Have I said how much I love the 930 Club? According to my friend, artists love playing there as well. I have no basis other than my friends’s word, but I’d say that The Pogues love playing there as well considering they played two shows there this week.
There have been numerous times that I have been subjected to terrible opening bands, but I still like to show up and check whoever the supporting act is. To me, it’s part of the show. And Tuesday’s opener Titus Andronicus was one of the better openers I’ve seen in a while. The lead singer could have been mistaken for Devendra Benhart, but he definitely had a stage presence that took more from Iggy Pop – though nowhere near as extreme. While it definitely hard to make out the lyrics, they definitely nailed it when they stuck to jamming out. Perhaps I’ll actually check out some of their stuff sometime soon.
As for the Pogues, once again they failed to disappoint. Shane MacGowan may have started the first few songs off-time with the rest of the band – “Stream of Whiskey” and “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” were a little rocky, and he completely messed up the lyrics to “The Broad Majestic Shannon” – the rest of the band seemed as tight as ever. The songs aren’t quite played with the reckless abandon of their youth, but the band never seems fully energized especially on “the faster songs like The Sunny Side of the Street” and “Bottle of Smoke” . Going through the motions is something The Pogues never do. The biggest surprise of the night of the night was a full band treatment of “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda“. MacGowan seemed particularly into the performance of this anti-war anthem.
While The Pogues stick to a fairly standard set-list, there’s still an air of unpredictability to the show. It’s kind of hard to tell which way it will go. Will the band grow tired of MacGowan’s antics? How many songs will he be off stage for? MacGowan often announces a what the next song is, only to be told by Spider Stacey, that is it something different. His onstage banter is kind of warbled, but once he starts singing in his warbled voice, it’s still with the same conviction and belief that he had in his younger (and more focused days). And that is what truly matters, and why people keep coming back to their shows despite no new music in nearly two decades.