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pogues5Tanzbrunnen, Cologne, Germany
7th August 2012
The Pogues

The open air area of the Tanzbrunnen in Cologne was the perfectly chosen for the concert of Irish Folk Punkers THE POGUES. I did not see the band before and seeing that legend made me looking forward the concert following now.

Who’s speaking of the beginning of Irish Folk Punk, is also speaking of THE POGUES. The band was formed in 1982 in London as THE NEW REPUBLIC by Shane MacGowan (vocals, guitar) and Peter “Spider” Stacy (Tin Whistle). A year later, more band members joined in and the band name was changed into PUGUE MAHONE (“Kiss my ass”). The band reached international prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. When the first single ‘Dark Streets Of London’ was released in 1984, radio stations denied playing the song because of the band’s name. Anyway, the band was getting known by many due to diverse concerts in pubs and as support act for THE CLASH. Later, the band name was changed into THE POGUES and 1985 finally the band had its breakthrough. Since then, the band release seven studio albums until 1995 and until 2008 they released 8 compilations. Due to his excessive alcohol consume, singer Shane was kicked out of the band in 1991. Until 1995, the band tried to make it without their singer and did not succeed at all. They second last album ‘Waiting For Herb’ could not convince at all and so, the band split up. End of 2001 the band decided for a new beginning with singer and composer Shane on the microphone again. Since then, the band is giving constantly Best-of concerts all over the world. Current band members are Shane MacGowan (vocals, guitar, banjo, bodhrán), Spider Stacy (vocals, tin whistle), Jem Finer (banjo, mandola, saxophone, hurdy-gurdy, guitar, vocals), Andrew Ranken (drums, percussion, harmonica, vocals), James Fearnley (accordion, mandolin, piano, guitar), Philip Chevron (guitar, vocals), Darryl Hunt (bass guitar) and Terry Woods (mandolin, cittern, concertina, guitar, vocals). / /


Music & Performance
Yesterday evening was one of the rare dates for a concert of Irish Folk Punk legend in Germany. Besides Cologne, there were only Hamburg and Berlin on the schedule. Whoever has seen THE POGUES live knows that there might be some unforeseen things happening. Starting times are variable and so is the quality of the performance. But you need to admit that there are not many bands whose fans forgive them the caused problems due to excessive alcohol consume of one band member. After first some rain drops were falling down, right for the beginning of the show, the sky lightened and the weather was very appealing. The mild summer weather was perfect for such a concert evening. The mood of the attendees was overall excited und full of expectations. Relaxed, they accepted the 30 minutes delay with the words “Well, that’s THE POGUES…” When finally the musicians entered the stage short past 19:30, loud applause was breaking loose. First thing I witnessed was a dead drunk Shane MacGowan, shakily and with glassy eyes he welcomed the audience, in his hands a drink and a cigarette. The party started appropriate with ‘Streams Of Whiskey‘. From the beginning, people sang a long, danced and were throwing fill beer cups in direction of the stage. The Folk veterans intonated as next song ‘If I Should Fall From Grace With God’ and people kept on celebrating. No matter which song was played, hands were up and feet kept moving. In-between some sings, Shane tried some announcements, but he was hardly understandable. In the second half, his voice was suffering from the alcohol, so his singing was more a melodic babbling. But still most people were still partying and singing along to ‘Greenland Whale Fisheries’, ‘Tuesday Morning’ and ‘The Sunnyside Of The Street’. Of course, classics ‘Dirty Old Town’ and the encore ‘Irish Rover’ were the biggest highlights.


Sound-wise, I felt the volume a bit too low, especially when during the show all of a sudden, the level went down cause unsteadily “Louder, louder” screams. Every now and then, there were little mistakes in the play of the band, but this was causing more a smile than some mourning. After five encore songs, the show ended already around 9 in the evening. Musically, means the band, the show by THE POGUES was surely an experience. The mood was great and infecting. The big downside was the terrible vocal performance of alcoholic Shane… that always was and is tolerated by his fans. So, for me, the concert was not an overall positive experience due to the vocals. Different to that, most attendees obviously had lots of fun… maybe also due to one or more beers they had during the evening….

01. Streams Of Whiskey
02. If I Should Fall From Grace With God
03. Broad Majestic Shannon
04. Greenland Whale Fisheries
05. A Pair Of Brown Eyes
06. Tuesday Morning
07. Kitty
08. The Sunnyside Of The Street
09. Repeal Of The Licensing Laws
10. Lullaby Of London
11. Body Of An American
12. Dirty Old Town (Cover)
13. Bottle Of Smoke
14. The Sick Bed Of Chuchulainn
15. Sally MacLennane
16. Rainy Night In Soho
17. Irish Rover
18. Poor Paddy
19. Fiesta

Music: 5
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 5
Total: 6 / 10


All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / / /

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