Review: A brilliant night of unashamed nostalgia from The Bluetones

The Bluetones headlining The Waterfront in Norwich on 23rd November 2019. Picture: Steve Hunt

The Bluetones headlining The Waterfront in Norwich on 23rd November 2019. Picture: Steve Hunt - Credit: Steve Hunt

For bands from a certain era it's very much the done thing right now to mark a significant anniversary of an album with a commemorative tour.

The Bluetones headlining The Waterfront in Norwich on 23rd November 2019. Picture: Steve Hunt

The Bluetones headlining The Waterfront in Norwich on 23rd November 2019. Picture: Steve Hunt - Credit: Steve Hunt

But indie stalwarts The Bluetones never like doing things exactly to type, they've decided to play their third album Science & Nature from start to finish on this nationwide tour, which dropped in at Norwich's Waterfront on Saturday night.

Not only is it 19 years since it was released, in my humble opinion it's actually one of the least brilliant of their six-album career, though I'm a big fan so that shouldn't be taken as too much of a negative.

But that, and a greatest hits compilation, have been put out there for the first time on vinyl so off on the road they go, to play tracks from both.

And it works really well as a theme for a gig, because it gives the many of the band's die-hards the chance to hear songs live for the first time in years and still get the chance to sing-a-long to the favourites.

The Bluetones headlining The Waterfront in Norwich on 23rd November 2019. Picture: Steve Hunt

The Bluetones headlining The Waterfront in Norwich on 23rd November 2019. Picture: Steve Hunt - Credit: Steve Hunt


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This two-hour set is split in two, the first the album, the second an hour long-look back of the rest of their career, which has included 13 top 40 singles, four of them top 10 hits.

This is probably at least the sixth or seventh time I've seen The Bluetones and they never disappoint, largely down to a varied sounding back catalogue (we even get reggae and country from Science and Nature), the fact all five of the band are very talented musicians and lead singer Mark Morriss' engaging frontmanship.

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Like many of the best bands of the 90s (I'm thinking Pulp, Blur and Oasis), Morriss' chatty and witty demeanour (though I'm not always sure his band would agree) make you feel part of the evening and that each gig has its own special feel.

My word they can knock out a tune as well.

The Clockworks supporting The Bluetones at The Waterfront in Norwich on 23rd November 2019. Picture:

The Clockworks supporting The Bluetones at The Waterfront in Norwich on 23rd November 2019. Picture: Steve Hunt - Credit: Steve Hunt

Highlights of the first half include Mudlisde, Autophilia and the epic Emily's Pine, but it's in the second half that both band and the crowd seem most comfortable as they rattle through set highlight, the meaty Cut Some Rug, as well as Bluetonic, Slight Return ('the one your mum would like' according to Morriss) and set closer If...

It's a brilliant night of unashamed nostalgia, delivered with aplomb by this gem of a band.

* Support came from Ireland's The Clockworks, who show potential with their Fontaines DC-esque rock.

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