Moving Pictures 19th August 2023 - The Garage, Glasgow
Those of you familiar with my journalistic work over the past thirty-odd years (my mum) will know that I'm not one for going Gonzo style and jumping straight into the hardcore action. I like a bit of a storyline, some character building, and a bit of exposition. If you want to go directly for the moneyshot, though, scroll down past all the personal stuff, you heartless bastard. But it IS important to the review; trust me.
I have to first of all mention that my lack of familiarity with our local transit system and getting on the train due to leave thirty minutes later than the one I was supposed to take meant that I missed all of Leoni Jane Kennedy's set and a considerable chunk of the Clockwork Angels set. It was my turn to drive, and I opted (stupidly) for the train.
From what little I heard of them, though, Clockwork Angels pulled out a great performance and their last-minute drummer replacement, Micky Kerrigan (who, we're told, had only one rehearsal prior to the gig) knocked it out the park. But, as I didn't get to enjoy their full set, I'll refrain from delving further until such times as I can take in an entire performance.
The people I'd come to see were Moving Pictures.
I may fit the Rush demographic perfectly I'm in my fifties, I'm male, and my mind starts to wander after thirty minutes of 4/4 timing. Despite that, I'd never managed to see Rush live. I never tried. The truth is, and I feel as though I should take my place on the naughty spot, or even throw myself at the mercy of a world lit only by fire... I'm late to the party. I have a Facebook post from March 27th 2018 which reads: "Only started listening to Rush a week or so ago."
But they changed me. Having been a multi-instrumentalist for as long as I can remember, I was pretty set in my ways when it came to how I wrote music. My drumming style was very specific, as was my guitar playing. The basslines would stem from whatever I'd written on the guitar and drums, but it was still very much the same style any time I recorded.
In the space of only four years, though, the musical slate from the prior forty-six years was wiped clean. I learned what it meant to embrace space, to give breathing room to other instruments, and to treat the drums as an instrument rather than simply a way to keep everyone playing at the same pace. My writing and playing have improved beyond belief. I HAD to see Rush live, whatever the cost. Even if I had to travel to the USA or Canada, I would absolutely be seeing them live all I had to do was to visit their website and see what dates they had comi...
"We have no plans to tour or record anymore. We're basically done. After 41 years, we felt it was enough."
To have a band change your life and then immediately realise that you could never experience them in person... I don't mind telling you, assuming you're still with me considering this is supposed to be a live review (I did say it was important, though), that I felt an overwhelming sadness wash over me. And then, of course, the untimely death of Neil made it clear that any chance of a reunion was well and truly off the cards. I'd heard of RushFest. I've seen several tribute bands post their dates on social media, but I've always ignored them. They're not Rush. They're just pretend Rush. It's not the same.
The Garage, Glasgow. August 19th, 2023. I finally gave in to countless bouts of self-coercion and went along to see a Rush tribute band. It was Moving Pictures. My fellow bandmate and Rush fan, Baz, came along with me as he, too, missed his opportunity to witness Rush live.
As someone who has both loved The Garage and had played there, it was a joy to be back in familiar territory, and with a packed house. Within moments, we were treated to a somewhat truncated rendition of the medley from the R30 DVD ("Finding My Way" into "Anthem") before they mercilessly threw themselves to the Glasgow lions by bursting into the glorious "La Villa Strangiato". They had only been on stage for mere minutes and already my face was aching from the sustained grin.
I had known in advance that they were planning on playing through all of Moving Pictures, but I had assumed they meant they'd play each of the songs throughout the night, having them pepper their set. When they shifted from the impeccably executed "Tom Sawyer" into "Red Barchetta", though, it became clear that we were being blessed by a sequential performance of what is perhaps their best-known and most pivotal of albums in its entirety. My face was still aching, but now it was from singing at full volume while these strangers who weren't actually Rush made me feel as though I was finally attending a legitimate Rush concert.
