Echo & The Bunnymen @ Fillmore At Irving Plaza

NEW YORK, NY—Last time I saw Echo And The Bunnymen, I was 17 and I remember asking an older couple waiting in line in front of me at The Stone Pony to say I was their daughter so I could get into the 18-plus show. Luckily, the bouncers let it slide and I spent the night stealing drinks from 40-year-olds with teased out hair and fancy looking scarves. So after not seeing them for seven years, I figured it’d be a good idea to see the band without having to run to the bathroom stall to chug whatever drink I got my hands on.

The opening band was Apollo Heights from NYC. They were pretty much a shoegazer band with loud soulful vocals instead of the usual vocals that sound like the lead singer is afraid of microphones. Some of their arrangements had a smooth ambient feel, but having four guitarists play on one song just ended up being a bad clusterfuck of fuzz. Their album title, White Music For Black People, spawned giggles in the crowd and the keyboardist won points with me for wearing a white fluffy button down shirt. The timing was off at some points where the vocals didn’t match up with the music and some of the members weren’t giving off any energy. Apollo Heights were a good opening band though because their set wasn’t too long and they were in a similar genre as Echo And The Bunnymen.

Once I heard the smoke machines getting ready, I hoped that it wouldn’t be like The Sisters Of Mercy live show where you couldn’t see any of the band members— The Sisters Of The Smoke Machines! It’s ok to be a dreary post-punk band and not have smoke machines; you’re still spooky to me! They played a really good set with favorites like “The Killing Moon” and “Lips Like Sugar.” I was really impressed with “Do It Clean” and “Cutter” because of how youthful lead singer Ian McCulloch’s voice sounded. Congratulations for not being super drunk Mr. McCulloch and not covering any Doors songs!

Their energy didn’t die down throughout their whole set and even though the band is a little wrinkled and washed up, they still looked cool on the dark stage smoking their cigarettes and wearing sunglasses at night. By the end of their set, The Bunnymen started to cover Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side” and improvised until their double encore. The venue was packed by the end of the night with people trying to get up closer and closer to these post-punk gods. The only two original members left are guitarist Will Sergeant and Ian McCulloch, but it was still an entertaining show filled with reverb and delays.