Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Hallelujah ( but Plenty Still to Praise

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Hallelujah ( but Plenty Still to Praise

Article excerpt

Byline: By Matt McKenzie

John Cale at The Sage Gateshead

I'll come clean: before last night's concert, I was convinced my evening's enjoyment hinged on one thing: whether Mr Cale played a song called Hallelujah.

Now it's not even his composition. But it's Cale's version that has haunted me since I first set ears on it. It is, I'm sure, among the most beautiful things on vinyl.

No, he didn't play it last night, damn him, but, and this is the most rewarding part, it didn't dim my enjoyment one bit. One of the reasons for the beauty of his Hallelujah is Cale's deep voice. Performing before the vastly underrated bed sheet backdrop, he purred his way through this set.

Gone are the bible black locks of his Velvet Underground days, replaced by the greying crop of a sixty-something elder statesman of rock.

And as if to justify his call to dance, he seems intent on proving he can still rock.

During OuttaTheBag it became clear that last year's acclaimed Black Acetate album makes most sense on stage, while Helen of Troy had him howling "Mercy, mercy me" with bellicose passion, against a lean band justifying their place on stage alongside him. …

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