Echo And The Bunnymen Archive

Echo and the Bunnymen – Stormy Weather/Bring On the Dancing Horses (Live)

Mac and crew were back in NYC after changes in US visa laws kept them out of the country for the initial tour in support of their excellent album, that landed on my best-of 2009 list, The Fountain. I have seen this band many times, but this particular outing was exceptionally good. One reason I think I liked it so much is Echo and crew steered away from just performing Songs to Learn and Sing and acknowledged that they have some great songs on their recent releases that need to be aired live.

As comes standard with Echo and the Bunnymen shows these days, there is plenty of between songs incoherent, yet somehow entertaining, rambling/mumbling by Ian McCulloch and as also occurred in NYC shows of previous tours, Ian asked if Billy Crystal was in the audience. ?!? At the end of “Stormy Weather” [see below] is an extended segment of a particularly mystifying verbal interlude. I would appreciate it if someone who can decipher ‘Mac-speak’ would provide a transcript of what he is saying…or at least a gist.

I am also including “Bring on the Dancing Horses”, not only because I am such a swell dude, but because it features a nice bit of crowd participation in the chorus. Enjoy.

[audio:|titles=Stormy Weather (Live)|artists=Echo and the Bunnymen]

Download: Echo and the Bunnymen – Stormy Weather (Live)

[audio:|titles=Bring On the Dancing Horses (Live)|artists=Echo and the Bunnymen]

Download: Echo and the Bunnymen – Bring On the Dancing Horses (Live)

Echo & the Bunnymen – Think I Need It Too

Woah! This one totally slipped under my radar. Echo & the Bunnymen have a new record being released on October 12 which is being followed up with a full US tour later this month. I caught them on their tour in 2005 and was blown away by how good of a performance it was. I can only imagine how wonderful it would have been to catch them playing Ocean Rain in it’s entirety last year. But by the sounds of this track, they will have no problem fitting in the new songs right alongside of the classics everyone knows and loves.

[audio:|titles=Think I Need It Too|artists=Echo & the Bunnymen]

Download: Echo & the Bunnymen – Think I Need It Too

Crocodiles – New York City, NY – 10/25/03

Arlene Grocery
New York City, NY

CMJ used to have its theme nights among those visiting for the conference. Wednesday: warm up, Thursday: secret show, Friday: killer sets, Saturday: the mad scramble before heading back to college. My year was 1997 but this particular CMJ Saturday in 2003 felt all the same. After catching the Waco Brothers and Paul Burch in Brooklyn, awaiting PW Long to never eventually show at the Continental, and Damon Che to put me on the list for the reformed Don Cab at CBGB (for seriously the loudest concert in history), I eventually headed to Arlene Grocery to catch this late night set. As I recall, the show began about 2:40am (the fog machines started full blast at 2:15).

Now as a little background, I’m a sucker for theme records, which arguably have made for some of the best albums ever: The Who’s “Tommy,” Afghan Whigs “Gentlemen,” Black Sabbath “Black Sabbath,” the Drag City AC/DC 7 inch sides, and Colonel Jeffrey Pumpernickel. Sorry Walkmen, yours was a stinker. At the time of the show here, I was largely unaware of theme concerts aside from Cheap Trick’s album concerts or a Bob Dylan tribute at MSG. Turns out there’s at least a small history to it outside of KISS nutjobs, particularly in indie rock, with mimicked play, instruments, and accents; some of the best ones discovered by me since the show here including Shellac and David Yow masquerading as the Sex Pistols on a Halloween, and The Feelies as VU under the moniker “Foggy Notion.” Arguably, even the Slint reunion tours fit this bill, having to purposefully (and very successfully) sound like their prior selves using dated equipment. At the time of my attendance to this show, my concept of theme cover bands was colored by an experience at the Toy Tiger on Derby Day 1998 when Operation Re-information, Trans Am, and Don Cab killed it before about 75 people, only to be booted from their early show by the eager crowd outside anticipating the carnage of late sets by Hell’s Bells and Crazy Train.

So the billing on this particular evening was “Crocodiles, featuring Scott Kannberg” (Spiral Stairs of Pavement and Preston School of Industry), playing Echo and the Bunnymen’s first album. I must admit I’m a bigger Pavement than Bunnymen fan, but was up for this seemingly unique nightcap to the mad scramble. Notably, the real deal had played Radio City earlier that night. A few were in attendance for the real show (presumably the band among them), and all reported perfection in reproduction 4 key features of any good cover band, well, at least of any good Echo cover band: intro music, fog density, accents, and guitar jangliness.

Kannberg is a big fan of The Echo & the Bunnymen, having contributed to liner notes of the 2003 remaster of “Crocodiles,” and singer Kelley Stoltz had recorded his own version of the album in 2001, later to be released by Sub Pop in 2006. So what you have here is the running order of the US version of the first Echo record, with individuals whose chops and fog were in the right place. I was told after the show that some Echo members were in the audience, but I never heard about their impressions (intro music, fog density, accents, guitar jangliness, or otherwise).

