Articles / Reviews

Adrian Borland & The Citizens - Live at Patronaat/Holland (Sounds 6-1-1990)

date: Jan 6, 1990




The Dutch think Adrian Borland is a legendary rock god and the English don't. The Dutch have Gullit and Van Basten while the English have Butcher and Bull. The Dutch think the evening begins again when you're dancing to "Lust For Life" at 2:30; in England finding a drink after 11 is outrageously adventurous, I know whose side I'm on.

This is Boriand's first gig proper with his solo material and Dutch musicians since the split of The Sound, a band who did what The House Of Love do, but did it with twice as much fire and desire and all those nouns. Borland's album is incongruously enough on Play It Again Sam Records, and displays a dignified serenity But tonight, possibly aggravated by my whingeing for more savage guitar atrocities, he whips up a rumbling thunderstorm. The Dutch go mental, things flail and sweat, and whaddya know - the spirit of Patti Smith is busting out allover. 

The set is the whole of 'Alexandria",with "Weight Of Stuff" rotating into "Waiting For The Man" (both Deborah Harry and Adrian Borland tackling 'Waiting For The Man"' live in the same month can I BEAR it?). When Adrian gets revved up, his ad-libbing can be inspirational - the throwaways of "ask the angels"and "sun machine is coming down" complete with self-aware chuckle, are the very essence of wayward misunderstood genius. A new song called "Caveman" is stubborn Stooges, and "She's My Heroin" is introduced as "A song all about girls and drugs- actually thats complete crap, it isn't at all". What it is about is guitars going higher and higher on an alabaster staircase. Then again Borland can miraculously turn The Merseys'"Sorrow'" into a most effective and unclaying anti-Thatcher diatribe. 

The climax of "Iron Years" brings The Sound faithfuls surging forward, and the encores of '"Silent Air" (solo on acoustic guitar - something of a precious moment) and "Heartland" are phoenixes smashing out of amber. A resurgent "No Ethereal" and another chapter begins. The fact that Adrian Borland isn't as celebrated here as the Copes and McCullochs, or Any Old American, remains an injustice. But the Dutch are devouring these diamonds, and maybe the timely resurrection of Perrett won't snarl in isolation. Another lion's mouth roars again. 

CHRIS ROBERTS (Sounds 6-1-1990) 

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