Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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This is my Church: The Waterboys at Meltdown

This is my church
This is where I heal my hurt
It's in the world I become
Content in the hum
Between voice and drum
It's in change
The poetic justice of cause and effect
Respect, love, compassion
This is my church

(Maxi Jazz, God is a DJ, Faithless)

If there is one band that has a spiritual core to its music, it's The Waterboys. Inspired by a mix of celtic Christianity and paganism, Mike Scott's folk rock is a powerful pointer to one man's spirtitual journey. It's music to lift the spirits and to make us realise there's more to life than the every day. Hymns to

Last night marypcb and I went to see The Waterboys play at the Meltdown 2002 arts festival in the South Bank Centre. David Bowie is curator of the festival this year, and he'd asked Mike Scott to play an acoustic set. Even stripped down to piano, violin and acoustic guitar The Waterboys' music can fill a hall. Celtic folk spins around rock rhythms to give the music a light edge, even when the lyrics explore the darker edges of human nature and the long night of the empty soul.

It's not just love songs and story songs and songs of yearning. One of the reasons I get so much from the The Waterboy's music is that Mike Scott's sense of the numinous seems to mirror mine - in the power of place, of the wild interfaces between land and sky and sea. His songs of place are something that draws me into his vision more and more.

But what of last night? Stripped back to basics the spirit of the music shone through. Mixing old and new songs, The Waterboys tore right into the tunes. Piano drove the violin to ever greater frenzies, while the guitar gently strummed its way through the songs, supporting Mike Scott's dark voice. The audience sat hushed, stilled by the music, except when pricked by the insistent repititions of the occasional jigs. The deep spirituality of Findhorn was brought to the concrete of the South Bank, and the bard smiled back at the enthralled crowd, gathered round the fire of their shared passions.

Damn fine.

And tonight, we're off to see The Divine Comedy.

Here we are in a special place
what are you gonna do here?
now we stand in a special place
what will you do here?
what show of soul
are we gonna get from you?
it could be Deliverance
or History

(The Waterboys, Don't Bang The Drum)

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