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Thursday, 11 May 2017

Going out #1 with Wheatus and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Photo used with permission. Ryan Hillier
Wheatus - O2ABC2 - Glasgow 08/05/17

Apparently third time is the charm. Everyone says it, but Wheatus didn't need three times to impress.
They managed to do it the first time that I caught a live set, raised the bar the second time, and just confirmed to me with the third that they should be considered a bucket list band for music fans.
By that I mean that everyone should see them at least once
Okay, maybe not everyone.
If you loathe superb musicianship, have an issue with song writing of the highest calibre, and can't bring yourself to be in the same room as an engaging performer who can create moments of magic, then Wheatus probably aren't the band for you.
But for everyone else, then yes, go and see Wheatus.
Ditch any 'where are they now' preconceived ideas that they are a blast from the past, and allow yourself to dip a toe in, then quickly throw caution to the wind and just immerse yourself in their broad and varied career.
With five albums released, numerous ep's out there, and who knows how many gigs under their belts, they have ultimately created a monster of a live outfit that can deliver on every promise that they dare to make.
Take their latest Glasgow date as an example.
Tossing the notion of a set list to the wind they took to the stage and asked what we wanted.
Song titles were roared out and they met every demand made of them.
Most have marvelled at Springsteen devoting part of a set to doing this, but who let's the fans dictate the pace of a full show?
That's who.
The whole show actually surpassed the usual level of engagement between artist and fan, and became a communal relationship that delivered rewards that had to be experienced to fully comprehend.
It's difficult not to delve into the big book of superlatives to describe just how good this band are, but if you doubt it then just sit outside a venue the next time they play in your nearest city and carefully watch the faces of the people leaving at the end.
Consider the smiles on display, the joy emanating from those who had just indulged themselves by attending the gig.
Then ask yourself if you want a big slice of what they just had.
The answer is of course you do.
Who wouldn't?
So next time treat yourself, because you're worth it.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Sequels are stereotypically a complete let down. Everyone knows it.
Once the box office receipts start to pile up the race is on to get something in front of the public before they lose interest.
Who cares about the story arc, just throw another million at the CGI. What do you mean the original cast are not available? Introduce someone else in the role.
Thankfully there are those that do buck the trend of mediocrity, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is one of that rare bread.
If you loved the Star Lords debut then it is doubtful that you will find anything to complain about with his return.
Unless you are a critic employed to dig deep and find something negative to hang a whole review on.
In fact without the preamble of having to introduce the characters to the audience the brakes are off from the opening sequence and you are advised to hang onto your hat for the thrill ride that is then rolled out.
It’s an all killer and no filler addition to the franchise.
The elephant in the room is that there has been some mutterings about it failing to live up to the first outing, and as it is all personal opinion then I can’t critique their critique, but instead just make the bold statement that they are wrong.
There’s nothing strained about the movie, nothing lags, and whoever it was that commented in a broadsheet review that it would have been nice if they had actually saved the galaxy again should be directed back to the cinema and told to watch the film that he, or she, is supposed to be reviewing as that is exactly what they do.
Sorry for the spoiler, but let’s be honest and admit that it’s no great surprise that the heroes ride in and save the day.
It would have been so easy to even just have a run through of the first movie with a few alterations to avoid Marvel suing Marvel for plagiarism, but this really isn’t that.
It’s not even close.
By the closing credits the audience are left feeling that they know far more about the characters, are more invested, and already wondering when Vol 3 will drop.
All in all it is everything that it is supposed to be, and a little bit more.

This is one happy customer/fan that can’t find fault with it.

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