It’s been a while since there’s been any new material from Kevin Rowland, his solo album of cover versions “My beauty” came out in 1999 and the last Dexys Midnight Runners album “Don’t stand me down” came out in 1986.
This makes tonight’s gig and the showcasing of the latest album, “One day I’m going to soar” all the more special for fans of Mr. Rowland and his take on the tortured soul artist. His band consists of a drummer and bass player, electric and acoustic guitar, a keyboard / sax player, old Dexys stalwart Mick Talbot on keyboards, Lucy Morgan on violin and original Dexys trombone player big Jim Patterson. Pete Williams (former Dexys bass player in the first incarnation of the band) shares some of the vocals duties and acts as a foil to the call and response conversational style of some of the lyrics.
The band file onto the stage in complete darkness then the mellow piano intro to “Now”, the first track on the album, starts things off. From there, they perform the album in track listing order. It works perfectly, Roland and Williams acting out the the lyrics as they strike poses in their dapper clothes.
At one point, Rowland sits at a stool and sings to a portrait of Madeline Hyland, their female singer and the “girlfriend / lover” in these new songs. She then makes an appearance on stage for “I’m always going to love you” and “Incapable of love”. Both songs call for Hyland to berate an apologetic Rowland as he professes his inability to commit to the relationship. Not sure how confessional these songs are on Rowlands’ part, but he’s always worn his heart on his sleeve.
The theatrical way the album is presented works really well, and the uptempo ending to the final song “It’s ok John Joe” closes the album on a high to huge applause from the appreciative crowd.
They encore with classic Dexys songs “Till I believe in my soul”, “Tell me when my lights turned green” and a version of “Come on Eileen” with an extended instrumental section that keeps everyone on their feet and clapping along. “Liars A to E” still sounds like the gem that it is, and when they finally close with “This is what she’s like”, we’ve heard nearly two hours of great songs delivered with passion and showmanship.
Great to see him on stage again and great to see his soul brother Jim Patterson still standing alongside him. I just hope it’s not another 26 years before we hear Kevin Rowland on a record again.