The Good, the Bad & the Queen review – Albarn rages, but things might just get better

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North Pier theatre, Blackpool
Damon Albarn jabs a finger at Brexit Britain’s divisions but the show turns bawdily riotous and, with the help of a male voice choir, inspirational

Away from the Golden Sands and kiss-me-quick hats, Blackpool – with its faded glamour, devastating poverty and austerity, and where 67% voted to leave the EU – is startlingly emblematic of the problems and divisions facing modern Britain. Thus, a rehearsal room here was the starting point (in 2017) for The Good, The Bad & the Queen’s new, second album, Merrie Land, in which Damon Albarn, the polymathic songwriter who once soundtracked Cool Britannia with Blur’s Britpop colossus, Parklife, attempts to make sense of post-referendum Brexit Britain.

After low-key gigs in similarly pro-Brexit North Tyneside, this beautiful old Victorian theatre makes the perfect setting to hear the album in its entirety, yards from the Merrie England bar that inspired its title, and with Albarn animatedly leaping around what he calls a “hallowed” stage, which was graced by the likes of Tommy Cooper in more prosperous times.

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