The Mancunian post-punks commemorated 40 years of their debut album ‘Script of the Bridge’, first released in 1983, with a short UK tour. Mark Burgess (vocals, bass) and Reg Smithies (guitar) are the constant members in a new band lineup that now includes a keyboard player, although at times throughout the set was rendered redundant where guitars were more prominent.

They began their set on the album, with the guitar and boxy drums of ‘Paper Tigers’, continuing to play from the album tracklist, with the roaring ‘A Person isn’t Safe Anywhere these Days’, the pastel guitar of ‘Pleasure and Pain’ and the momentous ‘Monkeyland’. The band then turned to their second album, ‘What Does Anything Mean? Basically’, with the hammer-ons and pull-offs of ‘Looking Inwardly’, then back to their debut release with the radiating guitar of ‘Up the Down Escalator’.

While The Chameleons have yet to put out new material and are still playing tired nostalgia, they’ve attempted to vary things as was seen in ‘Soul in Isolation’ from third studio album, ‘Strange Times’; the percussive clatter and its circular guitar riffs descended into a dark, pedal scraping drone, with Burgess inserting his own lyrical interlude citing Brexit and sampling David Bowie’s ‘Be My Wife’, The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’ (having earlier also sampled ‘Get Back’) and The Smiths’ ‘The Light Never Goes Out’, with Smithies’ including a new chiming guitar riff.

After playing their debut 1982 single ‘In Shreds’, the band closed their set on ‘Swamp Thing’ (with yet another Beatles’ sample, ‘Rain’) and fan favourite, ‘Second Skin’, also from their debut studio album.

05/07/23: The Chameleons @ The Boileroom, Guildford.

Photos © Anna Marchesani/Nocturna Photography.

© Ayisha Khan.