You know you’re a progaholic when…
Posted on Mar 17th, 2010 by Alan @ 11:34 pm

… you sing along to the keyboard solos!

My brother and I went to see It Bites a couple of weeks ago, it was the second time I’d seen them since they reformed a couple of years ago. On the first occasion John Mitchell had just joined as Frank Dunnery’s replacement, and this time round there was another replacement – Dick Nolan has been replaced on bass by Lee Pomegranate. Or something. He’s a great performer, unlike the original he plays with a smile on his face, and his classical training in, erm, Take That’s backing band really shows!

The support was from the Aynsley Lister Band – an awesome blues guitarist who really ought to be way more famous than he is. A generous guy too, sharing his name with the other 3 musicians on stage.

But enough about blues, we were there for widdly widdly prog, and we weren’t disappointed. The Bites were in fine form, and before we knew it it was 5 to 10, and they announced that they only had time for one more song – the ABC in Glasgow turns into a disco at 10pm, so they had a strict curfew. They had a cunning plan though – one that they’ve used before…

In between songs at the gig John Mitchell made reference to Virgin Records thinking they’d signed a pop group back in the 80s, and I’ve now got a fantastic image of the band sitting in their A&R man’s office on completion of the “difficult” second album. The first had spawned the bubblegum rock hit “Calling All The Heroes”, and they must have been expecting more upbeat 4-minute power pop classics. They were probably reasonably happy with side 1 (no big surprises in the first two tracks “Midnight” and “Kiss Like Judas”) but the longer the album went on the dafter it got. By the time it reached track 6, “The Old Man And The Angel”, John Beck would have been straightening his top hat, Bob Dalton sorting through his Dungeons & Dragons pieces, Frank Dunnery changing his name to Francis and pulling on a kaftan, and Dick Nolan would have been sitting there looking glaikit. “The Old Man And The Angel” is 9:21 of prog gold, and contains the aforementioned keyboard solos that my brother and I were singing along to in the car coming back from the Glasgow gig. Back in the day I used to sing along to the latin bits too, but thankfully I’ve forgotten them now!

After that spell of prog mayhem there’s a nice wee ballad (“Hunting The Whale”) and Virgin must have been relieved that the moment of self-indulgence had passed – time for another single. Aye right! Time for “Plastic Dreamer” more like, the late ’80s forerunner to Hollywood classics like “Small Soldiers” and “A Night At The Museum”. I’ve got a theory that there are two versions of this song, and the original was called “Plastic Reamer”, a song about what happens when you get locked in a sex shop at night… “The rabbits made love as I watched and applauded” – gotta be, right? So after that, the A&R chap has a wee Glasgow ABC moment and thinks, time for one more song. Yeah baby, time for 15 minutes of nonsense, and you’re not saying no to this because we’ve blown the budget and this is the title track!!! Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for “Once Around The World”!

Hands up who thinks these two songs were anything other than a wind-up???

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It Bites – Turn Me Loose
Posted on Aug 4th, 2007 by Alan @ 7:45 pm

Vintage pop-prog from Cumbria’s finest!

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It Bites – I Got You
Posted on May 10th, 2007 by Alan @ 6:19 pm

It Bites

Here’s a wee taster for the gig of the summer – the re-formed It Bites are headlining The Gig In The Glen at Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline on Saturday June 16th. Three of the original four members will be there – Francis Dunnery is busy reading the palms of horses in Philadelphia (or something) and he’s now been replaced on guitar and vocals by John Mitchell (of Arena, The Urbane, Kino, Frost* and very possibly many other bands)

This track is from the live CD they released after their comeback tour at the end of the year. “I Got You” was never my favourite It Bites track back in the day, but they really nail this live. The CD is well worth getting – especially if you’re one of those people who think that It Bites were Francis Dunnery. Mitchell is a very adequate replacement – I suspect he used to play along to It Bites records in his bedroom as a teenager, and he knows their stuff inside out. He’s also a better singer than Dunnery (in my opinion – obviously – who else’s did you expect?) and he’s a great frontman. As anyone who was at their King Tut’s show in December will tell you, his jokes are piss-poor, but I’ll let him off with that one I think.

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You can buy the live CD here – and their new album some time later this year I understand.

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