Neil Young & Crazy Horse set for 2013 UK tour
Neil Young and Crazy Horse visit UK for what is probably their last outing together
A grizzly bear of a man wrings sublimely heavy tones from a battered old Les Paul and a chain of massively overdriven amps while his seasoned companions sweat and toil to forge the most elemental of grooves: such is the lumbering majesty of Neil Young and Crazy Horse live. It's been 12 years since Young last rode the Horse into Scotland, and with the band approaching their seventies, the Alchemy Tour could well be their final outing together. All the more reason to throw on an old plaid shirt and submit to their slow burning power.
Notoriously dismissed as amateurs by the coke-addled LA hippy rock aristocracy (all the more reason to love 'em) Crazy Horse have a knack for summoning Young's most torrential energies. Their tender side shouldn't be overlooked, however: Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina's rough-hewn doo-wop harmonies are an essential component of the Crazy Horse sound, an embodiment of human frailty in the face of Young and Poncho's guitar hurricane.
After a decade-long separation, Neil Young and Crazy Horse reunited last year to widespread celebration. In a typically perverse move, their first album since 1996's underrated Broken Arrow was a goofy set of cranked-up folk covers, Americana followed in October by the double-album Psychedelic Pill. Beyond the meandering and lyrically eccentric 27-minute opener 'Driftin' Back' lie two of the best Young songs in years: 'Walk Like A Giant' and the gorgeous 'Ramada Inn'.
Reports from the recent Australian leg of the Alchemy Tour tell of hard rocking three-hour sets featuring brand new songs, the unexpected revival of deep cuts from 1975's classic Zuma and 1981's under-loved ReAcTor, and some theatrical antics involving lab-coated scientists. If this is the end for Neil Young and Crazy Horse, then they're going out in a blaze of ragged glory.
SECC, Glasgow, Thu 13 Jun