LIVE REVIEW: Badly Drawn Boy @ Fire Station, Sunderland (27.03.23) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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For those not old enough to remember, Damon Gough, aka Badly Drawn Boy, ended last century as the British answer to Bruce Springsteen. Loud, but with a soft inside, Gough’s debut – expanded by 2002’s About A Boy soundtrack – contained singles that were made with the true intent of what a 7” should be; intense, meaningful, stories boiled right down to three minutes of sugary sweet melody.     

Supported by the lovely acoustic sounds of Liam Frost (including his out-to-the-side, Johnny Cash, guitar playing style) tonight is absolutely a night for Gough’s work to be reconsidered, reappraised and remembered.  Playing to a sold-out Fire Station, Gough’s solo show spans the full reaches of his 25-year career, opening with tracks from his first and second EPs (Rollercoaster, I Love You All) before drawing out songs from his nine-album catalogue.   

A wonderful blend of onstage openness and humour, coupled with some of the most delicate of performances (Something To Talk About and The Time of Times are immaculate) steers the evening into the ‘excellent’ category – Gough balancing the depth of his songs with light conversation and crowd interactions.  A final, piano-based, version of the Strokes’ Sometimes (dedicated to his brother) is as poignant and honest as you would want from an artist desperate not to phone in a performance. The Boss is back.

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