The Citadel, St Helens
26th March 2011
Words and Image by
‘Rock 'n' Roll on a Saturday night in St Helens?’ said Ian
McNabb at one point during the night.
‘Well, someone’s gotta do it!’ was the reply.
And he did. With a breezy manner and stacks of great and classic songs
to work with he filled up The Citadel in St Helens, a small theater located
just off the by now deserted - but for pigeons - high street. Performing
solo tonight, and as ever full of creative beans he wowed the crowd of
people with classic song after song and it wasn’t just the older
generation, full of memories of The Icicle Works heydays that turned up
as well. There was a broad range of people present in various states of
sobriety and candor and the night was never less than electric in its
McNabb, coated in blue lights, cut a youthful figure despite his long
tenure in the music world and it was plain to see that if he ever does
decide to age, it’s going to be in pure rock n roll style. Looking
smart as ever in his trademark shades he beckoned the crowd closer to
the stage with a brash but warm ‘Come here, don’t be scared!’
and soon he was surrounded by his audience. He played two sets over the
night, mostly acoustic, and this made his always passionate singing voice
stand out even more on many great songs including such classics as Fire
Inside, Mersey Beast, Fever andOught to Be Law.
The audience from the get go were encouraged to join in and they obviously
knew the songs as well McNabb himself as they were on perfect time all
the way through when they did get incited to join in. Indeed, at one point
a member of the audience revealed she’d seen him on the 10B bus
to which McNabb was replied ‘You know, I don’t use public
transport!’ later quipping that he ‘can’t go out anymore’
when the same person revealed he’d been spotted at Lark Lane too.
It was a hilarious moment of genuine audience interaction that many artists
would avoid but McNabb handled it brilliantly and memorably. A truly local
artist! In fact, I may have seen him on the 10B myself...
With the Thirtieth Anniversary of The Icicle Works looming in the distance
– if not here right now! – it’s a good time to catch
an artist still in his prime and as brilliant in his solo career as with
the band. This was a brilliant show, oozing with genuine wit, literate
songs and talent to run wild with.
Catch McNabb in concert soon and try to hunt down those Icicle Works
tickets before they vanish forever!
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