time - maybe because I wasn't a massive fan, still playing those records into my twenties and thirties as I did the bands I really loved - the very thought of that song and its slowly-shifting video will always, for me, taste of blackcurrant juice licked from my fingers.


I don't know why I didn't love them. They sound like a lot of the things I did love. Maybe they were just a little too grown-up for me. Guy Chadwick would have been thirty-three that summer, an unimaginable age for a sixteen-year-old, and when he sang of The Beatles And The Stones it was kind of why is this bloke singing about the bands my parents liked? The generations weren't as blurred then, taste wise. These days I know plenty of people who go to gigs with their kids, and while my own thirty-third year is rapidly receding into the distant past I'll go and watch a teenage band one night and a sexuagenarian band the next. And it's not like The House Of Love were in any way dull - barely an NME went by without a picture of Terry Bickers (actually closer to my age than to Chadwick's) looking completely off his face; Chadwick himself was reputed to be something of a monster too, he just didn't really look or sound like one.


These days he looks about right. A 57 that could easily pass for a decade younger. And Bickers still has something of the madman about him; the way he walks on stage and unfolds a set list from his pocket, lays it over the one placed by the crew for him and the others... and as they kick off the set with "Low Black Clouds" from new album "She Paints Words In Red" he comes in a bar early. Two things immediately become apparent - The House Of Love in 2013 sound quite a lot like The House Of Love in 1988, and they also sound a bit like Simon & Garfunkel. Maybe that was it, when you're 16 music that sounds like sex and drugs and rock'n'roll has more appeal than quality songwriting. That said, the early first-album salvo of "Sulphur" and "Road" sees the pace pick up a bit, and Bickers suddenly launches into some very bizarre scissor-kicking dancing. And then stops. Maybe his knees aren't what they used to be...


Something else weird is happening which is nothing to do with the band: across town at Old Trafford, this year's league champions-in-waiting Manchester United are hosting reigning champions Manchester City - a fact not lost on Chadwick, who thanks us for coming when there's football on - and the stage lights are alternate red and blue. City score first (there's a lot of phone-checking in the crowd between songs) and they're all blue; a couple of songs down the line the hosts have equalised and the lights turn red. Having fun there Mr Lighting Man?


The band are certainly having fun, with plenty of friendly chat from Chadwick. His dad was born in Oldham, he tells us, before responding to someone's delightfully understated shout of "Quite good!" with "Why thank you!". That old man's song "The Beatles And The Stones" has aged well - or maybe they've just grown into it. And unlike some reunited 80s bands there is no vast oscillation in quality between the old tunes and the new - the last of their contemporaries I can recall honestly thinking that about was The Go-Betweens and for a moment I wonder what could have been, not least because if you squint a little Guy and Terry look a little like Grant and Robert, a fleeting reminder that we're all getting older. Across town it's a City win, the lights turn blue and 1989's "I Don't Know Why I Love You" - which wasn't even on the set list - sounds euphoric, as does 2013's "Holy River" - as they end the set with a glorious "Shine On" I have to admit these songs have lasted so much better than a lot of what I was listening to. There's no regret here, though, simply the joy of hearing such great music here today.


A joy shared by pretty much everyone in the room, it seems, as the band are demanded back for first one encore and then a second.  "Destroy The Heart" now sounds like one of the greatest songs ever written, and of course the final blast is "Christine". I'm drinking that popular Swedish blackcurrant flavoured cider - something I never normally drink, but for some unknown reason just fancied one earlier, and suddenly it hits me. For a few seconds there I'm not 41 years old with a pension plan and a mortgage and pleased at the half ten curfew because I've got a heavy day at work tomorrow and could do with an early night, and it's not unseasonally cold: the sun is shining and I'm in the garden, sixteen years old without a care in the world and my fingers stained purple.


It can be pretty hit and miss, the reunion circuit. You can walk into a venue and walk out two hours later with your memories tainted. Here I had no preconceptions, no baggage; had they been shit I could have walked away, chalked it up on the "at least I've seen them once" list. And tonight I fell in love with The House Of Love. Only quarter of a century late, but better late than never, eh?



Cath Aubergine April 2013  // Content Editor / News / Live Reviews / Administration // Features // Reviews


© 2013   

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