One of the few U.K. post-punk bands still kicking around, Echo and the Bunnymen launched their new tour with a performance at Coachella earlier this month and then hit stateside clubs in support of their most recent album, last year’s The Fountain, a moody, atmospheric record that sounds a lot like their subdued releases from the middle of the decade.
Singer Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant are the only remaining original members. They’ve fleshed out the lineup with a group of capable young hired hands.
Their 90-minute show at House of Blues last night began inauspiciously with the tepid “Going Up,” then picked up with “Rescue,” a psych-rock cut where Sergeant flexed his musical muscles as McCulloch quoted the Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues.”
While McCulloch bantered freely with the half-capacity crowd, he admitted, “Apparently when I speak, people can’t understand me,” referring to his thick accent.
His singing was solid, however, especially in the snappy “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo” and melodic tunes like “Bring on the Dancing Horses” and “Lips Like Sugar.”
Playing on a dimly lit stage, the band didn't offer much to look at (it didn’t help that McCulloch wore sunglasses for the entire set) and didn’t go to any great lengths to engage the audience.
In fact, their lack of enthusiasm subsided only during “The Cutter,” the best song of the set because it retained the group’s original snotty post-punk spirit, which surfaced too infrequently over the course of last night's performance. —Jeff Niesel