The Waterboys: Formed in London in 1983, for three decades now the band has provided a thrilling conduit for the questing spirit of Mike Scott and a fluid cast of fantastic musicians. From “The Whole Of The Moon”, a UK hit single not once but twice, in 1985 and again in 1991, to their forthcoming album, the hugely-acclaimed-in-the-UK An Appointment With Mr Yeats, The Waterboys embody all that is most precious about music: power, passion, magic, transformation.
The band’s early roots in post-punk rapidly evolved into the layered, widescreen sound of A Pagan Place (1984) and This Is The Sea (1985), a skyscraping, imperious strain of rock full of soul, poetry and an elemental intensity which made an obvious impact on several of their peers, perhaps most notably U2.
After This Is The Sea Scott hooked up with brilliant fiddle player Steve Wickham and moved to Ireland to pursue instead a radical immersion in roots music. Away from the spotlight, Scott and his adventurers spent three years soaking up Celtic folk, gospel, Cajun, country and blues. They emerged late in 1988 with the magical Fisherman’s Blues. This wild period of music-making is vividly recalled in Scott’s recent memoir, Adventures Of A Waterboy.
In 1991 Scott left Ireland for New York and fashioned a new, urban, street-smart version of the band on the hard-rocking Dream Harder (1993). Later in the 90s he released two solo albums, Bring ‘Em All In and Still Burning.
The Waterboys returned from hiatus in 2000, and Scott has since channelled the band’s spirit into a series of superb yet diverse albums. The latest, An Appointment With Mr Yeats, has been widely acknowledged in Ireland and the UK as a landmark achievement, fulfilling Scott’s long-held ambition of creating an entire album re-framing the words of Irish national poet W.B. Yeats in a rock and roll context. Starting life as a five-night run of performances at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre in 2010, An Appointment With Mr Yeats has attracted some of the most rapturous reviews of the band's career. The album will be released in the United States on 26 March 2013. And 6 days earlier, on March 20th, the band will play a special one-off performance of the full An Appointment With Mr Yeats show at New York's legendary Town Hall.
Today the influence of The Waterboys can be heard running through the music of Arcade Fire, The Decemberists, Mumford And Sons and countless other contemporary artists. The styles, personnel and locations may have shifted over 30 years, but The Waterboys have always been anchored in a handful of certainties: Scott’s crackling voice, full of fire and fight; the literate romanticism of his words; a refusal to stand still; above all an unwavering commitment to music as a transportative force.