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Five thoughts: Echo & The Bunnymen at Brooklyn Bowl (July 28)

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Jason Harris

1. Lead singer Ian McCullough’s clear baritone has given way to vocals far more gravelly. Years of use—and who knows what else—have turned his smooth sound into something more difficult to absorb, though still worthwhile. Ironically, he sounds more like Jim Morrison now than when the Bunnymen covered “People Are Strange” (not played on this night) in 1987.

2. The mid-song interludes proved interesting, as the band would launch into other songs without changing the rhythms or melodies of whatever they were already playing. Example: “Do It Clean” saw McCullough channel James Brown’s “Sex Machine” lyrically ... but only lyrically. The same happened in “Nothing Lasts Forever” with “Walk on the Wild Side” by Lou Reed.

3. McCullough is a character out of a dry British sitcom. He had no problems remembering any of the words to any songs, except seemingly for “Bring on the Dancing Horses,” one of the Bunnymen’s best-known and most defining tunes. He often spoke to the crowd between songs, but with such a thick accent, it was nearly impossible to understand any of it. Then, of course, as he sang, he enunciated perfectly clearly.

4. How about the understated guitar skills of Will Sergeant? For the most part, he was contained throughout the night, but his ax got to chop wood on songs like “Never Stop.”

5. The hits were played. A rocking, extended “Lips Like Sugar” closed the show with Sergeant again shining. “The Killing Moon” retained all of its misty moodiness. A high-energy “The Cutter” had fans singing throughout. But they were all surpassed by a stunning rendition of the rarely played “All My Colours.” Zimbo indeed.

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