Gig Review and Photography by Helen Williams

The Bluetones

What better way to indulge in a bit of 90s nostalgia than an evening with Cockney Britpop superstars, The Bluetones? They’ve pulled an impressive crowd for their 20th anniversary reunion tour (or ‘cash-in’ as frontman Mark Morriss quips), packing out the Birmingham Academy, despite their 4 year hiatus.

The Bluetones

Self-confessed ‘lead mincer’, Morriss, who has been focussing on his solo career since the band’s split in 2011, bounds on stage and immediately has full control over his adoring audience. They lap up every second of their almost 2 hour set, kicking off with Are You Blue Or Are You Blind?, Cut Some Rug, and Mudslide.

The Bluetones

The Bluetones’ back catalogue is impressively diverse, with their music ranging from indie, folk, blues, and even funk – when Morriss picks up his electro-acoustic guitar, to accompany the electric and bass guitars, keyboards, and drums, they produce a surprisingly heavy sound.

The Bluetones

The band joke that part of tonight’s set will be dedicated to eight new unfinished tracks, and that some songs have been rewritten to feature raps in the middle eights, but thankfully that’s not the case and instead they crank out all the familiar hits, with fan favourites Bluetonic, Slight Return, Solomon Bites The Worm, Marblehead Johnson, Tiger Lily, and After Hours all making an appearance.

The Bluetones

Morriss is charming, charismatic, and very comfortable to be back centre stage. Chatting with the crowd in between almost every song, he’s so at ease and clearly very appreciative of the unexpected support from their fans. He jokes that they’re indulging themselves by playing what they want rather than ’necessarily what you want to hear’ and that’s ‘why we’ve locked all the exits’ – but every song is well received and a joy to hear.

The Bluetones

They end the set on the anthemic Putting Out Fires before returning for their encore: After Hours and Teenage Jesus are followed up with a delightfully shambolic cover of Minder theme I Could Be So Good For You. They round things off with firm favourite If… whose chorus lyrics resonate perfectly with the reunion:

The BluetonesThe Bluetones

It’s all that I can do to,
Sing these stupid songs to you,
I give up half my time just,
Trying to think up words that rhyme.
I ain’t getting any younger,
But you wouldn’t know,
So it’s on with the show.

The Bluetones

As we filter out to make way for the ‘young people’s disco’, we’re left wondering what the future holds for the newly reformed band. It’s plain that being back onstage together is a real pleasure for the entire group, bur despite jokes about new material, it looks like the future of the band is yet to be decided. As Mark points out, younger brother and bass player, Scott Morriss, now lives in Tokyo which ‘makes rehearsals a bit difficult, and Skype isn’t what it used to be’, but who knows where this reunion tour could lead? There’s certainly enough support in the room tonight to warrant a comeback.

The BluetonesThe Bluetones

Support came from The Standard Lamps and Living Island (featuring none other than the son of Bluetones’ drummer, Eds Chesters’ on drums).

The Bluetones

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