Review: China Crisis - Thekla, Bristol live
Photo: John Thackray

Gary Daly could easily have had a career in stand-up had he not fronted China Crisis for the last four decades. “We’re only on a fookin’ boat!” he exclaims of this evening’s venue, in which the band are playing their 1985 masterpiece, Flaunt The Imperfection, in its entirety.

Thekla is, indeed, a boat, and tonight it’s full of China Crisis fans old and new; but it’s also a club, so the band have to deliver the album and a second half of hits in just two hours.

Daly tells a glorious tale before each Flaunt… track, explaining how Steely Dan’s Walter Becker came onboard to produce, or how the odd riff might have been “borrowed” from elsewhere, and laughs loudest when only one person in the crowd admits to having heard some of the unreleased demos on the recent reissues: “Well, I bloody loved them!” He, fellow founder Eddie Lundon and Gary ‘Gazza’ Johnson, plus four younger, but no-less-able, band members tear through the album with ease, leaving space for Gary to swing around the stage, forget the odd lyric and ultimately steal the show, like any good frontperson should.

The hits duly follow – Tragedy And Mystery, Wishful Thinking and many more than most onboard were counting on – and the boat almost shakes free of its moorings and heads off to Cardiff.

The only blot is that club deadline, meaning the Scouse wit and incredible hits are perhaps not given the space they deserve, but otherwise, this is ‘the Crisis’ at their imperfect best.

Written by Andy Jones. Show performed on 26 October 2018.

Read more: Review: Soft Cell, The O2, London live

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