Live review: Ian McCulloch at the Sage Gateshead

Ian McCulloch.
Ian McCulloch.

Easter bunnies might be strictly seasonal, but Echo and the Bunnymen, happily, are a year-round phenomenon, and so it was that fans of the Merseyside alternative rock act got to see their frontman, Ian McCulloch, last night, April 8, over a week ahead of Easter Sunday.

The 57-year-old, playing a solo acoustic set in the Sage Gateshead’s smaller hall two, might not have been at his very best, but McCulloch on an off day is still head and shoulders above many others at the top of their game.

It’s now not far short of 40 years since the Bunnymen were formed in Liverpool, back in 1978, but McCulloch remains as capable these days as then of conjuring up moments of magic.

Having a back catalogue as distinguished as the 12 albums released by the Bunnymen between 1980 and 2014, plus his four solo albums, means McCulloch is spoiled for choice when putting together a setlist, and he made a fine job of combining old and new, interspersing Bunnymen classics such as their 1984 single The Killing Moon, a No 9 hit, with more recent material including their 1997 comeback single Nothing Lasts Forever, a No 8, and the the title track of their 2009 LP The Fountain.

Another title track, from McCulloch’s last solo album, 2012’s Pro Patria Mori, also impressed, having firmly and deservedly established itself as a staple of his solo setlists of recent years.

McCulloch’s current tour continues at the Met in Bury, Greater Manchester, on Tuesday, April 18.