LIVE REVIEW: Lightning Seeds at Boiler Shop, Newcastle upon Tyne

Lightning Seeds at Boiler Shop, Newcastle upon Tyne Credit: Iam Burn
Credit: Iam Burn

I can't quite believe that it is 33 years since the Lightning Seeds first single, 'Pure,' hit the charts. I remember buying it from the now-defunct Volume Records in Sunderland. And yet here we are in 2022, and a jam-packed crowd at Boiler Shop await to see Ian Broudie and his band of minstrels take to the stage to delight them with songs old and new.

A roar erupted as the band took to the stage and launched into 'Sunshine', taken from their new album See You in the Stars. It certainly sounded like the Lightning Seeds of old – bright, catchy, jangly – but dreamier. It wouldn't have been out of place in the late 60s.

Lightning Seeds performing in concert at Boiler Shop, Newcastle upon Tyne
Credit: Iam Burn

When the trio of 'Change', 'All I Want' and 'Lucky You' blazed out from the stage, the crowd found their dancing shoes and voices. What struck me was just how good the band sounded when performing live. Hear me out here. Lightning Seeds albums are full of high production values, at times resembling the Phil Spector' Wall of Sound' style. I wasn't sure if they could recreate this live. It would be a big ask. However, they managed it with ease.

'Great to be Alive', another from their latest album, is an infectious song that would make the most morose person feel a tad optimistic. Its rhythm makes even the most die-hard non-dancers shuffle their feet. This set up the next song perfectly. Within the first few notes of 'Sense' being played, a huge cheer went up, and people now danced intentionally! A sea of swaying arms acted like seagrass in a strong breeze as they moved to the music.

There's a parallel with The Beautiful South here. They had many fans and many memorable songs, but only ever one Number 1 single. Lightning Seeds have trodden a similar path. 'Sense' created an energetic reaction. It was clearly a popular song amongst the Newcastle crowd and was quickly recognisable, but it wasn't a big chart hit reaching number 31 in 1992.

A wonderful rendition of Reckless Eric's 1977 hit 'Whole Wide World' got the punk/new wave fans leaping about like loons. I always felt it was an underappreciated song. Nice to see it get a new lease of life.

Lightning Seeds performing in concert at Boiler Shop, Newcastle upon Tyne
Credit: Iam Burn

My high point of the evening was 'You Showed Me'. A beautiful song that smacks of the Liverpool sound mixed with The Byrds. I've always felt that Broudie had a touch of John Lennon about him. This was epitomised part way through the song when Broudie sang, "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one". It just felt right somehow.

The final three songs were the greatest hits jamboree. 'Sugar Coated Iceberg', 'Pure' and 'The Life of Riley' had the crowd bouncing. The energy was palpable. Their happiness was tangible. The humidity was rising. No wonder the bar had a queue. 'The Life of Riley' was written by Broudie for his then-unborn son. Now that son stands to the left of his Dad on stage, playing rhythm guitar with distinction. The encore kicked off with a cover of The Ronettes' 1963 hit 'Be My Baby', sung with great aplomb by the Newcastle audience.

Lightning Seeds performing in concert at Boiler Shop, Newcastle upon Tyne
Credit: Iam Burn

With the 2022 World Cup in Qatar just days away, the night's final song had to be 'Three Lions'. A few audience members came prepared, adorned in their England strips. Suddenly, the room became lighter and brighter as, in unison, an assortment of arms went into the air clutching mobile phones (I stopped counting after fifty), videoing the song for posterity. It was a great feel-good song to end on, and the crowd flowed out of Boiler Shop in fine spirits.

Earlier in the night, Broudie sang, "The world is full of fools who never get it right". It is safe to say Lightning Seeds aren't, and they did. Now all together… “It’s coming home; it’s coming home….”

Lightning Seeds performing in concert at Boiler Shop, Newcastle upon Tyne
Credit: Iam Burn

Set List

Sunshine

Ready or Not

Change

All I Want

Lucky You

Feeling Lazy

Perfect

Great to Be Alive

Sense

Whole Wide World

What If…

Waiting for Today to Happen

You Showed Me

Telling Tales

Losing You

Emily Smiles

Sugar Coated Iceberg

Pure

The Life Of Riley

Encore

Be My Baby

Marvellous

Three Lions

INTERVIEW: The Lightning Seeds' Ian Broudie on new album ‘See You In The Stars’ - Listen here

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