“I don’t want to sound vitriolic, but I want to dedicate this next song to Alan McGee who sadly can’t be with us”, so says The Widowmaker’s Ian Easton. This is by no means the first tribute to the night’s titular man. The number of devotions have totted up rapidly as while he was merely ill, you could be forgiven for guessing that this was his wake.
Tonight, Southampton’s Soul Cellar hosted Alan McGee’s Greasy Lips Club, a night that promises a blend of styles that would unite local bands and close with a DJ set from McGee himself. Those plans were shattered when the industry legend, renowned for founding Creation Records, as well as discovering and managing bands such as Primal Scream and Oasis, was hospitalised.
Still, the show must go on, Taking to the stage first is local emcee Influx, assisted by a fellow rapper and DJ onstage. Play fighting. Influx address everyone, though the audience still isn’t quite won over – standing deadly still Standing back, there is a large gap between the stage and the audience. Requests for everybody to move forward become tiresome, and Influx resorts to introducing a song mid-set as his final track to provoke ‘aww’s from the crowd, to no avail. The bass was turned up high. Deafeningly high. Maybe that’s what is blasting the crowd against the back wall.
“Hi, we’re The Lost Boys. We play 2-3 minute songs so if you don’t like one, keep listening. It’ll be over soon.” As it turns, they needn’t have feared, as they get the first whoops of the night after their first song. Their unusually suave attire, jumping around the stage, and sense of humour gives them character and their rapid indie-rock pumped the energy into the room that everyone has been waiting for.
Introducing ‘Loser Rock’, lead vocalist and guitarist Daniel Ash quipped, “This is about how I lost my favourite rock”. While it got groans, at least it was finally clear that everyone was listening, even though it has taken embarrassment to get everyone’s attention. They are also the most talkative band there, devoting the majority of songs to various people, namely Alan McGee, personal friends at the front and their manager, the latter unfortunately provoking in-jokes that alienate most people.
While the night has been plagued with technical hiccups and scarred by the absence of McGee, the Greasy Lips Club is a success in uniting various genres despite a couple of the night’s sets being somewhat flawed.