1. Intro
2. Going Up
3. Stars Are Stars
4. Pride
5. Monkeys
6. Crocodiles
7. Rescue
8. Villiers Terrace
9. Read it in Books
10. Pictures on My Wall
11. All That Jazz
12. Happy Death Men
13. Do It Clean

Sample: [audio:|titles=Do It Clean (Live)|artists=Crocodiles]

Download: Crocodiles – New York City, NY – 10/25/03 – 207 MB

The Monday Set: Ian McCulloch – London – 11-6-89

Ian McCulloch
Kilburn National
London, UK

Even though the sound quality of this average audience recording isn’t anything to get excited about, the track listing is stellar. And from what I can gather, Ian ended most of his “Candleland” shows with a great cover of Joy Division’s Ceremony.

1. The Flickering Wall
2. The White Hotel
3. Toad
4. Rescue
5. Horses Head
6. Faith & Healing
7. Candleland
8. I Know You Well
9. Killing Moon
10. Fear Of The Known
11. Rocket Ship
12. In Bloom
13. The Cape
14. Proud To Fall
15. Damnation
16. Pots of Gold
17. Ceremony

Sample: [audio:|titles=Ceremony (Live)|artists=Ian McCulloch]

Download: Ian McCulloch – London – 11-6-89 – 559 MB

Echo And The Bunnymen – Thorn of Crowns (Live)

Echo and the Bunnymen played a limited three city tour featuring the performance of their seminal album Ocean Rain, played in its entirety, accompanied by an orchestra. The classic album tour has seemed to have caught on with those that can make such claims since Sonic Youth, Killing Joke, and Built to Spill have also recently toured behind their ‘classic’ albums rather than behind new releases. I suppose this idea was first hatched by Brian Wilson when he performed the famously lost album ‘Smile‘ back in 2004. (I think Wilson followed up with a tour of ‘Pet Sounds‘ as well.)

As a rule, I am a proponent of bands showcasing the new material rather than re-hash greatest hits. As I have already noted on TSOI, Echo and the Bunnymen lamentably seem to be perpetually touring under ‘Songs to Learn and Sing‘ with a few new songs off of the latest album thrown-in as an afterthought. For many, that is probably acceptable, but Echo and the Bunnymen entered my top 10 favorite all-time bands largely due to the strength their post 80s output, starting with the “What are you going to do with your life”.

So far, my verdict on bands touring behind old albums is a good one since, in this case, it forced Echo and crew to play songs on Ocean Rain that aren’t Seven Seas and Killing Moon. This is one such track.

As a side note: Evidently Ian McCulloch is a Billy Crystal fan. During between song banter he said:”Is Billy Crystal here tonight? I love Billy Crystal.” I don’t know about you, but knowing that Ian McCulloch is a Billy Crystal fan is far funnier than anything Billy Crystal has done.
[audio:|titles=Thorn of Crowns (Live)|artists=Echo And The Bunnymen]
Download: Echo And The Bunnymen – Thorn of Crowns (Live)

Echo And The Bunnymen – Back Of Love (Live Video)

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Echo And The Bunnymen – Back Of Love
Sefton Park
Liverpool, UK

This was recorded for the BBC show “Pop Carnival.” A few clips from this show have popped up on YouTube, but this track hasn’t found it’s way up there yet. This is easily one of my favorite old Echo tracks.

Download: Echo And The Bunnymen – Back Of Love (Live Video)

Nouvelle Vague – Killing Moon (Live Echo & The Bunnymen Cover)

I saw Nouvelle Vague open for Dead Can Dance a couple of years ago at the Hollywood Bowl. The friend I went with to the concert was really into Nouvelle Vague and I was mildly interested to see what songs they were going to play. I really liked one of the singers they had but the other one I couldn’t stand. This Echo & The Bunnymen cover, which is sung by the woman I do like, was recorded in Montpellier, France December of last year.
[audio:|titles=Killing Moon (Live)|artists=Nouvelle Vague]
Download: Nouvelle Vague – Killing Moon (Live Echo & The Bunnymen Cover)

Ian McCulloch – Candleland (Live)

When Ian split from Echo & The Bunnymen, his first solo release is one of my favorite things he has ever done. I’ve always been a Echo fan, but after “Candleland” came out, I really devoted some time to tracking down more of their obscure releases. I saw them live for the first time on their last tour which I think was last year, but unfortunately, I never had the chance to see any of Ian’s solo shows. This song comes from a show he played at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ back in 1991 which I think would have been when he was promoting the “Mysterio” release.
[audio:|titles=Candleland (Live)|artists=Ian McCulloch]
Download: Ian McCulloch – Candleland (Live)

Echo & The Bunnymen – Enlighten Me (Video)

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Echo & The Bunnymen – Enlighten Me

I was going through a bunch of old tapes of MTV’s 120 Minutes and decided to capture some of the more interesting videos and post them here. One video that I had completely forgotten about was for the Echo & The Bunnymen track “Enlighten Me.” I had glossed over the fact that Ian had left the band yet they continued to use the name to release records. When you compare “Reverbration” to “Candleland” which was released at the same time, it’s easy to see why the Ian-less Bunnymen had very little success.

Download: Echo & The Bunnymen – Enlighten Me (Video)

Ian McCulloch & The Prodigal Sons – Faith & Healing (Live Video)

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Ian McCulloch & The Prodigal Sons – Faith & Healing (Live Video)
The Late Show

I’m not sure of the date of this video, but it was shot during the “Candleland” era. It’s a fantastic quality live recording of one of my favorite Echo et al songs.

Download: Ian McCulloch & The Prodigal Sons – Faith & Healing (Live Video)