North Pier theatre, Blackpool
Damon Albarn jabs a finger at Brexit Britain’s divisions but the show turns bawdily riotous and, with the help of a male voice choir, inspirational
Away from the Golden Sands and kiss-me-quick hats, Blackpool – with its pale glamour, devastating poverty and austerity, and where 67% voted to go away the EU – is startlingly emblematic of the problems and divisions dealing with trendy Britain. Thus, a rehearsal room right here was the start line (in 2017) for The Good, The Bad & the Queen’s new, second album, Merrie Land, by which Damon Albarn, the polymathic songwriter who once soundtracked Cool Britannia with Blur’s Britpop colossus, Parklife, makes an attempt to make sense of post-referendum Brexit Britain.
After low-key gigs in similarly pro-Brexit North Tyneside, this lovely previous Victorian theatre makes the right setting to hear the album in its entirety, yards from the Merrie England bar that impressed its title, and with Albarn animatedly leaping round what he calls a “hallowed” stage, which was graced by the likes of Tommy Cooper in more affluent occasions.Continue reading...