As soon as that ride bell kicked in with the morse, I yelled with delight. The trio danced their way through a perfect rendition of "YYZ" and, almost on cue, the mesmerised crowd leapt into action by singing along with that "dum-diddy-duh-duhhh dummm" bit, just in case anyone in the band had forgotten how it went. It was at this point where it became clear how much fun was being had by our hosts. Steve (Brown, guitar) and Eoin (de Paor, bass) flirted with each other as they swaggered across the stage while Jamie (Dunleavey, drums) grinned away at their shenanigans. The accuracy with which they all play while still maintaining a lighthearted approach to their performance is, well, it's exactly as you'd expect from Rush themselves.
Baz, my brother in arms, let out a cry of "Yes!" when the opening chords of "Limelight" tore through the cheers it's his favourite track, and the tears of joy running down his face halfway through the song are testament to how electrifying the performance was, and how incredibly familiar it all felt. I've seen many grown men cry (usually after dropping slabs on themselves) but this was my first time witnessing someone reduced to tears through rock music, especially music being played by someone other than the original artists. This, in itself, speaks volumes.
"The Camera Eye" and "Witch Hunt" as you'd expect, were up next. Both of those songs could easily be mistaken for album filler there are no standout hooks, neither really has a chorus to speak of, and are more musical meanderings than anything. Live, however, they just kick serious ass.
Even with guitar being my primary instrument, I spend almost all of my time at gigs watching the drummer it's not something I can explain; it just is. It was therefore easy for me to see that something was amiss with Jamie's in-ear monitoring system from early on in "Vital Signs". Despite wildly gesticulating to the crew that she had issues, she never missed a beat and managed to keep that Peart train rolling until the end, impressive doesn't come close.
Hearing "By-Tor" and "Between the Wheels" live was a real shocker to me. The former had escaped me for half of my time as a Rush fan as Amazon Music, for whatever reason, never included it as part of the Fly By Night album. It was through watching them live that I heard about this elusive snow dog and wondered why, despite having "Rush, in Order" as my most-listened-to playlist with ALL songs included, I had never heard it. Once I found it on a compilation and manually added it to the album, I fell in love with it. Getting to hear it live was a real treat.
I defy anyone not to bounce their head like an idiot with "Stick it Out" comes on, and that's precisely what this vertigo-suffering clown did for the entirety of its performance. The energy between Steve, Eoin, and Jamie was insane as they embodied Lifeson, Lee, and Peart before my eyes. When that staggered intro for "Far Cry" came crashing through the PA, the pain in my face reached new heights. It's my favourite Rush song to play on the drums, has such a beautiful chorus, and I was bouncing around like an idiot the entire time. I remember thinking to myself, "You can't get much better than this!" and then it turns out I was wrong.
Holy hell, did it ever get better. It's been said by countless bands and performers that Glasgow is the best place in the world to play as it has the best crowd. I agree. I've lost count of the number of bands I've seen where the audience carried the song to either the joy or chagrin of those on stage. When you hear a 600 to 800-strong Garage audience open their lungs with "And the men who hold high places must be the ones who start..."
Words cannot express the suffocating wave of emotion that took over me at that point. Only a few words into the opening line, I found myself unable to form the words and realised that, like Baz, I had tears coming down my face. It was a moment of unspeakable beauty and unity between performer and audience I have never been so moved at any gig prior to that night, nor do I think I will again. But, like all good writers dealing with a melancholy scene, they were able to raise a smile as Steve produced a copy of Women's Weekly during Eoin's bass solo, showing Eoin some of the interesting articles as his fingers ran around the fretboard. It's practically impossible to embody the spirit of Rush without evoking their unique brand of playful nonsense, and this was right up there with Barbie dolls, dinosaurs, and popcorn machines.
Despite Geddy having a lot of disdain for "Lakeside Park", the lyrics transport you to 'a better vanished time' and Moving Pictures carried it off beautifully. For a few minutes, it was the 24th of May and we were all there, sitting on the sand. Steve also took some time to mention that they'd be flying out to Lakeside Park the following weekend as guests of Neil's sister, Nancy, to perform at the Peart Family Memorial fundraising golf tournament. If you ever doubted your legitimacy as a Rush tribute band, this would surely be the best affirmation possible.
