The Christians at The Dome (1 Jul ’16)

The backlog of gigs continues to slowly clear, this time with a highly unusual one in many ways – The Christians at The Dome in Grand Central Hall, a former Methodist church and Grade II listed building,

Garry Christian

Garry Christian

Apart from the venue, another way in which it was unusual was that I was attending with My Beloved Wife. We were also due to be joined by two friends of ours, but they bailed once Wales were due to be playing in the Quarter-final of the European Championships that night (when they in fact knocked out Belgium).

After putting The Boy Wonder to bed, leaving him in the capable hands of his babysitter, we got a Delta Taxi into town. Unreassuringly, we had to direct him – and he seemed uncertain of which road Renshaw Street was, but we still got there in good time.

The venue wasn’t full so we were able to get a decent spec, and I partook in the first of several bottles of Black Sheep, with the DJ spinning some Earth Wind & Fire while we waited for the main act, having been too late for support Shamona.

Neil Griffiths

Neil Griffiths

I’m far from a big fan of the band (I quite enjoy hearing their songs, but I don’t tend to go out of my way to do so…), but I know that they put on a decent show, having somehow seen them three times beforehand. The first time was at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall in May 2008, while the more recent occasions have both been at the free Crosby Music Festival, which sadly appears to be no more.

They did their usual, largely ‘greatest hits’ set, but with a couple of newer numbers thrown in. Six of the songs played were from 1987’s eponymous debut album, when they were probably at their commercial peak.

They were a fairly curious-looking bunch, with lead singer and entertainer-in-chief Garry Christian the only surviving founder member. Guitarist Neil Griffiths reminded me of a cross between David Byrne and Keifer Sutherland, while Mike Trigg on keys combined Gary Numan and Dennis Wise.

The Dome

The Dome

The rest of the band was the Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy-a-like Lionel Duke on drums, Cliff Watson on bass and lead guitarist Joey Ankrah.

Born Again kicked things off, followed by a selection of tracks from later in their career before the debut was revisited for their very first single Forgotten Town.

After the mellow Ideal World they played recent single Big Red Sky, a song released to mark the end of the Hillsborough inquests earlier this year. I then suitably celebrated the playing of 1992’s song about alcoholism The Bottle by heading to the bar for a third Black Sheep.

"Big Red Sky"

“Big Red Sky”

Opening track off last year’s latest album We, Rise, came before a couple of the bigger numbers in When The Fingers Point and Hooverville before they headed off – temporarily, of course.

They returned for another number from their debut album, the not-well-known-by-me Sad Songs and then their cover of The Isley BrothersHarvest For The World, their only top 10 hit (peaking at #8 in 1988), with the crowd leaving happy.

Taking a bow

Taking a bow

This is not my usual in-depth gig review, partly due to my lack of proper enthusiasm for the band, but they were still an entertaining evening out, which was then further enhanced by a pint in the very fine Roscoe Head and then a late curry in UNI, as first choice Indian Delight was sadly closed that evening.

Tonight’s t-shirt

I wore my yellow Stax t-shirt in honour of the band’s soul roots, but sadly didn’t spot a single other musical tee in the audience, though surely there must have been one of two others somewhere.

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Here is most of the band’s set from the evening on Spotify:


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