- Neil Cooper
- 5 February 2009
O2 Academy, Glasgow, Mon 16 Feb
As second comings go, few have been more anticipated than that of Howard Devoto’s hugely influential troupe of post-punk pioneers. Formed after Devoto left Buzzcocks and the one-chord wonderings of punk behind, Magazine were an infinitely more sophisticated proposition, whereby melodramatic baroque flourishes of prog punk glam wrapped themselves around Devoto’s studied ennui and literary allusions to Proust and Dostoyevsky. With a double-edged sword of a name that was part coffee table gloss, part loaded gun, from the opening ricochet of nervous urgency on the band’s 1978 debut single, ‘Shot By Both Sides’, Magazine were hailed as existentialist saviours.
Over four albums, including the classic The Correct Use of Soap, which featured ‘A Song From Under the Floorboards’, a three-verse distillation of Dostoyevsky’s ‘Notes From Underground’, and a set of works described in one review as ‘songs about love, songs about fear, songs about the fear of love and the love of fear’, Magazine, alas, remained on the margins. Since Devoto called time on the band in 1981, however, a Magazine revival has been a matter of time. Radiohead have covered them, while Morrissey recently played ‘A Song From Under the Floorboards’ in concert. With Devoto and original members Barry Adamson on bass, keyboardist Dave Formula and drummer John Doyle flicking through the band’s back pages at five very special shows with guitarist Noko from Devoto’s post-Magazine project Luxuria replacing the late John McGeogh, Magazine look set to finally be revered.