At The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, U.K., August 11, 2015

THE TUBES (Live at The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, U.K., August 11, 2015)
Photo: Mick Burgess

There’s shows and then there’s SHOWS. Currently storming through Europe on their biggest tour in years as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations, The Tubes have built their reputation on a show as extravagant and jaw dropping as those of contemporaries KISS and Alice Cooper.  It has been quite some time since The Tubes played beyond the capital and the question was whether they could deliver and live up to their reputation as a live band or had time taken its toll on a band that was entering its twilight years.

It didn’t take long to find out as The Tubes Film Noire themed show opened with frontman Fee Waybill in Humphrey Bogart attire for Sinatra’s “This Town” and Gene Pitney’s “Town Without Pity”. Clearly two names that don’t get mentioned often in Rock circles, but in the hands of The Tubes took on a slightly sinister twist before “Power Tools” delved into The Tubes own material.

Despite the Brudenell Social Club being probably the smallest place they have played in years there was no compromise from The Tubes. This was the Full Monty, to coin a well-worn Yorkshire phrase. You wanted costumes, you got them, you wanted flamboyance and charisma, well that came by the spade full but best of all they delivered the songs, stretching right across their career from the Glam Trash Punk of the ’70’s to the slicker, glossy hits from the ’80’s and beyond.

With the hits all present and correct from “White Punks On Dope” to “Talk To Ya Later” and “She’s A Beauty”, The Tubes catered to the more casual fan attracted to the band via MTV back in the day but they didn’t forget their hard core fans either throwing in such gems as “Mr Hate” complete with Waybill looking suitably demented in a straitjacket and during a particularly hard hitting, “No Way Out” bedecked in a prison suit topped off by a cage on his head.

Could this get any more strange?   Well, this was The Tubes and they do strange for a living and “Mondo Bondage” was enough to scare even the hardiest of Yorkshire folk as Waybill entered the stage in bondage gear and gimp mask. Scary stuff but pretty effective especially when the lighting was down to a single torch beam held by Waybill in shall we say, “various places”

By the time “Sushi Girl” arrived it looked like Waybill was going to display some Far Eastern culture until out came the Creature From The Black Lagoon mask.   For the evening’s sole ballad “Don’t Want To Wait Any More”, Waybill announced it was time to get sexy before disappearing during Prairie Prince’s drum solo. Returning as the legendary Quay Lewd teetering atop of 18 inch platform boots and decked in a garish shiny silver suit for a suitably sleaze ball romp through their classic “White Punks On Dope” Waybill made the New York Dolls look like One Direction. This was a scintillating performance and quite how he managed to avoid ramming his head through the ceiling while keeping his precarious balance was a feat in itself.

With a lineup comprising four original members with new boy keyboardist David Medd being with them for a mere two decades, this was a rare treat to see a band with such a heritage still contain the core members that formed together while mates at High School and their onstage camaraderie was there for all to see.

The Tubes are one of those bands that you just have to see at least once in your life and for those in Leeds they came and they conquered with a show that exceeded even their high flying reputation.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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