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A Magazine for Sheffield
Live / stage review

Baxter Dury, Plug, 6 November

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Baxter Dury is a man who does things his own way. From the very start there is little time to breathe as the opening tracks are segued together without chatter. It's a brilliant way to warm the gig up. Dury clearly has a lot of songs to get through and with good reason, given he's released two fine albums in the last year. Despite the stream of music there is still plenty of time for theatrics. There is something very naughty about Dury.

That mischievous element is never far away from his performance, as he offers the crowd a repertoire of wry expressions infused with care-free body-popping skills. At one point he sits in front of his keyboard to drink a beer and inspect the crowd. Unbeknown to him his beer froths over, covering his precious vintage keyboard. He shouts for 'Keith!' to come out and a middle-aged guy enters the stage, towel in hand. The calls for Keith to return afterwards are met by a dry Dury response of: "Keith was a moment ago. This is a different moment." With that he has us in the palm of his hand.

Dury delivers an enjoyable and comprehensive set of recent work with some tracks very much enhanced by a live crowd, especially the riotous 'Letter Bomb'. This is one of many high points in the evening as it crashes into the audience with the kind of energy you'd have found at a punk gig in 1979. Other vintage moments include 'Oi', 'Miami', 'Porcelain' and 'August', with Dury backed by a superb five-piece band.

'Cocaine Man' tops everything off nicely, with the crowd totally in the grasp of Dury, who has toyed with them like a cat with a mouse. We are powerless to his charm and his music.

Andy Tattersall

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