THE CHRISTIANS @ YORK FIBBERS

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THE CHRISTIANS at YORK FIBBERS. 18/11/16

Celebrating thirty years in the music business, Liverpool-based band The Christians are sounding better than ever, charismatic frontman Garry Christian possessing one of the finest voices in the country.

Given his soulful vocal talents, it was little surprise that Garry and his two brothers, Russell and Roger, found their way into the charts back in the late eighties with songs such as “Forgotten Town,” “Born Again” and the huge hit single “Harvest for the World.” A cover of The Isley Brothers song, “Harvest” reached number 8 in the UK singles chart, with all proceeds having gone to charity.

Back touring the UK to commemorate the 1987 release of their debut album, The Christians might only feature one original member in Garry, but they still have the integrity of a band without compare, Garry presently backed by five wonderfully talented musicians, with Joey Ankrah on lead guitar, Neil Griffiths on acoustic guitar, and Mike Triggs on keyboards.

Wasting no time in launching into “Born Again,” Garry’s voice scaled the necessary dizzy heights, backing harmonies from Joey and Neil adding another dimension to the song, effectively picking up from where Russell and Roger left off.

‘Is anybody here who’s in love? Well, this one’s for you!’ Garry clucked, an epic version of “Words” going down a storm. Attuned to the mood, a man in the crowd had scribbled a note for Garry to read out. It was a marriage proposal. As Garry searched the crowd for a lady called Paula, the unwitting recipient of such a proposal, the man doing the proposing dropped to one knee, taking matters back into his own hands. “Yes,” Paula said, clearly taken aback.

“Ideal World,” which peaked at number 14 in the UK, followed an introduction in which Garry reflected on the state of world affairs when the song came out, what with the Berlin Wall still standing, and a shot of hope required in order to lift people. “Forgotten Town,” similarly, brimmed with optimism, the lyrics encouraging people to see the good in their hometowns, even if they appeared to have little to offer on the surface.

Informally chatting between songs, Garry proved himself a hugely entertaining raconteur, proffering lighthearted anecdotes related to both his personal and professional life.

“We certainly got a lot of flak for our name, especially in America where they put our CDs in the religious section! But what could we do? It was our surname!” He also warned of the perils of wriggling into tight jeans, chuckling, ‘I put my back out the other day just trying to get into mine!’

Introducing a couple of “new” tracks from their latest album, 2015’s “We,” Garry related how the band had been hard at work recording their second album on 15 April, 1989, when they came down to watch the afternoon’s match, an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. It was a fixture that went on to become the most memorable of the entire decade – for all the wrong reasons. “Big Red Sky,” the final track on “We,” pays tribute to the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives that day, along with the families of such fans who have been fighting for justice ever since.

Chasing “Big Red Sky” with another new cut, “Inner City Blues” (released a few years ago as a single), it was obvious that fans were as fond of The Christians’ new material as they were their old, “Inner City Blues” oozing a reggae-inspired vibe.

The Christians certainly made the boldest of statements with their first single, “Forgotten Town,” a song that had led them to appear on “Top of the Pops.” Garry & Co. also aired arresting versions of “Greenbank Drive,” “The Perfect Moment,” “The Bottle,” and “Hooperville,” each song possessing a fantastically catchy melody.

After dashing off stage straight after “Hooperville,” the band returned to play the inevitable: “Harvest for the World.” With the animated promo video playing behind the band, the audience understandably went ballistic, singing and dancing along, Garry unable to suppress a grin owing to the enduring popularity of the song.

‘Thank you for a wonderful evening! We’ll be back next year!’ promised Garry, applauding the crowd before vanishing stage-left. Judging by the reaction of all those in attendance, 2017 can’t come fast enough.

www.thechristianslive.co.uk

(Steve Rudd)

Kindle user? Download Steve’s first book, “Pulse,” here

 

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