Music - Limiñanas @ El Mediator - Live & Kicking - 15/12/2018.
New in Perpignan, this was my first time at El Mediator. Good music from the word go on the sound system. When I get in, The Make-Overs, a young, raw, punky two-piece are making some good noises. Melanie, the drummer, does an amazing thing with her hair into the bargain. I’m gonna try it next time I’m performing. A good start.
The place is packed - a sell-out for the return of The Limiñanas to their home patch. Next up it’s The Fleshtones, punk survivors par excellence. Camp as a row of tents and unafraid to work the audience, they really warm up this hall.
Keith Streng still jumps onto a podium despite our worries for him, he and Ken Fox do a kind of 69 on their guitars. But what to say about Peter Zaremba? He can swing a cape, he can work a room, he can hold a tune, he can crowd-surf, the all-round entertainer. It looked like he was having a whale of a time.
Then it’s The Limiñanas. Variously the saviours of rock and roll or the best live band in France. They don’t claim any of that - they just get on and do it. An eight-piece tonight with Lionel and Marie upfront, flanked by the singers. Two guitars and a bass behind them: this could get messy!
Right at the back a keyboard, looks like Peter Hook.
They open with Ouverture, and we’re off for 20 songs of trance-like riffing in about 90 minutes. Marie is the rock-steady beat with the occasional technological thunderclap thrown in to cut through the guitar deluge. El Mediator is jumping: half the place is seated and there is a bar at the back, but everyone is on their feet rocking out. By the time they get to Shadow People, four tunes in, it’s obvious that this is simple music, some might even think it’s too simple, but while repeating a riff and a beat in itself in a tune can come easy, at length it’s fabulously exciting. It works well on the recordings, but it’s made for live performance. It builds and builds through tune after tune without breaks or intros. Just get onto the next riff and rock it up.
It’s been said there is not much of a show: the changing instrumentation, the interplay, the relentless riffing by Lionel - there’s loads to see.
Highlights? The Gift (I couldn’t see if it was Peter Hook, but great version anyway), Gloria with Peter Zaremba back guesting on vocals (assisted by everyone in the hall “G-L-O-RRRR-I-A!”), the monster riff-yourself-to-death of The Train Creep A-Looping, by the end of which you just knew Lionel, for one, was done physically, having given it his all.
Perpignan knew this was as good as it gets and a moment to savour. The colours were gloomy, lit only by Marie’s shock of red hair, but the music was pyrotechnic. People are always worrying about the future of rock and roll, but this shows it lives on and this is no zombie band playing live to an audience of the living living. Live and kicking!