For a change, tonight’s entertainment was a couple of cover bands. The headliners were 2U (formerly U2 Joshua) and openers The Bill who I’d seen before supporting Tragedy at Audio in February. The venue was one I’d been to once before, several years before, and funnily enough to see a band predominantly known for their covers as well – Hayseed Dixie. The Ferry is actually that – a decommissioned ferry now permanently moored on the north of the Clyde and which now serves as a restaurant and gig venue.
The Bill took to the stage around half eight and had definitely been working on their sound since the last time I saw them. Audibly more in tune with each other, and more relaxed than they had been back in February, they cruised and laughed through a 45-minute set of Police and Sting classics. Their sound was tighter than Sting’s accountant, and the choice of songs was perfect for the audience they had.
Speaking to the band earlier, they’d said they wanted to “play it safe” and ensure that they stuck to the bigger hits that people would know. As well as picking good songs, they played great versions of them. Everything seemed just a shade more up-tempo than the originals which made for a more engaging and lively performance. “Roxanne”, in particular, became far bouncier than I think Sting ever intended it to be. The set went by without a hitch, the response from the audience was very positive and the guys left the stage with huge – and well-deserved – grins.
2U arrived shortly after to perform a set split into two. I don’t know why they chose to take a mid-set break (perhaps to ensure the audience had a chance to head to the bar?) but it didn’t disrupt the flow of the evening appreciably. There were a couple of sound issues, which was a shame (some feedback, non-existent backing vocals for a while and far too much bass towards the end) but none of them were the fault of the band who were superb.
Nailing each track, they performed for well over an hour in total and I have to give credit in particular to the vocalist (what a voice!) and the guitarist, who could wander around the audience, chatting to people while continuing to play some pretty complex rhythm sections.
There were one or two songs which I didn’t recognise and that seemed to filter through the crowd who were obviously less engaged during them, but they were very much in the minority. By the end of the second set, 2U had the dancefloor full of people actually dancing. And singing along. And very obviously having a great time.
Overall, I had a really enjoyable night out despite being wrecked after a long week and not much sleep (courtesy of a young child who still won’t sleep in her own damn bed all night!). I’d been tempted to make excuses and stay in but I’m glad I didn’t. If you get the chance to see either band and you like the original acts then you won’t be disappointed.
The Bill: facebook
All photos by Iain Purdie (c) Moshville Times