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Black Grape

Live Gig Review

            Black Grape 
        Orange Head Tour

Date - 2nd Dec 2023
Venue - Engine Rooms
Town - Southampton

Black Grape

I have not seen Black Grape live before, so I turned up in Southampton quite expectant but not sure what the outcome may be. As has been well documented Shaun Ryder has had various ailments over the last few years all resulting in a multitude of different pills to combat the problems. As he has himself quoted he is now taking more pills than in his late eighties hedonistic heyday. 

What was obvious when Shaun and his fine sparring partner Paul "Kermit" Leveridge took to the stage was the “spark” between them and obvious camaraderie together. They have a new album on the way, Orange Head, from which they played 3 groove based songs, as a canvas for the front two to scat and rap over. With songs  such as Dirt, Pimp Wars and Milk  the face to face interaction is still working as it always had since the release of the unexpectedly successful debut album It’s Great When You’re Straight Yeah in 1995. The majority of the songs played at The Engine Rooms came from the first LP.

Black Grape
Black Grape
Black Grape

Like an itch that still needed scratching the return of Black Grape looked timely for Shaun and Kermit to use their creativity again for new product rather than just a blast through the old songs in a tribute style, this suits both of them in their more mature years as this seems to come easy for them, they are comfortable in their older skin and joke about the affect of being old during the show. Behind them is another reason it all worked so well, the band are exceptional, delivering the perfect backing with amazing dexterity and skill all round. The Motown bass lines combined with drums set a platform for layered guitar, synth and the relish of the vocals on top. I can’t compliment the band enough on the sound they produced.

Black Grape
Black Grape
Black Grape
Black Grape

The setlist is down below, the band kept up the momentum even with many of Shaun and Kermits "between song conversations" potentially delaying the start of the songs - with a count on the sticks they were back into the music...

Reverend Black Grape and the encore of Kelly's Heroes sent everyone filing out with smiles on their faces into the freezing night.

I can see the venues getting larger after the release of the new album in the new year.

Black Grape

In the Name of the Father

Tramazi Parti

Nine Lives

Get Higher

Pimp Wars

Yeah Yeah Brother

Set the Grass on Fire

Reverend Black Grape


String Theory

A Big Day in the North


Shake Well Before Opening


Kelly's Heroes

Little Bob

(with extended instrumental outro)

Photographs by Dan Reddick

Review by Dan Reddick

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