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Bad Lieutenant (the band, not the movie) October 25, 2009

Posted by Michael Kowalski in whatever.
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Went along to see Bad Lieutenant, Bernard Sumner’s new band, at Heaven under Charing Cross last week. I was curious to see whether Barney is (like me) one of the few people left in this country who still pronounces the “f” in “lieutenant”. I think he is, though both times he announced the band’s name he mumbled it and the acoustics were dreadful, so bit hard to be sure.

bad lieutenant

Those once-cherubic looks haven’t gone entirely, meaning he has now begun to rather resemble Alan Bennett. Though of course Barney wouldn’t be caught dead wearing specs, let alone thick framed ones; more’s the pity. Think what a coup it would have been if he could have got Alan B in to deliver a rap, something in the style of Neil Tennant on West End Girls!

In fact, he did have somebody to help out on vocal duties. One of those young wispily-bearded slightly-modelly looking guys who can hold a guitar well enough to pick up university girls; you know the type. Bit of an odd choice for this audience though, which tended to the middle-aged bloke end of the spectrum. At least he could sing well enough to remind us that part of Barney’s attraction has always been that his singing and songwriting are both a bit rubbish, ie. and therefore “real”.

The new material isn’t bad. Yes, some truth in the “New Order with bits missing” reviews, but still. Sumner himself seemed unconvinced, somewhat apologetic about playing new songs at all. That was just before launching into a handful of New Order and Joy Division classics: Temptation, Crystal, Bizarre Love Triangle, Transmission and even Love Will Tear Us Apart. Storming stuff, despite a rather anaemic bassline coming out of the shadows at the back of the stage. Hm, maybe a better name for the band would have been “The Long Shadow”.