So Lockdown, did we mention we’re still under lockdown? No live shows No clubs or venues heaving with happy smiling people falling out into the late evening streets. Well before the apocalypse, there were bands who toured the globe in search of those happy smiling faces and entertaining them with their tunes of merriment and creating memories that would last a lifetime some of those bands were exceptionally good at entertaining and one of them has decided to release one such evening in Sweden for our listening pleasure. Not wanting to be down about it that band – Duncan Reid & The Big Heads were to be fair or should that read are exceptionally good at, to be fair I’ve also said that as much as I love the music on record or CD live is where they really do shine and the sound (complete and dare I say enhanced) with its rough edges is much better for the energy and living in the moment than they can capture on record.
For those of you who don’t know, Duncan used to be one of The Boys so knows a thing or two about writing top tunes and about what it takes to be a great Rock and Roll band and to his credit, he’s surrounded himself with some excellent musicians (in their own right) and musicians who trade off each other to create what is one of the finest bands you could wish to see in any venue be it the cavernous surroundings of the theatre at Rebellion or a small upstairs room of a Bristol Bar they will come and rock the socks off you and you will bloody well enjoy every minute of it. This leads me in a roundabout sort of way to why these words are here.
‘Live at Akkurat’ might not be the Hollywood bowl nor is it Maddison Square Gardens but I bet the audience that evening of this recording didn’t care a jot because they were too busy having the time of their lives with Duncan and his Big Heads.
The album kicks off with the sprightly ‘Can’t Stop’ and motors straight into the boptastic ‘Montevideo’ the band means business and the recording has (thankfully) captured what the band exudes in the live surroundings and that’s the best of times and of course some top tunes. Going from the opening track off ‘Bombs Away’ straight into the first album deep cut of ‘Montevideo’ is a fantastic one-two. Heading for the hattrick there a raw ‘Cèst La Vie’ that motors along.
Duncan’s interval banter isn’t lost on the Swedes as he introduces ‘Baby Doll’ and again the mix of synth and raw guitars works well. You do get to hear how tight the band is which might be lost when you’re watching them live such is the amount of energy they put into every performance and the blend of keys and guitars works a treat on ‘Just Because You’re Paranoid’. ‘Rolling On’ sounds great and the vocals are excellent as it heads into ‘Bombs Away’ that certainly benefits from the rough edges of a live performance.
Through all twelve songs on offer here you do get the sense of how bloody good this band is and what a good songwriter Duncan is. Over the post Boys output how he’s managed to pen some right belters, ‘C’mon Josephine’ into ‘Wasting Time’ and then into ‘That’s The Way It Is’ followed by the epic ’77’ they’re very different songs but blend together so well and show off those talents.
Before the end, we get to hear the band take on and pay respect to his previous day job and Honest John Plain in particular with a great rendition of ‘First Time’ which only leaves a trashy romp through ‘One Time In Rio’ before bowing out.
Whilst it’s fantastic to hear this recording and I’m sure everyone who downloads this album will agree its a double-edged treat, on the one hand, it’s a fitting tribute to a great live band, the flip side is I feel sad that it’s been over twelve months since I’ve been to a sweaty venue and clapped eyes on a live rock and roll band like Duncan Reid & The Big Heads. Hopefully, this can signal the beginning of the end of a real Annus horribilis for us live music fans and with this recording, at least we can celebrate what live music should be all about. Entertaining, Great songs, great performers great live set. Just Buy it! that’s my advice because it’s like a ray of sunshine and a reminder of what’s coming soon enough when we can all experience this again. Good on you Duncan and those Big Heads you rock! All for a fiver? Bargain of the year!
Buy it Here
Author: Dom Daley