Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Make Up
TJ’s, Newport

Pity poor Mick Jagger. Imagine the sense of loss and despair he felt when he last settled down to flick through the old photo-albums. There was Keith sharing a smoke with Brian, there’s Marianne popping down the shops for a Mars Bar, but wait a moment, where was he? Why had his body disappeared from all the pictures? And where had it gone?

If only the gnarled and wrinkled old philanderer had had the presence of mind to trek all the way to Newport for the evening, he would have found the answer. For there, standing on the shoulders of the cool kids down the front, was Mick’s adolescent body, jiving about as if he had somehow relinquished all mortal control over his own body. Picture the scene as Ian Svenonius, purveyor of the finest Gospel Yeh-Yeh sound, glances out over the audience, and meets Mick’s petrified gaze, before throwing his new-found form across the stage, stuffing the microphone down his gullet and treating us to another his rabid chimpanzee impersonations.

In any other situation, Ian would resemble no more than your eccentric, alcoholic uncle popping round to interfere with the kids, the cat, and the goldfish, but tonight, the Make Up are everything they have every dreamt of being – James Brown fronting the MC5, the Black Panthers following the doctrines of Mao Tse-tung, international terrorists directed by Malcolm McLaren – and the pretensions are swept aside by the intensity and passion of their rhythm’n’blues soul revue.

Fortunately for the devoted following, the Make Up have had the foresight to come up with the music to match the rhetoric, and they now sound as sharp as they look in their matching uniforms. The taut guitars and growling bass provide the perfect foil for Ian’s sermonising vocals, as he prowls through the crowd, coaxing backing vocals from his loyal followers, while the black-magic blues of ‘Save Yourself’ implores you to be his Doctor Frankenstein, and ‘Born On The Floor’ raises serious doubts about this man’s childhood and parental upbringing.

Forget Kevin Rowland and his big-girl’s blouse, forget the new soul rebels, the Make Up are the Nu-Soul Communists, and Ian Svenonius is king funky-monkey, and as ‘C’mon Let’s Spawn’ so eloquently states, he wants to a big fish in our small pond, so let me hear you say yeh, before he’s institutionalised by the CIA.