Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Life of Live - Icicle Works

Before going to poly i spent 8 months living in Worcester doing voluntary work. The flat I shared wasn't in the best part of town being right next to the sauce factory. One of my co - volunteers was someone called Jez who was 3 years older and therefore had an extra 3 years worth of music collection all stored on C90 tapes. Luckily all I had with me was a small tinny tape recorder and so over the 8 months I worked my way through his collection and discovered loads of stuff that over time became favourites that last to this day.

He had a copy of "7 Singles Deep" by the Icicle Works. All i knew about them at the time is the one hit wonder tag of "Love is a Wonderful Colour". After some tape to tape recording, for a period of time i could not stop playing these 7 songs.

On starting poly, I saw they were playing live in the first term and rushed out to get tickets, even persuading a couple of doubting new friends to come along. They were doubting because at the time the Icicle Works were a bit of a joke with the esteemed music press with each single seemingly greeted with scathing reviews.

Live, I think they were one of the best bands going. Ian Mcnabb was a natural front man and all the songs seemed much bigger than they did on record. The band often seemed to change the arrangements adding snatches of cover versions , extra verses , longer instrumental breaks in.
The 2 tracks I've posted really stick in my mind. Hollow Horse was just a rush of energy and Birds Fly with its manic drumming and almost chanting chorus created what seemed like just one mass of dancing and singing. I'm afraid listening back to the 2 studio versions I've posted they don't come near to capturing how i remember them live. Having said that they are still mighty fine songs!


  1. it hadnt dawned on me till now that there would be a sauce factory in Worcester!

    Excellent post. I reckon journos hated Mcnabb cos he wasnt slow in showing up their ignorances and prejudices whenever he was interviewed.

  2. If you get a chance read his book "Mersybeast" unlike most autobiogs he wrote it himself and it does read like you re down the pub whilst this bloke tells you stories. It is very honest ( the fact he couldnt stand the bass player in the band) and vey funny

  3. For me Ian McNabb belongs in the pantheon of great Liverpool Rockers (as a yank, I'm not sure if using Scouse would be terribly derrogatory). His persona is as strong as Mac's or Wylie's and his rock and roll story is just as deep and rich.


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