Ian McNabb

The Citadel, St Helens
26th March 2011

Words and Image by Sebastian Gahan

‘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 atmosphere.

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!

For more info: www.ianmcnabb.com

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