By John Armstrong, Rock At Night Manchester
Venue: Outside The Badehaus, East Berlin, Germany
As autumn slipped into winter in a repurposed workers bathhouse near the Speer river in what was East Berlin, on a prematurely dark Monday night with weather of a distinctly Manchester flavour people came together from all across Europe for an eagerly anticipated gig: Peter Perrett of arguably power-pop’s finest band was touring his first album since 1996’s ‘The Only One’, which itself came after a 16 year gap prior to that when The Only Ones released their third album in 1980. An event of significant proportions indeed; and people gathered accordingly, those within talking range of me were excitedly telling each other how far they had travelled,; among others from the north Baltic coast of Germany (itself a four hour drive), from Denmark, from the North and South England, from Spain and also from Berlin.
The other pre-entertainment subject of conversation was general surprise that Perrett was indeed still alive and that the new album had been recorded at all. It is good to see a survivor and one who simply refused to become another rock and roll casualty, he has stated in interviews previously that he decided to engage his willpower – which he hadn’t felt he needed to before – and that becoming clean was easy after that. This is undoubtedly an understatement. Perrett now has the air of one who has escaped the clutches of death and is revelling in the joys and possibilities of each subsequent breath into lungs freshly recovered from the ravages of crack, and enjoying the pleasures of making music again.
The extensive set rightly centred on the outstanding new album, it’s sequence shuffled to keep us guessing and interspersed with a prime selection from The Only Ones back catalogue (and the Only One album) plus a tantalising glimpse of several songs from the as yet unrecorded follow up album to come next year. Inevitable shouts for ‘Another Girl Another Planet’ punctuated the brief tuning-gaps between songs to be met by Perret clearly at ease and enjoying every moment with “You’ll have to be more patient, you haven’t earned it yet.”
Peter Perrett video Epic Story
Peter Perrett video How The West Was Won
Peter Perrett website peterperrett.com
Peter Perrett facebook facebook.com/peterperrettmusic
Peter Perrett twitter @thepeterperrett
Petula website petula.org