The Boomtown Rats

Ratlife UK Tour
The Forum, Kentish Town
Live review: Fiodora P
Photos: Svenja Block

Whoever came up with the idea of Republica as Special, No really ‘Special’ guests to the Boomtown Rats, on their Ratlife UK tour, is an absolute genius!

Both Bands have been around for a few years (some more than others), and after some 16 dates, give or take,  plenty of travel , some hics’ and lots of ups, you would think there would be some signs of fatigue. No chance, both bands would give any young whippersnappers a run for their money.

We were lucky to catch them at the Finale extravaganza of this UK union, the Forum, Kentish ‘BOOM’ Town. The room steadily filled, there was a hum of familiar faces catching up, an already fully seated balcony  and the front row spots quickly diminishing.

As the house lights dimmed, the whole room went silent, like some naughty bunch of kids. All eyes to the front as Tim Dorney, (keys/synths) , Johnny Glue, guitar, and latest recruit, Conor Lawrence, on drums, do the obligatory last tech checks, before stage lights go up and our Golden girl Saffron glides in. She promptly kicks it off, in her usual let’s have it style.

After “From Rush Hour With Love”, and “Out of the Darkness”, the baseball jacket had to go, too hot after 2 songs in, amazing instant warmth in the house, like someone had just cranked the heating up to full blast.

“Drop Dead Gorgeous”, one of the greatest singalongs ever, nearly finished us off in the pit . Time for a much needed , softener  “Try Everything” , showing another side to multi – facetted Republica,  I’m  so glad this track gets a live airing, if there wasn’t a smoking ban everywhere,  this definitely would have been a sea of lighters moment , such a wonderful song.

Taking a second out to introduce new material ,  “German Accent” , this one is well interesting , starts off, synths, and snappy drum beat , turns a bit punky  and before you know it rattling and shaking it, once more bopping and unavoidably singing along to the clever catchy chorus, definitely a crowd pleaser, before we know it we are all animated (and hot) again, raving to Hallelujah, such a lively track .

So much crammed into half an hour, yet it seems to be whizzing by, “Christiana Obey” commands a listen, haunting yet technical, powerful and beautifully sung.

Saffron makes the time to start her first thanks list, as the band commence  the Piste de la Resistance,  the one the whole room knows and loves ,  “Ready  To Go”, dedicating it to Fi Fi Geldof, and Bob Geldof and unable to contain her excitement and appreciation to all involved , chanting  “The Boomtown Rats” as this familiar anthem kicks in and the all age crowd are most certainly in the moment and reminiscing all at the same time .

Signing off with yet more thanks, more  twirls of happiness and a trademark band selfie with the crowd, Republica were truly ‘Special‘ guests, and the best warm up ever.


Since 2013, after some 27 years, The Boomtown Rats get themselves together, playing the Isle of Wight Festival and going down a storm.

With a firm idea of their return and the refreshed, up to date image and sound and whole concept, they release Back to Boomtown: Classic Rats Hits with two banging modern new tracks “The Boomtown Rats”, and “Back to Boomtown”, top and tailing this 16 track cherub.

The only major change in the band is that Bob Geldof’s hair is pure white, the rest is pure progression.

As the line up is near to damn it, as original as you can get, Simon Crowe drummer, Pete Briquette bass player, Garry Roberts guitar, joined by Darren Beale, guitar and Alan Dunn, keyboards, both longserving over the years, and tonight a guest appearance on real saxophone not the candelabra, Aaron Liddard.

They set out and covered a fair few festivals, and a further string of dates in 2014, even a couple stateside, a bit of promo, and requested interviews and Bosh!, the high tech fresh material like The Boomtown Rats, shows this was such a good move, such good timing for all of us.

Ratlife – the autumn tour was set and a refreshed compilation “So Modern” was released, similar but more in keeping with the current set list with a couple of changes and extras.

I appreciate I was very lucky to get to go to this finale tour gig, seeing the Boomtown Rats live at last, for the first time, this bolt from my past, just as passionate and still putting on such a great performance all round.

The set starts with a mesmerising high tech visual, graphic backdrop, with techno futuristic track/collage “The Boomtown Rats” running through it, immediately  we know why Republica were the chosen  perfect special guest support, and as the narration turns to a serious countdown, the alarm clock goes and Bang! – before we know it the band spring up, Bob yelling his colourful, London introduction,  coming from out of the darkness. Narration asks “Are you really going out with Eva?” What a dramatic way to start.

Each ‘Rats’ song is like a mini play, each member at different times have the lead role and take their part of the limelight, our beloved Bob, gesticulating the lyrics, or acting them out, pacing around or bopping and jerking in time, all the time. Such great use of the stage and The English language, with every tale they tell.  No wonder we were all instantly catapulted to our youth, with all the lyrics coming flooding back, and pretty much everyone joining in from the get go .

I surprised myself that I knew so many,” I don’t like Mondays”, and  “Rat Trap” obviously, “Like Clockwork”, “Banana Republic”, even the familiar na na nas of “She’s So Modern”, all came flooding back.

Captivated by the epic version of “She’s Gonna Do You In”, I loved the way Pete and Darren just free range round the stage, going where they like, never crashing, while Bob just builds up the crowd with occasional harmonica, and bodytalk. Bobs’ boundless energy, and passion, never falter.

At different times he would have banter, and everyone would take heed. He would encourage crowd participation, and we all joined in, his one on ones with the band showed that they truly all appreciate each other and each have an equally important role. The modern background telling a tale in itself, that’s what makes this such an incredible, popular band of our lifetime.

I got so involved with this whole gig I did forget I was reviewing, but the concept and energy was truly amazing, showing the ’next’ youth that bands like The Boomtown Rats and Republica ,  represent insight and creativity, stamina and intelligence, caring and awareness, musical, lyrical talent and soul  and chemistry with such clever use of available technology, documenting  our era, with modern lingo and energy  in such an incredible place as Planet BoomTown, 2014. By the looks of it there is plenty more in both tanks for 2015.

Fanx for the invite, Fanx for the company, what a Buzz.

Saffron REPUBLICA (6)











Twitter: @SaffRepublica
Ready To Go
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Christiana Obey
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The Boomtown Rats
The Boomtown Rats
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The Boomtown Rats
Rat Trap
I Don’t Like Mondays – Live at Isle Of Wright Festival 2013

Fiodora P
Fiodora P

Svenja Block
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