Real life – Gig Review: The Zombies and The Searchers

So I decided that if I can’t update with stitchy progress then I should at least update with the other things that have been infringing on my craft time.

These gigs were actually last month, on the 12th and 19th of May respectively, and I have done other things in between but this seemed like a good place to start.

Back in this post I spoke at length how much I love The Zombies. Nothing has changed. And seeing them for a second time have only increased my love for them. They were just as good as the previous time even with the vastly different setting. The first time we saw them was at Brudenell which is an amazing venue. It’s not perfect but its intimate. This time was at City Varieties. It’s set more like a theatre but the acoustics were much better.

The actually set was very similar to last time with two major differences. The first time we saw them there was no interval. This made it feel a lot more like a older style of gig. The first time also had “God Gave Rock n Roll to You” as the encore song. The second time this was completely missing from the set list. I was a little disappointed as one of my best memories was the crowd singing along the first time.

As for The Searchers, I’ll be honest – I wasn’t looking forward to it as much. Yes they are another band that define the British Invasion but to me their songs all kinda sound the same. Hell the only ones I could name were “Sugar and Spice” and “Sweets for my Sweet”. You gotta admit they have similar names, and when listening to them they are also similar.

However I came out a true convert. The gig, again held at the City Varieties, just had a energy that carried the crowd the whole way. They also carried the pieces between the sets really well. Even with a couple of standard jokes, such as “They say you play the Varieties twice in your career, once on the way up and once on the way down. It’s great to be back again!”, and some non-standard jokes, mentioning someone they had played with or admired followed by one of the others interrupted to inform that person was dead now, the banter didn’t feel force. The dead joke also had a serious payoff when they paid respect to the members of The Searchers who had died in a sincere but lighthearted way.

I also came out with a different opinion of their music. As they said on the night they played about 30 songs and they had recorded all of them and the majority were originals. They had a reputation for been a bit of a cover band but the actual output of original work is really high. I even came away with a song stuck in my head (Here have a listen but be warned it is quite catchy in a silly way)

The real reason I’ve decided to review both together though is a moment that I had about three quarters of the way into The Searchers gig. The band were talking again and seemed to appreciate the audience interaction. Earlier on they had been arguing with a guy in the from row about who was the original artist of a song. In the link section they mentioned that the boys had been playing the varieties the week before. Another replied who? The first one replied The Zombies. In that moment, almost like a out of body experience, I decided to whoop. Like a full on woooooo-hooooooo! I think everyone in the theatre turned to look at me. And the lead singer turned around and said something like “No love. The Zombies were last week”. I was so embarrassed. The whole way home I just kept repeating to the husband “I whooped. For The Zombies. At a Searchers concert.” Needless to say he found the whole situation highly amusing. Even now he’s not letting me forget it.

All in all I enjoyed both but for vastly different reasons. The Zombies have timeless music. Even now Oracle and Odeyssey regularly appears best album charts. The thrill of seeing them live is to hear the music. The Searchers didn’t really have the best songs. But the way they perform, their interaction with the crowd and their finale, which was a medley, made the the better performers.


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