Review: Razorlight – Limelight 1, Belfast
At the minute there is a debate in the live music world around the pros and cons of venues publishing stage times for shows and tonight, if you paid attention to the published times, you may well have missed the beginning of the Razorlight set as they rocked onto stage some 15 minutes earlier than advertised.
For those that made sure they came to the venue in good time you were treated to a show, albeit a little shorter than maybe expected at 75 minutes but what cannot be overlooked is the fact this band has come back after a 10 year hiatus bursting with energy and a fist full of new tunes that sit well within a set full of classic Razorlight anthems. They are back.
‘Rip it Up’ opens the set with a vigour that continues throughout the show. The crowd knows every word of ‘In The Morning’ and a full blown sing-along two songs in gives an indication of the night that will unfold.
2018 saw the release of a new material and tracks from this album, Olympus Sleeping get a fair hearing. ‘Brighton Pier’ and ‘Midsummer Girl’ carry a ska vibe and this is a thread running through a lot of this material. Certainly nothing to be ashamed of and these tracks sound even better than on the record when delivered in the live arena.
Johnny Borrell is an enigma and not shy in self publicising his lyrical genius. And on top of this he can carry off a dark blue boiler suit and pair of white converse, his attire for the evening, perfectly.
‘Golden Touch’ is the first proper Razorlight classic, one of many throughout the evening and everyone in this audience is singing their hearts out. It is a wonderful sight.
When the band play ‘I Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got’ it begs the question that if the band are enjoying this half as much as the full house at the Limelight, then they surely must be loving this tonight. There is no let up, no slow down and if anyone in the crowd had forgotten how good Razorlight are then this show gave them a timely reminder.
‘Japanrock’ has Johnny Borrell at his finest, centre of attention and loving himself and all that he does. And that is fine, because this is how it should be for us all. ‘In The City’ rumbles and rocks and rolls with traces of The Doors, shades of ‘Gloria’ by Them and a little of U2’s ‘Bullet The Blue Sky’ sprinkled in for good measure.
The drum beat is driving this all at a relentless pace, singing and dancing is full on to ‘Before I Fall To Pieces’ for this packed audience. ‘Who Needs Love’ asks the song and answers it immediately, not I, but we are getting a whole load of love tonight.
It looks like bands like Razorlight, Shed Seven and The Charlatans will be around forever. There are no big arenas for them but what more could anyone ask for than a thumping sound and sweat dripping off the walls, and indeed Johnny Borrell’s mop of hair. This is music being put out there in it’s rawest form and this is exactly how it should be.
‘Stumble and Fall’ is old school Razorlight and is loud, crashing and songalongy, if there is such a phrase. New Razorlight in the form of the title track from their latest album ‘Olympus Sleeping’ opens like its going to morph into Eddie Cochrane’s ‘Summertime Blues’ but holds back and gives us little glimpses of 80’s punk. And it works.
Under a single spotlight Johnny Borrell and a keyboard accompaniment open ‘Wire to Wire’ which builds and then bursts into life. It is indeed a hostile condition as the song tells us. ‘Somewhere Else’ from the album Up All Night is just rocking and the off drumbeat of ‘Carry Yourself’ is just beautiful and is reminiscent of Two Door Cinema Club, whether that is justified is unsure, but it sounds good.
‘Got To Let The Good Times Back Into Your Life’ just streams sunshine and this is a tune that is going to give you the feel good factor. ‘Sorry?’ brings us nearly to the end of this show and it just leaves Borrell to yell “F*ck Donald Trump” before launching into ‘America’. It is a huge anthem and this Belfast crowd gives it everything in screaming “there’s panic in America”, “there’s trouble in America” and and ultimately do their best to blow the roof off the place.
10 years away for Razorlight was forgiven and forgotten in just 75 minutes of a fantastic show. It was simply that.