Mike Scott

The purpose of this evening’s events is a book reading by Mike Scott of his recent autobiography, Adventures of a Waterboy followed by an acoustic set with Steve Wickham on violin. The event has been moved from the Symphony Hall to one of the smaller halls of the ICC, allowing the audience to sit anywhere apart from the first two rows which makes a refreshing change. Shortly after 7.30, Mike Scott takes to the stage which is laid out with a rug, a couple of chairs, a guitar and what appears to be an electric sitar-like instrument. Mike Scott is the amiable frontman and driving force behind The Waterboys and he enters to sincere applause from true appreciators of his vast body of work. Scott begins the proceedings with one of his earliest memories of having music so firmly engrained in his head that he annoyed a bus driver, each passage finishing with Scott resolutely closing his book. Noticeably all the readings are beautifully written and read with such passion that Scott has the ability to transport the audience to the varying scenarios, whether it being beaten by a cabaret act called Revival in his first ever battle of the bands, watching Johnny Thunders in Camden or undertaking a recording session with Bob Dylan. Every incident is portrayed with humour and honesty that is would be impossible not to warm to the reader and his fascinating life; furthermore, I was so intrigued to hear the parts that were not included in the recitation that I bought the book at the end of the evening.

After an hour, the final episode about Scott’s amusing meeting with Wickham leads on superbly to the violinist entering the stage for the music to begin with Savage Earth Heart. The musical connection between the two is undeniable, exploring dynamics and pace instinctively and Steve’s use of harmonics in contrast to Mike’s chords demonstrates acoustic music at its finest. During Mad as the Mist and Snow, the pair are utterly wrapped up in the performance with both their feet tapping the beat with such power it is mesmerising. It is at this point that I wish this performance was being held at a venue that has more character and intimacy, such as Venue 2 of the Hare and Hounds. Mike Scott’s voice has the capacity to be so soothing and dreamlike yet change within a moment to encapsulate a rasping potency that adds such intensity to the songs. Scott tells stories about some of the songs they are performing such as the exquisitely repetitious Bring ‘Em All In and the retelling of the old folk song Low Down in the Broom. The most popular songs of the evening are the quaint love song A Man is in Love and the infectiously upbeat ditty, Fisherman’s Blues both of which demonstrate the importance of the violin in The Waterboys tracks, as Wickham’s fingers rampage delicately up and down the fret board. All too soon the set ends to a standing ovation and warm applause which resound long after the performers have left the stage and luckily entice them back to delight our ears with Pan Within and Saints and Angels, both of which proceed with acoustic excellence. As Scott and Wickham leave for the final time, I am left smiling inside as the music and reading combined produced a thoroughly enjoyable and uplifting evening that reminds me why I love The Waterboys so much; they make me so happy!

Gig Review by Toni Woodward
Photo of Mike Scott taken at The Sage, Gateshead by John Jobling


2 Responses to “Adventures of a Waterboy, an Evening with Mike Scott @ The ICC, Birmingham, UK – 17th October 2012”

  1. John Jobling Says:

    I was at the Gateshead reading..and you have encapsulated exactly what the experience of hearing Mike was like. That was the first time I had been to such an even and wasn’t expecting a lot. I had read the book beforehand- so knew the stories. But..Mike still brought them to life, and as you say, put you right there. The music was a great bonus as well!

    A great review. Will make me re-read the book!!

    I am jealous you got the Dylan story – we didn’t get that one!


  2. Toni Says:

    Thanks John, I would love to go for a beer with Mike Scott as he is so interesting. Thanks for letting gig junkies use your photo, it is great.

Leave a Reply