Tag Archives: If I Should Fall from Grace with God

Pogues Show Recap

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.

 

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Artists and Songs Used in Commercials

Last night I was shocked to see that Subaru was using The Pogues’ “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” in a commercial revolving around a mother driving her kids to pee-wee hockey.  In an age where record sales are declining, it’s somewhat understandable that artists would give away their rights to commercials such as these, but as fan it does take away from the integrity of the specific song.  “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” at least musically has a celebratory tone (as do a lot of Pogues songs) but the title alone would at least give an indication of what the song is about.  “If I should fall from grace with God, where no doctor can relieve me,” Shane MacGowan growls through the first line.  “If I’m buried beneath the sod, but the angels won’t receive me.”  This is the song of a man owning up to his demons, admitting that perhaps he is damned after all, and seeming content with that.   The Pogues’ lyrics have more in common with The Wire’s Jimmy McNulty driving wasted and wrecking his car underneath a Baltimore over-pass then a suburban mother driving her kids to hockey practice.

It’s kind of a moot argument to cry foul and accuse artists of “selling out” when lending their songs to commercials.  I just have a problem with the context in which many of these songs are used.  I recently went to the Notre Dame/Navy game last weekend, and I was surprised that Navy actually came out to the field to Rage Against the Machine’s “Testify” – a song that criticizes mass media, Big Oil, and makes numerous references to George Orwell’s 1984.  Rage’s music is bombastic and can get a crowd moving, but did anyone involved in the sound for Navy think about the meaning behind the song?

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