As soon as those heavy synths kicked in, I knew we were about to be treated to "Xanadu" and there was a good chance that they would be nearing the end of their set. This performance, however, was not only dedicated to Neil but also two of the dedicated Moving Pictures family - Lynne Gore and Peter Brockbank - showing that we don't necessarily need to seek out Xanadu to find immortality as it's there in the hearts of those whose lives we touched along the way. I can't think of a more fitting tribute to Neil, Lynne, and Peter than watching Steve, Eoin, and Jamie play the 45-year-old classic as effortlessly as they would run through scales.
In true musician fashion, the trio tricked us all into believing that they were done for the night before miraculously reappearing to indulge themselves, and us, with the graceful "Working Man". I think it was halfway through when I turned to Baz to muse about the fact it was played in full on mainstream radio at the time something you'd never get these days. Remarkable, and sad, how far the industry has fallen over the decades.
This is further reinforced by the last full-length song of the night, the opening track of my personal favourite Rush album "The Spirit of Radio". Once more, the Glasgow audience helps out by reminding everyone what the lyrics are. Just in case. And to ensure we leave the venue with yet another swift kick to the emotional nutsack, everyone chanted along to "The Sphere". It was originally the perfect way to end a fantastic concept piece, and became the perfect way to end an incredible night.
I crossed the threshold to The Garage that night, perfectly prepared to enjoy watching a trio of Rush fans play some of their favourite music to a crowd of likeminded people. I left with a sense of enlightenment and a greater appreciation for tribute bands, and newfound lifelong support for the band who calls themselves Moving Pictures. Because, despite coming late to the party and feeling a sense of loss in the knowledge that I'd never get to see Rush live... I did. It may not have been Alex, Geddy, and Neil in person, but they were there in spirit and their energy filled the hall in unimaginable ways. As I said to Baz in the hazy darkness of Sauchiehall St after the show ended, if I'd closed my eyes at any point, I would have been convinced that I was hearing Rush themselves.
Steve, Eoin, and Jamie may not be Rush, but anyone who missed out on their chance or who still aches to see Rush live really could do no better than to catch Moving Pictures. I've already secured my space at Hard Rock Cafe in October to catch the full Permanent Waves performance.
A Mind-Blowing Ode to Legends RUSH – Moving Pictures Live @ The Garage, Moving Pictures is the exciting trio that pays homage to the trio of Lee, Lifeson & Peart.
Tonight is my first time catching Moving Pictures as the last time I was sick but rest assured I made sure that I was going to get acquainted with this fantastic cover band, I made my way backstage to find Steve, Eoin & Jamie as I was about to interview the trio and get to know what makes them tick and what makes them play the music of RUSH, we find a quiet corner and get into the chat which will be broadcast in the next day or two for you all to see, the night is filled with excitement and tension as showtime approaches and the place is filling up nicely which is great to see for a tribute show. I take my place at the curtain as the trio step on stage to rapturous applause as they wave and smile at the full house that is before them
The setlist was an impeccably crafted tapestry of Rush’s greatest hits, seamlessly weaving through the decades. Classics came to us like a hurricane as we led with R30 which got this crowd whipped into a frenzy as they watched in awe at this powering trio as they lit up The Garage tonight.
We lapped up the applause and watched as the band readied us for ” La Villa Strangiato” which set the tone for tonight’s look back at one of the finest bands to grace a stage anywhere, as the crowd were getting warmed up we strolled straight into ” Tom Sawyer” that erupted The Garage into a wall of sound as they got to grips with what was in front of them tonight.
The sublime playing from Steve, Eoin & Jamie was just incredible as they really are masters of their craft and I can tell you that Jamie is one fine drummer and is the driving force for the two boys as she brings the rhythm section front & centre with her colossal playing, we roll into “Red Barchetta” which was the backbone of the Moving Pictures segment of tonight’s epic show.
We rolled through the classics in the form of “YYZ, Limelight, The Camera Eye, Witch Hunt & Vital Signs all of which got this crowd excited as they sang at the top of their voices and the band smiled from ear to ear as they saw the joy in peoples faces tonight and I for 1 was glad I came to the show courtesy of my good friend
Peter from ShockCityProductions as he was telling me I would not be disappointed with tonight’s entertainment.
But it wasn’t just about the music. The visual spectacle accompanying the performance was a true homage to Rush’s legacy. The lighting, the visuals, and the stage presence transported us through Rush’s iconic album covers and live shows. It was a mesmerizing fusion of sight and sound, creating an experience that was nothing short of awe-inspiring.
