PAUL DRAPER + STEVE HEWITT’S LOVE AMONGST RUIN – BRIGHTON KOMEDIA, BRIGHTON 22.3.22
Paul Draper comes to the Komedia Brighton on date 20 of his 21 date UK tour to promote his new album ‘Cult Leader Tactics’ which you can purchase HERE. Let’s hope that he doesn’t try to indoctrinate us too aggressively.
Paul Draper was the frontman of Mansun – one of the most iconic bands of the late ’90s. Over the course of three albums (a fourth issued posthumously), they achieved something unique – after fostering a fervent cult following, they managed to maintain critical and commercial success with a series of intensely radio friendly yet increasingly experimental records. Off the back of their biggest radio record, Mansun imploded in 2003 and Paul all but disappeared from view until the release of his debut solo album ‘Spooky Action’ in 2017.
His sophomore album, ‘Cult Leader Tactics’, was released by KScope on January 28th 2022. Co-produced by Paul ‘P-Dub’ Walton (Massive Attack, The Cure, Bjork), ‘Cult Leader Tactics’ is a satire about the genre of self-help manuals, detailing how to get to the top of your profession or how to generally get on in life by acting in a Machiavellian manner and employing dirty tricks – or “Cult Leader Tactics” – to achieve your life goals.
Support this evening comes from Steve Hewitt, who himself has quite an impressive pedigree as the drummer with Placebo from 1996 to 2007, although tonight he plays acoustic guitar. Steve is joined by another member of ‘rock royalty’, Gizz Butt, who was the guitarist with The Prodigy from 1996 to 1999. He has also played with Sabbat, and fronts his own band, Janus Stark.
Tonight, Steve and Gizz are playing as an acoustic duo. It is Steve’s birthday and Gizz gets the audience to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him, which is nice. Despite playing acoustic, Gizz’s lead playing is really quite staggering. Steve’s song ‘Truth’ is dedicated to the people of Ukraine. ‘Watch Myself’ is dedicated to the landlord of Gizz’s studio in Peterborough, which judging by what seems to be the song’s subject matter could be perceived as being a bit sinister! Each of Steve’s songs is an absolute cracker. There are some performances which are an absolute honour to witness, and this is one of them.
Find out more at www.facebook.com/loveamongstruin
Having said that, the songwriter that we’ve come to see tonight is Paul Draper. He is also playing as part of a duo, with guitarist Ben Sink. On taking the stage he tells us that he’s “going to do some new songs”. Always happy to hear new material Paul! He reckons that his voice has dropped and that he can’t reach the high notes “without drinking plenty of tea”. Well, I can confirm that this strategy seems to be working really well!
The first two songs, ‘Cult Leader Tactics’ and ‘Annie’ are from the new album, whilst ‘Friends Make The Worst Enemies’ comes from Draper’s first album ‘Spooky Action’. However, the first dip into the Mansun songbook elicits the loudest audience reaction so far, with renditions of ‘Disgusting’ and ‘Negative’. I must confess that as Draper was far-and-away the main songwriter in Mansun, and also the lead singer, I see the Mansun back catalogue and Draper’s solo work as being part of the same oeuvre.
For ‘Dirty Trix’ from the new album, Paul uses a drum machine that he apparently bought on Ebay for 38p!!! Ben Sing’s contribution to tonight’s show really shouldn’t be overlooked, as he is responsible for some really staggering playing. In particular he really brings the Mansun songs to life.
‘Don’t Poke The Bear’ is a standout track from Paul’s solo debut ‘Spooky Action’, and gets a welcome airing tonight. The main set ends with Mansun’s ‘Wide Open Space’, but Paul and Ben return quickly for encores of ‘You’ve Got No Life Skills, Baby!’ and ‘Lyin Bout Who U Sleep With’, both from the new album. The venue tonight is half full at best, which is a terrible shame. Paul Draper is a top notch performer and songwriter, and quite frankly deserves a larger and wider audience. Paul’s solo work is not a million miles away from his material with Mansun, although he may not thank me for saying that. Basically, if you liked Mansun, then you’ll like Paul Draper’s solo work. Give the man a listen.
Find out more at pauldraperofficial.com