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Lightning Seeds review – jubilant Britpop sweeps away years of hurt | Music


Although Ian Broudie will always be most associated with Three Lions, the football national anthem, there’s more to him than Euro 96-era bittersweet triumphalism. His band Lightning Seeds provided the Britpop era with some of its most jubilant yet affecting lysergic pop anthems, while the Liverpudlian’s impact as producer stretches from Echo and the Bunnymen to the Fall, the Zutons to the Coral. However, a series of personal hammer blows, including his brother’s suicide, took him away from music for a decade.

Ahead of a new Lightning Seeds album, this tour celebrates the youthful 61-year old’s best-known band, but the 24-song setlist goes back to his 1983 group, Care. With a new, mixed-gender Seeds – some look so young the gig may well be past their bedtime – there’s nothing, understandably, from 2009’s mesmeric but heartbreaking Four Winds. Instead, 1994’s smash album Jollification is performed in its entirety, the track listing cleverly rearranged so that the crowd are on their feet by Change and Lucky You.

The second “greatest hits” set sees the band stretch their wings, reinventing Sweetest Soul Sensations on banks of soulful voices and transforming the Byrds’ You Showed Me, a Seeds smash from 1997, from lilting reggae to psychedelic dub. The elfin mop-topped frontman is endearingly rubbish at crowd banter. “I don’t know what to say,” he confesses. “Come arrrrn Ian” someone bellows, to which he fires back “I’m going as fast as I can!” But by now Broudie is on a personal pop odyssey, careering from Sense’s giddy devotional love song brilliance (“When you’re near it all makes sense”) to Pure’s perfect pop and a gorgeous a cappella rendition of the Ronettes’ Be My Baby. The Match of the Day-associated The Life of Riley and inevitable Three Lions predictably generate scenes reminiscent of the Last Night of the Proms. However, there’s a lovely moment when the music hushes as Broudie sings a slightly updated “all these years of hurt have never stopped me dreaming”, a line written about football failure which seems to sing to his life.

At St Luke’s, Glasgow, 13 March. Then touring.

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