One thing that really struck me was how the band managed to capture the intimate camaraderie that Rush shared on stage. The chemistry between the members of “Moving Pictures” was palpable, mirroring the tight-knit bond that made Rush legendary. It was as if they were channelling the very essence of these rock pioneers.
In the second segment of the show we take a leap through their massive catalogue of song covers the likes of “By Tor, Between The Wheels, Stick It Out, Far Cry and drop into the mesmerising Closer To The Heart that took the noise level up a notch or two.
The band takes us on a journey through “Lakeside Park” which leads nicely onto Steve telling the audience that they are catching a plane to Canada on Wednesday to Play at the famous Lakeside that is close to their charity work that they have carried on through Neil’s sister and this brings a huge round of applause.
As the night drew to a close, we were treated to the classic “Xanadu” which got us all hot and sweaty and the sound reverberated through the venue, I found myself in a state of musical ecstasy. “Moving Pictures: A Rush Tribute” didn’t just perform Rush’s music; they channelled their spirit, energy, and legacy. This wasn’t a mere tribute; it was a musical séance that connected us to the very heart of Rush.
We hit the last segment of the show and were handed the deep pounding sound of “Working Man” & “The Sphere that finished a magical night that treated every RUSH fan to a journey that tells the story of this magical band and their connection to their legions of fans all over the world, I came away thinking that was something special as I got to witness a masterclass that spellbinding in the way that Steve, Eoin & Jamie drew us in and spun us around and left us wanting more, tonight was an incredible night that will be with me for a long time to come.
- Steve Brown – Guitars / Pedal Keys / Vocals
- Eoin De Paor – Vocals / Bass / Keys
- Jamie Dunleavy – Drums / Percussion
- La Villa Strangiato
- Tom Sawyer
- Red Barchetta
- The Camera Eye
- Witch Hunt
- Vital Signs
- By Tor
- Between The Wheels
- Stick It Out
- Far Cry
- Closer To The Heart
- Lakeside Park
- Working Man
- The Sphere
Catch the Spirit…
An Evening Of Rush – Moving Pictures with Clockwork Angels and Leoni Jane Kennedy The Garage, Glasgow, 19th August 2023
An Evening Of Rush, performed in the main hall (such was the ticket demand) of The Garage was, in effect, a mini RushFest, but with a bigger touring picture in the frame for the headline act.
Moving Pictures are, for this writer, reviewer and Rush fan, the best and most authentic Rush tribute currently plying their trade on many a stage – indeed by the time this year is out MP will have played close to 50 gigs up & down the country, from Inverness to Worthing; later this month they will play Lakeside Park in Ontario as invited guests of Neil Peart’s sisters (that’s how far their talents, and ‘Rush family’ connections, which also include Rush producer Terry Brown and cover artist/ musician Hugh Syme, stretch).
At The Garage Moving Pictures biggest show to date (including additional lighting from Kevin Cain, who worked on Rush’s Moving Pictures tour) featured not just a full two hour performance from the trio of Steve Brown (guitars, vocals), Eóin de Paor (lead vocals, bass, keys) and Jamie Dunleavey (drums), but an hour’s worth of Rush from Clockwork Angels and a short, introductory showcase from up and coming singer-songwriter Leoni Jane Kennedy.
A major Rush fan since before she was in her teens, the soulfully voiced LJK’s two song set featured the delicately phrased original 'Ammunition' and a jaunty-folk version of 'Kid Gloves.' The latter is also on her recently released New World Woman album, a collection of acoustic Rush covers, many with a clever/ reimagined twist.
If you want to keep a further eye and ear on Miss Kennedy, she is back out on the road with The Anchoress in September; she also hopes to put out a couple of singles later in the year before looking to release an all-original album in 2024.
Clockwork Angels, like Moving Pictures, have long been accepted as a Glasgow approved Rush tribute, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still have to put in a shift in to convince and impress one of the most dedicated and avid fan-bases in rock.
