The Boomtown Rats at the O2 Academy,Birmingham, 6th November 2013.
With support from Patrik Fitzgerald.
Irish punk rockers The Boomtown Rats had a string of hits in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s but have not been seen together since their final show in Dublin in May 1986. In 2008 original members Simon Crowe (drums) and Garry Roberts (guitar) partly re-formed the Rats and resurrected the Rat sound with Gerry Cott (guitar) and Johnnie Fingers (keyboards) joining in on occasion. Thus the catalyst was set for a reunited band line-up that Rat fans have been longing for, which eventually materialised this year. Twenty seven years has been a long time waiting for the Rats to get back together with Bob Geldof at the helm, would it be as good as hoped?? Hell yeah!!
None of the youthful swagger of Sir Bob Geldof has been lost. Sir Bob, who is famously remembered for being one of the main organizers of the 1980’s Ethiopian relief efforts, Band Aid and Live Aid, brought the faux-snakeskin suit out of retirement and together with original Rat members Garry Roberts, Pete Briquette and Simon Crowe, cranked up the energy to put in a show that was truly fantastic. Although the audience in Birmingham mostly consisted of long time fans, the angry disaffected punk message was still there to be appreciated by both young and old. As Sir Bob pointed out, their hit ‘Banana Republic’ still carried the message of political corruption in their native Ireland that is as relevant today as it was when released in 1980. The screaming saxophone intro to ‘Rat Trap’ and the spine-tingling piano start to ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ still sounded as fresh as ever. In between songs Sir Bob entertained us with tales from back in the day. Overall Sir Bob and co. gave a great performance and led a mighty nostalgic trip down punk memory lane that was one hell of a ride even without Johnny Fingers and his famous stripy pyjamas. Just looking around for the mainstream bands of today that are sounding off on a political message…. mmm…difficult one that.
Singer-songwriter Patrik Fitzgerald began recording and performing during the punk rock movement in 1977 and soon developed his unique folk-punk style at his solo acoustic gigs. On stage tonight he started off singing to an electronic backing tape, later switching to an acoustic guitar. Words full of tragedy, comedy, cynicism, realism, bitterness and just occasionally hope filled the set but were seemingly lost in the background noise of the vast Academy. There was no better example of his ambivalent punk DIY attitude when announcing one track off his new CD stating ‘This is off the new CD, but I haven’t got any with me’ thus showing he isn’t too bothered with commerciality. Patrik Fitzgerald is not a household name, but to his loyal followers he is a punk icon and just as important and as inspirational as other more memorable members of the genre.
See the full picture sets here:
Words and pictures by Stephen Turner