Review: The Boomtown Rats at the Leamington Assembly
The launch of the Bandaid 30 single in support of the Embola crisis comes hot on the back and a successful and critically acclaimed tour for Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats.
In their heyday the Boomtown Rats were known as one of the best live bands around and were one of the most successful bands of the 1970’s in the UK. With a break of almost 30 years and a lead singer more famous for meeting world leaders than his stage presence, you ask yourself what do the Rats from Dun Laoghaire have to offer today?
Originally billed as The Nightlife Thugs for an October gig in 1975, the band changed their name just before hitting the stage. Geldof is credited for the name change to The Boomtown Rats who were a gang mentioned in Woody Guthrie’s autobiography ‘Bound For Glory’ a boom which he had read.
Their arrival in Leamington Spa comes on the back of a successful reunion in 2013 for the Isle of White Festival and then a UK and Ireland Tour.
Following a 40 minute set from support group Republica, The Boomtown Rats prepare before Sir Bob explodes onto the stage wearing, what is for this tour, a signature fake snakeskin suit. The Leamington stage could have been twice the size and every inch of it would have been used. This really is Bob Geldof and the Rats at their best; relevant, angry, and with energy only mirrored from those bands starting their carers.
Between songs Geldof argues the relevance of the Rats back catalogue on today, shouting, “not one word changed”, reaffirming the corrupt government that trigged the track Banana Republic is mirrored in events today “not one f@#king word changed”.
Anticipation does build up in the show for “I don’t like Monday’s” as he sings the line “and the lesson today is how to die”… there is an almost uncomfortable pause. With the Leamington audience in high sprits, they did not want to reflect on Bob personal life which has been played out in the national press, instead they act as if he has forgotten the words and shout variations of the next lyrics.
Geldof is still very much the leader, the activist, the man that wants things changed. He is having fun on stage and the Leamington audience were certainly not passive to his affection.
The Band Aid Geldof has given us the elder statesman; back on stage we are seeing the Boomtown Rats at their very best with a prediction of more to come. Once the publicity storm settled down for the Bandaid 30 we can expect a lot more of the Rats in 2015.
By Chris Egan