LIVE: Senseless Things – Shepherd’s Bush Empire 25/03/17
Going into tonight’s gig, I’m not entirely sure what to expect to be honest. As I’ve said on these webpages before, Senseless Things were a group I pretty much idolised growing up, from the time when I saw them playing their big hit Easy To Smile on Top of the Pops as a 13-year-old, to when they split up three years later following their lost classic fourth album Taking Care Of Business.
In the two decades or so since then, all four of the band members have remained fairly active, but pretty much all of their subsequent output has been a very clear break from the fast ‘n’ furious punk music that the Things were known for, be it electro-indie (Cass and Morgan’s late ’90s projects Delakota and M Organ), folk-rock (guitarist Ben is currently with Thee Faction) or goth psychedelia (Mark and Cass’ current whereabouts in the excellent Deadcuts). Don’t get me wrong, all of those bands have been good in their own right, but it’s kind of left the Things feeling a bit like a time capsule from another age altogether and you do wonder given how long it’s been whether the old magic will still be there?
As it turns out, tonight is everything a packed out Shepherd’s Bush Empire was hoping for and more right from the opening riff of Everybody’s Gone turning the whole floor into one giant moshpit. Come Together, Girlfriend and Is It Too Late? follow in rapid succession with the band hardly pausing for breath. The crowd may now be in their late thirties and early forties, but clearly the gig tonight is turning every single one of them (your correspondent included) into grinning hyperactive sixteen-year-olds again with the bouncers having to sprint about as a wave of crowdsurfers appears with every song.
The majority of the set is drawn from the group’s early material, with the group’s indie debut Postcard CV and its major label follow-up The First Of Too Many featuring heavily, and they’ve held up pretty damn well, thanks for asking – the group’s lightning-speed cover of The Slits’ Shoplifting sees the crowd well and truly going nuts, while Got It At The Delmar and Can’t Do Anything haven’t lost any of their energy over the years. A few numbers from the later albums do get an airing though with 16-18-21 and Touch Me On The Heath from Taking Care Of Business still sounding great, while Hold It Down (featuring Mark and Cass’ Deadcuts bandmate Jerome adding some extra guitar) and a furious Homophobic Asshole have both stood the test of time well. But whether the group are playing a huge hit like Easy To Smile or a relatively obscure B-side like the excellent Andi In A Karmann, it’s clear that these songs mean a lot to all the assembled here tonight, and it’s this that really makes it feel like a special occasion.
As the crowd drifts off into the night after a closing Too Much Kissing, which sees the crowdsurfing turn into a full on stage invasion at the band’s request, much to the security guards’ horror and everyone else’s delight, it’s pretty obvious that this was everything we’d hoped for and so much more. Although a new EP Lost Honey is on its way, it’s difficult to say if tonight will just be a one-off or something more permanent given the band members’ various schedules – with Deadcuts’ second album due for imminent release, plus Morgan’s current day job as part of Muse’s touring line-up, time looks likely to be at a premium for at least three of the Things in the coming months. Bluddyell though, if tonight was anything to go by then I really hope this isn’t the last we see of this band.