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  • Writer's pictureJO'B

Byrne's Night - You May Find Yourself in a Hackney Club...

In 2023, I spotted something curious on the DICE ticket app - "David Byrne's Night", an evening of the music of Talking Heads and Mr B, played by members of some 20 plus indie groups, the most famous of whom were Sports Team. The show celebrated Burns' night and the Talking Heads maestro's Scottish origins.

Me, Mrs JO'B, Geordie Jo and Paul toddled along in 2023, got squiffy and had a ball. The tickets were only £5.50 and the waiting list was over 1,300 long - pretty impressive for what could have been a shambles. You can watch a fair chunk of last year's show on YouTube here.

Once again, we were fortunate to spot they were repeating the show - the price hiked to £15 - still cheap as chips - and they have now added in a matinee show to respond to demand. They could do this in a much bigger venue, and charge more - it really is a cracking idea, brilliantly executed. But I am glad it's at the tiny MOTH Club - with a capacity of 300 or so, it's a jubilant, intimate experience. Me, Mrs JO'B and our friend Matt head in early and bagsy some hard fought for seats as some 30 plus musicians pose for a group photo, before the show kicks off.

You can see the Byrne/Burn pun is not shied away from, the Giving Heads particularly enjoying their temporary moniker. Hit after Talking Heads hit are belted out with youthful gusto, the show held together by a singer called Alistair and the marvellous host from last year, Ash Kenazi, the OG drag Jewish Princess - both MCing and herding a chaotic number of musicians into a slick, well timed, brilliant show.

Psycho Killer kicks things off, and is followed by interpretations of well known tracks like Making Flippy Floppy, Slippery People, Warning Sign, Thank You For Sending An Angel, Take Me To The River, Swamp, Cities, Born Under Punches, plus less obvious numbers like Mind, Pull Up The Roots and The Book I Read.

Each set begins with a reading of a Rabbie Burns poem, including the satanic orgy of Tam O'Shanter (well, that's what I think the guy reading it said!). Bagpipes even make an appearance. The whole show is the brilliant idea of two women who read the poems along with some of their fellow Scots (though I fail to catch their names and wish I could tell them what an amazing night it was).

Back to the music, and big suits are worn with enthusiasm, as the big hits are wheeled out - Tom Tom Club's Genius Of Love, plus And She Was, This Must Be The Place, Life During Wartime, Girlfriend Is Better, Burning Down The House, Heaven (the only performance I felt fell a little short, too much Stevie Nicks, rather than being more cool Tina Weymouth), Road To's amazing stuff. The crowd, predominantly in their 20s, rather than the 50s you might reasonably expect, know all the words. It's a life restoring show, showing that Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z - whatever, we are just all music fans.

The show closes with Ash tearing the gold, glittery lamé roof down, with a stonking version of Once In A Lifetime. Dressed in a skinless body suit, Ash is drag meets haggis - unique.

We leave knackered and hoarse from singing along, and plan to return for the 3rd year's show in 2025. Next year I am just getting as many tickets as I can and I will be dragging some of you along, because, whilst the band are talking again, I cannot see them touring - this is a pretty bloody great tribute and the best alternative. Next year you may find yourself in an ex-army social club, turned hipster venue and if you've read this, you will know how you got there.

Stay safe, and if you enjoyed this, please subscribe (see link below), x


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