Boston Avalon Ballroom

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In the end there's no harm with mum having a night out, right?

The Beautiful South aren’t doing half-bad, considering how hard it is to find a good babysitter these days. Mums of a median age and MOR mood don’t go out that often anyway. Proof enough is that ‘Little Deuce Coupe’ sees more ass-shaking in than ‘I See You Baby’.

“We’re going to play a few songs we haven’t played in a few years,” says the anoraked Paul Heaton, adding “I said years not decades,” before sleepwalking his all-star dad-band through another mid-tempo suburban soul number. Maybe the reason Dad won’t take off his coat is that he’s worried he might forget it. After all, he can’t get through bread-and-butter songs like ‘Old Red Eyes Is Back’ without his reading-glasses and a cheat-sheet. “We managed to just about get through that one. What an achievement, ” he says.

It’s not that Dad can’t sing. He and his drinking-buddy Dave Rotheray are sing rather well actually. The inspiration and perspiration just isn’t there. The piss and vinegar is more chips and vinegar. Maybe the day-job is just sapping their energy after all these years. The she-doobie-wahs of ‘Dumb’, the shuffling jazz of ‘Alone’, the quashed wit of lines like, [I]”You can tell where we’ve been shopping by the bags beneath our eyes”[/I] and lacklustre side-bars like, [I]”I’m sure you’ll get your money’s worth -I think”[/I] make it all slightly depressing. Hell, it’s practically ‘Death Of A Salesman’ when Dad plugs the new album like he’s retiring from the real estate business.

To his credit, when Dad loosens up, he’s a good time. ‘Song For Whoever’ is damned clever and catchy too. Dad isn’t afraid to shake his rump and pulls some goofy tambourine tricks for that one. Then the a Queer-As-Folk-rendition of ‘Perfect 10’, featuring campy lines like [I]”He’s a perfect 10, but he wears a twelve”[/I], is fun, funky, and funny.

In the end there’s no harm in Mom having a night out, right? If she’s thinks Dad is funny and charming and she wants to cheer and boogie around, that’s fine. She still loves you, but be warned: She’d probably leave you for Tom Jones without a second thought.

Benjamin Wolford