It’s been a while but things are seeing a return to some sort of normality as live shows pick up some steam and bands shake off the rust of a couple of years in hibernation. Bradfords New Model Army are one of those bands who’ve been actively touring the globe for forty years and some and tonight it was a first as the band rolled into the very nice surroundings of the industrial town’s theatre for a night of alternative treats and a hefty back catalogue that needed purging. It seemed fitting for New Model Army and Sullivan’s lyrics always remind me of places like Port Talbot, gritty working-class towns that keep you honest and where people have worked hard for what they have and that’s reflected in the music and lyrics to one side of the town is a magnificent view and a bay that sweeps for miles whilst the backdrop is huge foreboding mountains leading to the North pretty much as it has been for decades and decades so with this backdrop hearing ‘End Of days’ strike up the band sounded up for it and the evening’s entertainment began.
The last few years have seen the band release several epic albums that are every inch as good as their earlier commercial breakthroughs such as ‘No Rest’, ‘Thunder And Consolation’ and ‘The Ghost Of Cain’. Songs like ‘1984’ seemed poignant and could have been written in the past few months never mind decades. Keeping it current the superb ‘Never Arriving’ and ‘From Here’ played back to back sounded monumental through the excellent PA.
Those present were treated to an eighteen song set with ‘Western Dreams’ taking me right back as the bass thumped my chest But there was some great interaction from Sullivan as he introduced the songs and offered up thoughts on whats going on in Eastern Europe and how grateful he was to be back doing what he loves doing. ‘Born Ferel’ from ‘Winter’ was a welcome breath catcher.
‘Impuritys’ ‘Before I Get Old’ was reflective whilst the band stayed with the album for a run through the spikey ‘Vanity’ fitting in seamlessly alongside ‘Where I Am’ the last song played from the recent ‘From Here’.
As we hit the home straight it was back to the beginning for a blast of ‘Bittersweet’ before an epic run through ‘Angry Planet’ with its brutal power chords never seemed more apt than right now. As the band offered up a couple more thacks for the encore it was ‘Courage’ from ‘The Ghost Of Cain’ before finally bowing out with a magnificent run through the life-affirming chorus of ‘I Love The World’ rang out through the steel towns corridors. It might have taken them forty-two years to get here but it was worth the wait. Hopefully, it won’t be long before I get the pleasure of seeing the New Model Army again. Always a pleasure and never a chore and nights like this I certainly love the world!
Author: Dom Daley