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The Zutons
Zut alors! It's a plea to the packed Ulster Hall congregation. "Why won't you give me your love?" they call, and the hordes holler back with a lusty affirmation of their adoration for the Scouse five piece. With their bountiful call-and-response choruses, the Zutons provide us with an evening of jovial sing-along shenanigans, just the thing to rouse those dormant festive feelings.

On record they're a pleasant enough proposition, but live they really ratchet things up, the sinewy, pop-rock prize-fighters transformed into thumping heavyweights. The savage drumming of the Afro-tastic, Sean Payne, on the likes of 'Oh Stacey' and 'Pressure Point' has much to do with this. In fact, it seems that one drumkit is not enough to sate the fiend and a second set of skins is wheeled on midway through the performance.

His Zutons' brethren are equally as assured, the album tracks given a little added oomph, all the better to stomp all over the Ulster Hall. Dave McCabe is charmingly unshowy, all man of the people la, Boyan Chowdbury and Russell Pritchard are focussed on the job at hand, consummate musicians plying us with frenzied guitar and fuzzy bass respectively, whilst Abi Harding does a nice line in sassy sax.

It is in their ability to mix things up that the Zutons particularly impress, the pop-rock pugilists delivering raw blues, scally stoner-rock, sweet pop harmonies and with the encore of 'Zuton Fever' and 'Valerie' some devastating melodic hooks. They're a good time band, Mersey Mersey me, they're the latter-day Madness!

Francis Jones
Photo by Alan Maguire


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Gig Details
Venue: Ulster Hall
Location: Belfast
Date: 7/12/2006