IMG 20240223 211018 scaled

LIVE: Ultrasound – MOTH Club, London, 23/02/2024

If the words “I wanna stay young” mean anything to you, then you should have been in the MOTH Club last night. A venue that clearly used to be a Trades Club or Legion but had kept the wall-mounted motifs and boards of Chairman and Presidents. But with a gold sparkly roof.

The place was packed with 40-to-60-year-old people celebrating a 60th birthday. Andrew “Tiny” Wood, the iconic frontperson for Ultrasound was, in his own words, “an elder statesman” back in the late ’90s as the band rose and then fell in spectacular fashion. Only a few months had passed from the release of their debut LP Everything Picture and then they imploded into a puddle of drugs and ego. Too much too soon. They were courted like the Prom King and Queen by the great and the insidious of the record industry and Nude won. The debut album was a sprawling, monstrous beast. Epic, pompous, Prog, and Rock’n’Roll; It ruined them.

IMG 20240223 211025

But they rose again. Like a battered and bruised phoenix 12 years later and then two more albums in 2012 Play For Today and 2016 Real Britannia, continuing the legacy of nostalgia-tinted brilliance. On the latter, a 20-minute cyclical medley of 6 or 7 suites that feels like a mere moment in time.

But tonight might be the last time. It could be the last time. Maybe the last time, they don’t know. Oh No!! If it was, it was a fitting send-off for a band that you’d have had on a list of those that would never see the light of day again.

Time heals many wounds and it makes the heart grow fonder. It has been nearly eight years since these eyes last watched Tiny, Vanessa and Richard up on stage at Scala in King’s Cross to launch their last LP, and if anything, that made hearing choice cuts and B-sides from 25 years ago all the more sweeter.

Smashing into ‘Same Band’ after the intro to ‘Cross My Heart’ had played them onto the stage, it felt like time had stood still and I had visions of a tent in Reading as the 20th century slowly closed its doors. ‘Welfare State’ and ‘Kontiki‘ followed and a stunning ‘Soul Girl’. ‘Floodlit World‘ lit the place up.

IMG 20240223 211018 1

Between Two Rivers’ was tender and beautiful, ‘Suckle’ and ‘Sovereign‘ tore the glittery roof off, and of course, the incendiary ‘Stay Young’, which was bellowed back by the crowd, almost drowning Tiny out.

Much to the pleasure of several audience members, they reappeared and kicked into favourite B-side ‘Kurt Russell’ which allegedly hadn’t been played for a quarter of a century. And if that doesn’t make some of you feel old (including this slightly pissed hack on a train out of Waterloo) then I’m not sure what will. ‘Over There’ another rare flip side closed it off, and whilst there were plenty baying for further nuggets, that was that. A snapshot in time to treasure and keep.

There’s a chance we may never see them up there again, so I hope you all remember it. Those titans, those heroes, those blue remembered hills.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.