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  • Writer's pictureDwijiri Brahma Basumatary

LIVE REVIEW: The Chameleons @ Hangar 34, Liverpool

The Chameleons, Post-Punk alchemists of sound, descended upon Liverpool's Hangar 34 earlier in December and left ears ringing and hearts soaring. Having been touring since the 80s, the Manchester outfit are sounding as potent and evocative as ever.

Earlier that night, Birmingham's enigmatic Lesley Woods of Au Pairs had cast a fittingly introspective spell with her opening performance, showcasing her distinctive guitar work and powerful vocals. The audience, still hyped from her solo set, buzzed with anticipation for Blackpool ’s legendary Post-punk band The Membranes, rumoured to be the second opening slot...but they were mysteriously absent.

Then, emerging from a haze of strobing lights, The Chameleons finally took the stage. It was as if time itself had rewound. Newer tracks like ‘Monkeyland’ crackled with raw energy and driving percussion, with the crowd morphing into a joyous pogo before pulsating into a mosh pit as Mark Burgess barked the lyrics with primal intensity.

The setlist navigated seamlessly through the band’s rich discography. Burgess dedicated ‘Don’t Fall’ to John Peel, the influential radio presenter who championed their early work and played the track years ago, igniting the band’s journey. The signature chiming guitars, courtesy of Burgess and Reg Smithies, washed over the crowd, each note rich with melancholic melody and yearning.

Next, the band’s melancholic ‘Singing Rule Britannia’ revealed a hidden fragility beneath the anthem's swagger. Burgess, a captivating vocalist, commanded attention with his dramatic expressions and hand gestures. He surprised the audience with a playful medley that weaved snippets of other songs, including ‘Eleanor Rigby’, which added a touch of Beatlesque melancholy to the evening's sonic tapestry.

Amidst classics and new fire, The Chameleons also unveiled a hypnotic performance of their masterpiece, ‘Soul In Isolation’. Burgess sang of urban alienation, painting vivid and introspective portraits of forgotten corners. The highlight of the night was undoubtedly the mesmerising ‘Swamp Thing’. Its gorgeous riff hung heavy in the air. The crowd, captivated by its magnetic pull, fell silent, before erupting into dance.

By night's end, Hangar 34 thrummed with shared euphoria. The Chameleons, proved to be much more than a nostalgia trip, igniting timeless songs and forging connections across generations. Their sonic alchemy resonated within, a reminder of music's power to transport, uplift, and unite. The night was truly a testament to their legacy.


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