Davey Woodward first made a his way in the music game over 25 years ago as frontman of C86 darlings the Brilliant Corners and the fact that he is still able to drag a crowd from far and wide to a tiny venue well off the beaten track and 200 miles from his hometown of Bristol bears small testament to his impressive songwriting talents.

Deciding to play a downbeat solo set as support to his group of 12 plus years, the Experimental Pop Band, is both an ambitious and rewarding proposition.

Armed only with an acoustic guitar and his broad Bristolian brogue, Davey sets to work teasing out short tales relationships gone wrong or on the verge of going wrong. ‘Shiver’, ‘Asleep With Your Woman’ and ‘West Country’ are all finely executed examples, before early ‘ Corners’ track, ‘Growing Up Absurd’ is given it’s first public airing for nearly 20 years and sounds as fresh and exciting as ever.

Davey’s attempt at a Christmas song, ‘Santa Claus Is Dead’ is a suitably sad intro into ‘Everyone’s Dying’ with its brilliant lyric “why don’t you fuck off and leave me alone?”, before The Beatles ‘She Loves You’ is given a fantastic lo-fi re-working.

Next number, The Girl in Hoops’, is a more upbeat love song which the Beatles would be happy to call their own and set closer is the ‘ Corners classic from their Hooked LP, ‘Positively Lips', which remains one of the greatest lyrical excursions of Davey’s career.

The Experimental Pop Band are a different musical beast altogether; Phil Wilmot’s throbbing basslines and Keith Bailey’s hypnotic drumming providing a solid platform for the duel between Davey’s guitar and Joe Rooney’s groovy keyboard work. Throw in Davey’s clever lyrics and it’s a winning combination.

Indeed the band are on such fine form that they resist the temptation to play a ‘hits’ heavy set and open with a trio of tracks destined for their forthcoming sixth studio album.

The first of these, ‘No’, is pure pop gold with the instant lyrical hook of “She’s the girl who broke my heart and burnt my favourite shirt”, while ‘Transit Van Superstardom’ is equally catchy.

‘Emotion’ is the first dip into an impressive back catalogue and sounds particularly beefed up tonight, likewise the jaunty keyboard led ‘Ski Machines’ is bolder than its studio self.

Other newies, ‘It Doesn’t Matter Who You Are’ and set closer ‘I Know What You Want’ are typical of the Experimental Pop Band's output, subtly mixing elements of pop, rock and dance to form memorable musical slabs that worm into the brain and refuse to leave. The band’s signature song, ‘Punk Rock Classic’, sits between the two and is cranked up before finishing in a wonderful semi-jam.

An encore is demanded and the band don’t disappoint with two gems; previous single ‘Bang, Bang You’re Dead’ and ‘Jodie’ from their last album, 'Tinsel Stars'.

Surely now is the time for The Experimental Pop Band to shed the cult tag and become a household name ?

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Commenting On: Brooksbottom Cricket Club, Summerseat, Bury, 21/3/2009 - Experimental Pop Band/Davey Woodward

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18957 Posted By: Kev (Derby)

Great gig. Really is a shame they don't tour more. They sounded better than what they do on record. Davey's solo gig weren't bad either. Come on lads put a bit of a tour together

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