Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Review: Graham Parker can cut it without the band

By Michael Conaghan

Published 23/09/2013

"Is Graham Parker playing tonight, or is it just a rumour?" said the waggish man to the girl at the ticket kiosk. Emerging from the Pub Rock swamp of the mid-70s as a kind of John the Baptist figure to new wave deities like Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson, Parker has had to sustain a career on talent alone.

If the bespectacled nasal sneer has been filched, the songwriting ability and live attack remain intact. On the eve of a brand new tour with old comrades The Rumour, this solo spot saw him mean and lean.

Opening with a Van Morrison echoing Watch The Moon Come Down, he cut a compelling figure. Mixing between old material and newer favourites like Old Soul from latest album Three Chord's Good (sorry, I counted at least four) he was a man at ease with past and present.

Early material like Silly Thing and Fools Gold showed that he always knew his way round a pop hook, even if he only occasionally took advantage of it.

But judging by the affection shown by the audience, helping him with the odd senior moment, and gleefully singing along to Waiting For The UFOs, obscurity does not beckon.

Just make sure to bring the band next time.

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