Echo and the Bunnymen set to play first Gateshead show of 50-year career

Echo and the Bunnymen frontman Ian McCulloch on stage in 2015.

Echo and the Bunnymen have never been ones to shy away from revisiting past glories, and quite rightly, given their back catalogue.

The Merseyside alternative rock veterans, together from 1978 to 1993 and since 1996, have put out no end of compilations and live albums over the course over a career stretching back, on and off, half a century, and they were quick to embrace the now well-established trend of playing classic albums in their entirety live, having done so with 1980’s Crocodiles, 1981’s Heaven Up Here and 1984’s Ocean Rain.

They’ve never previously gone back into the studio to have a second stab at their old songs, however, but that is about to change.

Their next album, co-produced by Andy Wright, sees them re-recording favourite songs of theirs from yesteryear, in rearranged form, and throwing in a couple of new tracks for good measure.

No tracklisting has been announced yet for what will be their 13th album, due out in May on BMG, but given its title – The Stars, the Oceans and the Moon – it would seem likely that Stars are Stars, Ocean Rain and The Killing Moon will put in appearances.

Explaining that upcoming trip down memory lane, frontman Ian McCulloch said: “I’m not doing this for anyone else. I’m doing it because it’s important to me to make the songs better. I have to do it.”

It’s a follow-up to 2014’s No 37 hit Meteorites, their first top 40 entry of this century.

The band, led by McCulloch, 58, and guitarist Will Sergeant, 59, the only other founding member left, will be heading out on tour in May to promote their new LP, and the six dates they have lined up include one at the Sage Gateshead, on Wednesday, May 30.

That will be their first visit to the riverside venue, though McCulloch did play a solo show there in April last year, and to Gateshead.

It’s also their first Tyneside show since one at Newcastle’s O2 Academy in February 2015 to promote Meteorites.

The Bunnymen have notched up six top 10 LPs to date – 1981’s Heaven Up Here, a No 10; 1983’s Porcupine, a No 2; the year after’s Ocean Rain and their self-titled 1987 LP, both No 4s; 1997’s Evergreen, a No 8; and the 1985 compilation Songs to Learn and Sing, a No 6.

They also have three top 10 singles to their name – The Cutter, a No 8 in 1983, and The Killing Moon, a No 9 the year after, along with Nothing Lasts Forever, a No 8 in 1997.

Tickets for their Gateshead show cost £21.30, £32.20, £43.10 or £80. For details, go to www.sagegateshead.com or bunnymen.tmstor.es

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