Echo & the Bunnymen Ace Their LA Show: Just prior to Echo & the Bunnymen arriving in Los Angeles for two nights at the Ace Hotel’s lavish theater, frontman Ian McCulloch told us that, “The LA gigs will show a band still wanting to prove its eternal brilliance. As always we’ll be aiming for the Stars and whatever lies beyond.”
We were hopeful that the man’s prophecy would be proven true, although there were warning signs. McCulloch has been sick during this tour, and he’s been suffering terribly with back issues. The notoriously harsh online community has been awash with complaints. Add the fact that they recently dropped off the Cruel World festival, and there were concerns to be had.
We needn’t have worried. While the singer did take a seat for a large portion of the show, his voice was magnificent throughout. Yes, his thick Scouse (Liverpudlian) accent can be hard to decipher when he’s bantering with the crowd between songs, but it’s kinda always been that way. All that matters is the performance, and his back issues couldn’t stop him. He usually stands still anyway, so the fact that he was sitting was barely noticeable.
Other classic member Will Sergeant was on fine form. No smiles, just full-on concentration, and some of the best post-punk riffs ever wrangled out of a guitar. The rest of the band sounded great too and, as McCulloch pointed out, they’re not hired hands — these are the Bunnymen.
The setlist was spectacular. New song “Brussels is Haunted” isn’t great, but it’s far from horrible. Everything else really is great though.
The first four songs were from the first two album Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here, before the more recent “Flowers” from the album of the same name. But “Bring on the Dancing Horses,” from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, was absolutely the highlight of the main part of the set, before the incredible conclusion.
That, predictably, is where the hits come in. It’s a wonderfully immersive combination punch that starts with “The Cutter,” runs through “Lips Like Sugar” and “The Killing Moon,” before topping the night off with “Ocean Rain.” Aaaaand catch your breath.
If Ian McCulloch wasn’t at 100 percent on Friday night, he proved that he can still rock your socks off. And any Cruel World disappointment has been exorcised.
Echo & the Bunnymen Ace Their LA Show
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