The Pogues party on this Christmas

Publication: What's On North East (

Author: Gordon Barr, Evening Chronicle

Date: December 3, 2009

Original Location: Link

THE Pogues have always been known for their wild ways and wilder shows.

But after so many years, you could be forgiven for thinking they had quietened down a tad.

They have, to a degree. But they still like to live the rock and roll lifestyle at times.

Not that band member Spider is doing that when we chat.

He is sat at home with his wife, gearing up for The Pogues festive tour, which arrives at the O2 Academy in Newcastle on Wednesday next week.

I suggest to him it doesn’t sound very showbiz and that The Pogues must now be maturing somewhat.

Spider initially agrees, but then laughs: “I look back on the old heady days with fondness, and I’m not sure about any maturing process!
“The time before last when we were in Newcastle, my wife and I went out and we bought this smoke machine and laser machine and really big speakers and set them up in our hotel room.

“We were playing this weird experimental music and we had Shane up in the room with us.

“We were saying to him not to look at the laser but he was sat there transfixed staring at the laser for hours.

“He’s never been the same since actually.”

As much a part of Christmas as mince pies and hangovers, for the past seven years the Pogues have celebrated the season by bringing their unique mix of traditional Irish folk, punk and classic songwriting to venues around the country.

They have just completed a US tour, and next week’s Newcastle show will see them performing classics like Streams of Whiskey, Sally MacLennane, A Rainy Night In Soho and, of course, everybody’s favourite Christmas song A Fairytale of New York, alongside many more.

“It is becoming something of an annual event,” admits Spider. It is a logical time to do it, I guess, because of Fairytale. But we do other stuff in the year as well.

“We’ve always done tours at Christmas, right from way back in the early days. We have something to hang it on as well.

“One of the encouraging things, and which shows us we’ve been doing something right all these years, is the age range. We always had a very wide age range, even from the old days as the music has a broad appeal.

“These days we are getting loads of kids coming, so that’s really good.

“When we play places like Japan it is very noticeable.

“As far as I can make out very few people from the old days are there. I don’t know if we should worry about that! The audience just seems to be 18 to 25.

“They used to be reserved in the past. It used to be a little difficult, it wasn’t easy to tell if we were going down well or not as they had this thing of being very quiet during the songs and bursting into applause at the end. We thought what’s going wrong here? Nowadays, particularly in Osaka, they are like Glaswegians. We went to a club called Mother and it was like the old days at the Barrowlands.

“The Geordie audience are really up for it. They are a really good crowd. Newcastle is a really nice city. We have been there loads of times. A lot of the time, you come into town, drop your bags off at the hotel, go do the soundcheck then do the show later on that evening and you are gone the next day.

“Since we got back together though we have had the opportunity to walk around and get a look at it and I really like the place.”

The Pogues are at the O2 Academy in Newcastle on Wednesday next week.

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