Dexys at the Palladium
The hazy purple of the Palladium’s stage gives warmth to a wet and windy evening for Dexys’s Feminine Divine Live – one stop from September’s UK and Ireland tour to support their fifth album of original material. Tonight we hear the record in full, along with plenty of hits from Too Rye Ay.
Dexys fans will not be surprised by another soul-searching about-face; every Dexys album has been a departure from the last, and this is no different. Dressed in flamboyant colourful stripes and capacious trousers, Kevin Rowland walks the stage to The One That Loves You and engages in musical dialogue with violinist Claudia Chopek: Rowland declares her need for him (“You’re a very strong woman, but you’ll need my love”), and she seems to reject it in a classic display of Dexys theatre.
The first half is characteristically 80s Dexys: theatrical, dialogue-rich, brassy, upbeat. The second half, in contrast, is sultry, slow, heavy, raunchy. There is autobiography running through it, which makes this show deeply personal and introspective. Conversation between the musicians connects each song, revealing parts of Rowland: not only his shifting feelings but his mental health too.
Having taken time out to reflect, the singer-songwriter presents material about his changed views on masculinity and women, the apex being a trio of songs: My Goddess Is, Goddess Rules and My Submission. In My Goddess Is, current members Michael Timothy and Sean Read describe the appeal of their respective goddesses. Goddess Rules is a mesmerising spoken exchange between Rowland and his own goddess behind a raunchy and repetitive riff, which leads directly to the haunting ballad My Submission, representing adoration and servitude of the feminine (“My goddess, she tells me I’m her bitch… I will be your pet to do with what you will”).
The latter part of the gig highlights the contrast between Dexys Midnight Runners and Dexys, with classics I’ll Show You, Plan B, and (of course) Come on Eileen. It’s easy to hear these songs ironically now, given what’s come before: the wiser, more sombre Rowland in dialogue with his freer, happy-go-lucky younger self.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information and future events visit Dexys’s website here.
Watch the video for the single My Submission here: