Live: Echo & The Bunnymen / Erica Nockalls

UEA, Norwich March 2, 2024

by Daisy-Jude Pizey

It’s definitely a night of nostalgia when the mohawks come out, and the same could be said for the back-in-fashion mullets.

Goths galore and those who perhaps never quite fit in are packed in for a memorable night of smoke machines and great music.

Erica Nockalls: An original sound (Picture: Redtop Images)
Erica Nockalls: An original sound (Picture: Redtop Images)

Erica Nockalls provides haunting vocals with her Tilda Swinton-look. A member of The Wonder Stuff and a fiddle player for The Proclaimers, she definitely has her CV sorted.

Leaning towards Alison Moyet with a bit of Annie Lennox, she combines violin with 80s synth pop; it’s truly an original sound.

Erica Nockalls has quite the CV (Picture: Redtop Images)
Erica Nockalls has quite the CV (Picture: Redtop Images)

Her powerful voice carries across the room as she focuses mostly on songs from her 2021 album Dark Music From A Warm Place.

It’s with House Of Erica that we witness the true extent of her vocal abilities and get a glimpse into a slightly modernised Cocteau Twins.

Dark music, warm place: Erica Nockalls (Picture: Redtop Images)
Dark music, warm place: Erica Nockalls (Picture: Redtop Images)

Echo & The Bunnymen look as they did back in the day … just with a few decades added on.

The first of their two sets opens with Going Up from their 1980 Crocodiles album. Like a Debenhams sale, it swiftly becomes middle-aged madness with lead vocalist Ian McCulloch’s strong Liverpudlian accent creating a wave of reminiscent teenage angst.

Ian McCulloch epitomises cool (Picture: Redtop Images)
Ian McCulloch epitomises cool (Picture: Redtop Images)

The smoke machines are so powerful it means you’re watching a man smothered in smoke and fluorescent lights who could be anyone, but you can just about make out the silhouette of McCulloch’s messy but timeless hairstyle and sunglasses.

It proves that no matter your age, you can always look like you’re too cool for the people around you.

We are treated to a couple of unreleased songs – Brussels Is Haunted and Unstoppable Force.

Echo & The Bunnymen love it here (Picture: Redtop Images)
Echo & The Bunnymen love it here (Picture: Redtop Images)

McCulloch reckons The Killing Moon is one of the greatest songs of all time (he’s not wrong), and it’s followed by possibly the second greatest, The Cutter, to being their second set to a close.

The end of the show isn’t the end of the night, though – at least not for the fans who hang around by the headliners’ tour bus afterwards and get the chance to grab a few words with McCulloch.

Echo & The Bunnymen still have what it takes (Picture: Redtop Images)
Echo & The Bunnymen still have what it takes (Picture: Redtop Images)

Asked why he chose here for the first full show of the Songs To Learn & Sing tour here, he says he “loves Norwich” and “feels an affinity with the people here”.

So we can scruff up our hair, wear that smudged eyeliner and smile, content in the knowledge that McCulloch’s with us.

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