Driving By Night
This Monday show is brought to you by the letter 'M'. As in Morrissey, misery, Ian McCullough and misanthropy. You've got a problem with that? Listen to the singer fella on stage, putting us all down, looking into our black hearts and finding us collectively lacking. "Eighty per cent of the people in the audience are evil!", he snorts. And then his sings this rather morose song with the promise that the object of his love will enjoy "the better part of me".
Driving By Night have been forged in moments of regret, guilt and pessimism. That's not a terrific recommendation in itself. The extra value is in the band's determination to battle onwards, to find that little glimmer of goodness. And the engine that drives this journey is Neal Hughes and his fluttering voice.
He always had a distinctive style. Back in the days of Tyler, he was beautifully lost, singing high, reaching out of the band's introverted tunes. In the last year or two he's been over-stressing his skill, pushing for attention when he might have held back a little.
Now there seems to be some kind of a balance. He's coming to the front of the stage, willing the audience to commit, staring into the middle distance. But he's not hurling the passion around needlessly and the other band members are sensibly working around the voice. On the new single 'Fears Of Men' he's found the girl and the rapture and swears that he'll not be untrue.
Eighty percent evil. But twenty percent pure. The odds aren't so sweet but the struggle continues.
Photo by Stuart Bailie