‘Wax – Live: In Concert 1987′ reviewed

❉ The melodic rock duo captured live in 1987 and unearthed in 2019.

Last year, we had the pleasure of interviewing Graham Gouldman, a songwriting expert who’d written The Yardbirds fiery For Your Love when he was but a teenager. Furthering his fame as 10cc’s bassist, Gouldman contributed musical and lyrical ideas to UK no.1 hits I’m Not In Love, Rubber Bullets and Dreadlock Holiday, the last of which he sang himself. Eager to re-popularize themselves in America, Gouldman and 10cc agreed to collaborate with songwriting keyboardist Andrew Gold. On a wheezy effort, Gold’s contributions punched some gravitas into the album. “I think they were on the Ten Out of 10 (1981) album,” Gouldman recalled. “…..the three songs he wrote with us, they were all singles. Singles, none of which did anything, but it did show they were a cut above the other material!”

While it didn’t bring Gouldman American success, it did provide him a new writing partner, one which rose from the ashes of 10cc’s breakup. Gold’s past pedigree included stints as a session musician (recording backing tracks for Linda Ronstadt and Art Garfunkel) and a singer (Thank You for Being a Friend was a tidy top twenty hit). With Gouldman looking for a performer to write with, it was Gold’s phone number to turn to.

In a tidy compendium, this previously unreleased collection come together in a live setting right between the audience’s ears. This was a group destined for the stage, the ‘Zeppelin-tinted Ball and Chain and the jaunty Shadows of Love flowing with a steadiness unheard on the studio originals. A 1987 concert in Harrogate on November 27th was captured both on audio and video tape, showing the punchy power Wax held as a live unit. Eager to distance Wax from his better known band, Gouldman opted not to work with 10cc bandmates, making an exception to Rick Fenn due to his superlative six string skills. Keyboardist Roger Jackson and percussionist Mike Richardson completed the live piece, providing a rawer, more immediate musicianship to the meticulous playing favoured by Stockport’s Finest.

What they did share with 10cc are the division of vocals, Gold and Gouldman acting as co-frontmen on the band’s explosive material. Between the two, an admiration quickly emerges, particularly heard on the songwriter’s past work. Simply listening to Gouldman’s guitar staccato on Never Let Her Slip Away or Gold’s harmony through Bus Stop echoes the joy the pair feel for performing. Bridge To Your Heart enters with thunderous drum precision, while the batty American English is ramshackle fun.

Best of all, as part of the three-part CD/DVD, comes a live presentation of the night’s performance. In Some Other World, Dreadlock Holiday, Hear No Evil and Alright Tonight show the joy the five piece show as they fire from the sidelines. Gold’s husky hair and Gouldman’s doe-eyed demeanor show the pair as great frontmen, as well as songwriters. Together and apart, Gold and Gouldman could throw out classic after classic with Beatle like precision. It’s a tribute to one of the more successful of the post Lennon-McCartney partnerships.

‘Wax – Live: In Concert 1987′ (2 CD/1 DVD Digipak Edition) was released 27 September 2019 by Esoteric Recordings, a Cherry Red Records label. RRP £17.99.

❉  A regular contributor to We Are Cult, Eoghan Lyng’s writing has also appeared in New Sounds, Record Collector, CultureSonar, Punk Noir Magazine, DMovies, Phacemag and other titles. Follow him on TwitterVisit his homepage.

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