Review: ‘The Verve’

Reviewed Nov. 17, 1997.

Reviewed Nov. 17, 1997.

In what may well prove a brilliant tactical move, the Verve singer Richard Ashcroft broke up his band in 1995 after their much-hyped sophomore album failed to scale any significant commercial heights. He then reformed the group to much media fanfare earlier this year, subsequently releasing a critically acclaimed (and in the U.K., wildly successful) new record that appears to have put the band in the current lead as successors to Oasis’ fast-crumbling crown as the Kings of Britpop.

At the first of two sold-out shows at the downtown Mayan, near the end of their three-week U.S. tour, the quintet exceeded expectations with a boldly conceived, almost flawlessly delivered show that revealed Ashcroft’s talents as a gifted singer and songwriter.

The lanky, handsome singer spun soaring tales of hopelessness and hopefulness around the band’s graceful mix of mod and classic, R&B-based rock, his smooth voice ably carrying the pretty melodies aloft in the spacious theater.

Even country influences found their place in the band’s songs, as on the acoustic-based “If Heaven Falls” and “Sonnet,” from the new “Urban Hymns” (Virgin) album, the latter performed in front of a backdrop of a despondent man with his head in his hands.

Other key moments of the 85-minute show included their string-based current single “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” a reworking of the Rolling Stones song, as well as Ashcroft’s solo acoustic turn during the encore “Come On,” which ended in a massive, celebratory wall of guitar feedback.

The Verve

(Mayan Theatre; 1,500 capacity; $ 16)

Production

Presented by Bill Silva with KROQ & Andrew Hewitt.

Cast

Band: Richard Ashcroft, Nick McCabe, Simon Jones, Simon Tong, Peter Salisbury.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Marketplace

    Leave a Reply

    No Comments

    Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s

    More Music News from Variety

    Loading