Other than a couple of not-that-noticeable flubs, a seriously convincing and impressive shift is exactly what a packed Garage crowd got from CA, which was all the more impressive given drummer Micky Kerrigan was deputising for regular drummer, the on holiday Stephen McGoldrick.
To lock down a Rush set in the engine room, after only one rehearsal, was no easy task, but Kerrigan coped admirably as he, singer Andy Dixon (not Geddy-like but impressively voiced), guitarist Lerxst Omega (aka Greig McMillan) and Willie Winsborough (bass, keys, backing vocals) delivered a set that avoided the obvious to concentrate, for the most part, on Rush’s synth textured mid-era period.
Opening with 'Chemistry' from the Signals album was a little left field, but that just made for a more interesting and entertaining set – fan favourite 'Subdivisions,' the AOR-prog of 'Grand Designs' (the crowd in full "woh-oh oh-oh-oh-oh" voice) the grungier 'Driven' and the downtempo poignancy of 'Bravado' (featuring Andy Dixon’s best vocal of the night) were all highlights.
The band closed out by taking a 'Headlong Flight' into the album that gave Clockwork Angels their name, followed by a band introducing 'Grand Finale' (preceded by a miscued blast of the 2112 intro that gave those stage managing the set-length time an absolute fit).
As warmly received as Leoni Jane Kennedy’s mini-set was, and as vociferously acknowledged as Clockwork Angels were, there’s no question The Garage spotlight was on Moving Pictures as they continue to slowly but assuredly take their Rush show to bigger halls, bigger audiences and out beyond the fandom of RushFest events.
While CA cover Rush material with passion and aplomb, MP, under the founding and managerial guidance of Steve Brown (whose aforementioned RushFest events, which will celebrate their tenth anniversary next year, have thus far made £101,000 for charity) do their damnedest to catch not just the spirit of Rush but every note, nuance and beat of the songs they perform from that revered band’s stellar catalogue.
Opening with a truncated 'R30' medley of 'Finding My Way' and 'Anthem,' the band then switched up to an unabridged 'La Villa Strangiato;' no easy three-piece feat to pull off, but the MP version of the classic, multi-part instrumental was none too shabby, with some seriously nifty six-string play from Steve Brown.
Given the band are named after one of Rush’s finest ever works (and one of the greatest, progressively constructed rock albums of the 80s) it was a no brainer to feature the Moving Pictures album in its entirety for this special gig.
Each of that classic album’s song were played authentically and performed at a high level, but special mention to 'Tom Sawyer' (The Garage choir in full decibel raising voice, not for the first or last time) and a ridiculously well-handled 'YYZ,' which included the crowd doing their best Rush in Rio "dah da-da-da-da doh" impression (and serious nods here to the bass and drum work of Eóin de Paor and Jamie Dunleavey, the latter doing more on a kit smaller than Neil Peart’s percussive armoury than should be possible).
Outside of the Moving Pictures showcase 'Xanadu' offered itself up as a true double neck guitars highlight, from its bell chimes accompanied opening to crescendo finish, while 'Closer To The Heart' set up the commemorative sing-a-long moment of the night (many "of an age" audience members were part of the Rush gig at the legendary Glasgow Apollo 43 years ago where the "Glaswegian Choir" made their voices heard on Exit… Stage Left).
Both those songs also helped showcase that Eóin de Paor is the perfect fit in the role of Geddy Lee as regards similar mechanics (and even physicality), locking the bass lines down and, more importantly, voice (not the same timbre but very much of the more mature Geddy mould).
Other highlights included 'Between The Wheels,' a punchy 'Stick It Out,' 'Lakeside Park' (in celebration of the band’s upcoming trip), 'Far Cry' (with three suitably attired Moving Pictures workers, including Leoni Jane Kennedy, firing, on Far Cry cue, confetti cannons into the crowd) 'Working Man' and short & sweet sing-a-long finale, 'The Sphere.' All made their mark on both performance and audience, where grown men did actually cry (or was it perspiration running down the faces due to the packed crowd and hot lights?)
Job done, Moving Pictures took their bows and made their exit (stage left, natch). And, on this showing, there will be plenty more, potentially bigger stages to take their fully deserved bows on. And not, as is already being established, just within the confines of the UK.
Catch the spirit; catch the tribute.