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Rollicking Rat -- Still an entertainer

Vicar St -- Chris Wasser

There are times during Bob Geldof's return to home turf where you begin to worry that there might be something wrong with the chap. It's the dancing, you see -- very awkward and twitchy. The voice doesn't help, either. Quite often, it's as though poor Bob (below) is suffering from a chronic case of the hiccups. "Na na, didi-din-dada, I don't mind at all," he sings. It's quite a moment. So much so that The Great Song of Indifference receives a second airing.

But there are also times when everything comes together -- when Geldof (60) and his band find their groove and stick to it. It just takes a while to get there. In fact, you need to look past a few things, such as the violinist's choice of suit jacket and vest, like Rab C Nesbitt. And let's not forget Bob's tendency to forget that this is a rock gig -- not a debate. He can call whoever he likes a c*** (and he does). He can air his feelings on whatever topic crosses his mind (and he does). But again, it's a Saturday night. And though it might be impossible for Geldof to leave his politics at home, it's no surprise that his audience still get a kick out of his speeches. Even if they came for the Rats.

"You'd think I'd be bored doing that," he smiles, having just delivered a stomping rendition of I Don't Like Mondays. And this is the Bob that shines; the wise-cracking giant who isn't afraid to make fun of himself for the sake of his art. He's well aware that his last record -- 2011's How to Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell -- sold "by the tens". But he'll play it loud and play it proud, the superb Silly Pretty Thing proving a fine example of how chart positions aren't always everything. Elsewhere, former Boomtown Rats bassist, Pete Briquette, only adds to the buzz of hearing Rat Trap live, 34 years after its release.

For the most part, it's a rollicking set; Geldof re-living his youth as a revved-up, sweaty-faced rock star. Musically speaking, he's a difficult man to pin down, but a great entertainer nonetheless.


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