We went to see the Blow Monkeys at Cox’s Yard, a small upstairs room above a pub in Stratford-upon-Avon last night. After an 18-year hiatus, all four original members are back together for a tour of small-venue gigs up and down the country to plug their new CD, ‘The Devil’s Tavern’. It was snowing and several degrees below zero, but there couldn’t have been more than 75 people in there.

Deb last saw them in 1988 at the Roundhouse in London, playing to around 1,000. At Cox’s Yard, we were an arm’s length away. The once-chiselled Dr Robert had piled on quite a few pounds, and there was a suspicious degree of hat wearing among his fellow band members. But once they started playing, all sense of the poignancy of lost youth faded away. A tight four piece – each holding their own – they blasted through a set of old and new songs, with a surprisingly full style that stands up against the lush arrangements of their earlier studio offerings. Robert’s guitar work was a revelation, his tonsils have stood the test of time, and the BM’s soul-tinged pop still hits the spot. Yes, I’m still digging their scene – wouldn’t have missed it.

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