Tuesday, 31 December, 2019 in Culture, Live Reviews, Music

Into Music Reviews: Goodbye Mr MacKenzie & The Filthy Tongues

Act: Goodbye Mr MacKenzie & The Filthy Tongues
Venue: Edinburgh Liquid Room
Date: 29 December 2019

It was with a sense of anticipation that I headed off into the cold chilly Edinburgh night to the Liquid Room for my last gig of not only 2019, but also the decade. I’d seen The Filthy Tongues (they never disappoint) and Goodbye Mr MacKenzie a few times before, albeit not the latter for c30 odd years.

The Filthy Tongues played a short set comprising songs mainly from their excellent 2 studio albums, Jacob’s Ladder and Back To Hell, their dark, brooding sound in the heart of Edinburgh’s underbelly, intrinsically suited.

The set started with The Ghost Of Rab McVie before High soared and almost blew the roof off, drums and bass in a rising cacophonous fury before a jarring and infectious guitar with sublime feedback courted the song to a blistering conclusion, utterly sublime. Latest single Mummy Can’t Drive brought matters to a close, fitting in seamlessly with the rest of the set, singer Martin Metcalfe’s urgent vocal perfect for the impatient and pounding drums which underpin the song so well.

With the crowd suitably warmed up, Goodbye Mr MacKenzie soon took the stage, the full band cheered on, with an extra special welcome for guitarist Big John Duncan.

Thereafter, we heard over an hour of top tunes and a band who were on top of their game throughout. Derek Kelly (drums) and Fin Wilson (bass) kept the rhythm gliding along nicely while Big John and Jim Brady (The Rezillos) provided lead and rhythm guitars. Rona Scobie on keyboards provided that sound that is synonymous with Goodbye Mr MacKenzie. Backing vocals were also a stand out, provided by Marie Claire from the band Seil Lien. Singer Martin Metcalfe is the ideal front man, enigmatic, dressed head to toe in black, with a wide brimmed hat and dark sunglasses, prowling the stage and conducting the audience like a puppet on a string.

Wake It Up and His Masters Voice featured early and the songs kept coming from their eponymous debut album Good Deeds And Dirty Rags. Mid way through, a cover of The Shop Assistants Somewhere In China is added in for good measure.

The trio of songs to end the set are exceptional and the band really let loose (as do the crowd) with Open Your Arms, Goodbye Mr MacKenzie and The Rattler going down a storm. By this point, condensation is dripping from the walls, the band having giving it their all (as have the crowd with one or two casualties having to take a breather to the side or back)!

The encore starts with the band’s version of The Way I Walk, sung by Big John, a cover of the cover The Cramps recorded. Goodwill City and Now We Are Married follow which brings the concert to a satisfying climax……..well almost. As the band leave the stage, Metcalfe wants more and leads the crowd on a brief but great acapella reprise of The Rattler.

Simply, a great gig to end not only the year but the decade – if you get the chance to see either The Filthy Tongues or Goodbye Mr MacKenzie in 2020, take it, you won’t be disappointed.

John Welsh



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