Babybird – Deaf Institute 29/11/19
Reviewer: Matthew Forrest
There was a lot to admire about tonight’s Babybird gig. First and foremost, in Stephen Jones you have a performer comfortable in his surroundings, so comfortable in fact that he clearly doesn’t give a toss, what you, I, or anyone else thinks. And quite frankly the night is all the better for this, as we get an unchecked, unrestrained and fearless performance.
There could be numerous reasons for this don’t-give-a-fuck attitude. Jones suffered a heart attack over a year ago which certainly alters your outlook on life. Could it be the current state of British politics, which as we all know, is beyond parody, or maybe it’s a clear disdain for an industry that lambasted Jones as quick as they lauded him.
With a 90-minute set spanning five albums worth of material, the four-piece work their way through tunes like Cornershop, Failed Suicide Club and the first big sing-along of the night, If You’ll be Mine. This is a raw, dirty show with a punk attitude flowing through not just the band but the audience too. Jones frequently pokes fun at himself, whilst having the odd verbal joust with a crowd member, never with malice but certainly with a bit of an edge; without filter or regard it’s difficult to know what is fact and fiction.
The main set draws to a close with fan favourite, Bad Old Man, which Jones dedicates to his trans father, done with a cheeky mischievous grin. Rather inevitably during the encore the band serve up their biggest hit, and their curse, the Britpop anthem, Your Gorgeous which Jones says “is what you’ve all come to hear”; which does a disservice to him, his band and the audience: this wasn’t about one song, it was a night of music filled with bite, substance and attitude, more importantly Stephen Jones may not need the music industry, but the music industry certainly needs more Stephen Jones’!
To listen to more of their great music, have a look at https://xbabybird.bandcamp.com/