Live Review: The Tubes – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 12.8.2015

Once upon a time The Tubes took their brand of rock theatrics out to stadiums but now on their 40th birthday tour they are still delivering the goods albeit in much smaller venues.

In truth they are an old school rock band who somehow got caught up in New Wave, but who cares when you have a frontman like Fee Waybill who still has charisma to burn as he runs through an array of characters and costume changes.

Think a less pompous Alice Cooper and you are somewhere near the mark as the band –complete with four original members – crank it up to 11 as Waybill croons and shouts his way through a greatest hits set.


It’s not clear why Waybill opens by adopting a sleazy Sinatra persona covering Frank’s This Town before returning to the stage in a straitjacket for a frenzied Mr Hate and then turning into a convict for Life Is Pain. It was just that sort of show where nothing made much sense, but Waybill kept yelling ‘it’s for the art’ so maybe that’s the answer.

There should be something very, very wrong when a 64 year old old bloke struts topless round the stage in bondage gear during a muscular Mondo Bondage, but fair play to Waybill he pulls it off….not literally, and thank god for another quick costume change.

A deliciously filthy rant about loving Tarzan as a boy leads to a bonkers Sushi Girl and Waybill sticks a comedy mask on to play yet another character.

After four decades together this lot know how to entertain as the mature crowd are encouraged to sing along to their ’80s power ballad hit Don’t Want To Wait Anymore before – god help us – Prairie Prince launches into a tedious drum solo.

But for Tubes fans all roads lead to one place – their only bona fide classic tune – White Punks On Dope. As Waybill totters back onto the stage in outrageously high stack heels towering over the rest of the band as ruined glam rocker Quay Lewd it all finally makes some sort of sense in a daft but utterly sincere way.

In age where too many bands just think turning up and playing is enough then this is a value for money show full of kitsch surprises from a master showman.



Previous Live review: Kaiser Chiefs at Haydock Park Racecourse, 7/8/15
Next Incoming: Trainwreck

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