The Good Life | The Borderline | 20 February 2016
When The Good Life last played London, Bush and Brown were in charge, the first iPhone and final Harry Potter book had just come out, and the world’s best-selling album was by Avril Lavigne.
So when the band return to The Borderline for the first time since 4 December 2007, there’s much catching up to do. ‘Lovers Need Lawyers’ from 2004’s ‘Album Of The Year’ and 2007’s ‘You Don’t Feel Like Home To Me’ are instant refreshers, before frontman Tim Kasher apologises.
“We haven’t been here in a long time.”
No argument there, just appreciative cheers from fans who’ve been waiting close on a decade. “The pleasure’s all ours,” he responds. But he’s wrong: the vocal audience are clearly as thrilled as the musicians.to be there. ‘Holy Shit’, the night’s first taster of 2015 album ‘Everybody’s Coming Down’, is greeted with almost as much reverence as back catalogue favourite, ‘Inmates’. One of the set’s highlights, over almost 10 minutes it sways gently between a solo vocal performance by bassist Stefanie Drootin-Senseney, folky duet with Kasher, and jangly uptempo singalong.
Going even further back in time, ‘O’ Rourke’s 1:20 a.m.’ sounds warmer and less jittery than it does on 2002’s ‘Black Out’ and the bleak despair of 2000’s maudlin ‘A Dim Entrance’ briefly renders the room silent. ‘The Troubadour’s Green Room’, a new classic, not only brings us bang up to date but instantly lifts the mood ahead of long-awaited set cornerstone ‘Album Of The Year’. With Kasher sounding even more impassioned than he has all night, the song soars gloriously above the unsolicited backing vocals coming from the foot of the stage. An unequivocal triumph, it can only be followed by the best of the new bunch: the scuzzy rock celebration ‘Everybody’ which gives multi-instrumentalist Ryan Fox, drummer Roger L. Lewis, and the fans a real physical workout.
More of an emotional workout, ‘Some Bullshit Escape’ wraps up a night of reconnection given even more intimacy by the occasional moment of confusion between songs.
“We’re messing up all the minor things,” Kasher laughs at one point, “but the major things we’re getting so fucking right.”
Again, no argument there.