Cromwell’s Ghost

The british rock band New Model Army took their name from Oliver Cromwell’s anti-royalist army of the mid-17th Century. It strikes me as an interesting fact that although Oliver Cromwell’s reign as England’s Lord Protector only lasted five years, the band named after his army has been going strong for 4 times as long.

I went to see New Model Army play at the Black Cat tonight. It was their first full line-up, plugged in, “electric” show in the United States since 1993. This is a band who have been playing together for 20 years around the world, so their return to the US has been hotly anticipated. Unlike most old school bands, NMA have been cutting albums under the radar ever since their hey-dey and while this show was billed as a reunion, it really wasn’t. This band plays so perfectly together it is beautiful to watch and even better to listen to. Somehow these guys (who knows how old they are?) sound as vibrant and alive with passion as they did on their 1984 debut, “Vengeance.”

Tonight’s show completely dominated. In an age of reunion tours, New Model Army surfaced to show the DC crowd that they’ve been cranking out the jams full-tilt all along. And based on tonight’s lively performance I wouldn’t be surprised if they stuck around for another 20 years.

Take that Royalists!

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