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 04, 2006

Guildford Live 2000

You can't help but get the impression that this weekend has been put together by someone's mum who saw a bit of Glastonbury on the television, and decided that it looked like a nice excuse for a picnic. It shows not only in the choice of location, but also in the choice of bands. At first glance, Terrorvision may deal in heads down, bare-chested, white-knuckle rock, but once you look past the loud guitars it becomes apparent that it's rock that your mum would approve of, rock which helps to clear away the dirty dishes after having been invited for dinner. While their performance is competent enough, you just don’t believe that they mean it, man, it's rock lacking the filth and grim of low-down living, rock devoid of everything that can make it so essential. When it comes down to delivering that pure visceral rush, Terrorvision are found wanting, for who wants to settle for 'Tequila' when you could have a bottle of JD, a bag of coke, and a room full of prostitutes waiting backstage.

Thank fuck then for Motörhead, here to liven up proceedings with some real rock'n'roll attitude. On stride Lemmy and Phil 'the beast' Campbell, looking like they've just been poured into their black denim and leather. Surely this is more like it. Sadly though, it's still not right, it's just more of the same, an hour-long trawl through the hits, from 'Ace Of Spades' and 'Overkill' and onwards to 'God Save The Queen'. Just to make matters worse, it seems that they only have one tune, and there's only so many times you can hear slightly different versions of the same song without getting bored as Lemmy grunts away over the top, in a voice so deep and hoarse it sounds like he's been swallowing gravel, gargling razor-blades and chewing on Mariella Frostrup.

The Rolling Stones knew how to rock, they were the bona fide article, you could tell they were Satan-worshipping, model-fucking alcoholic junkie reprobates just by looking at their skinny, wasted bodies as they jerked around the stage. Unfortunately they got shit in the mid 70s and have never been the same since, and just to prove how accurate a tribute band the Counterfeit Stones are, they certainly don't seem capable of rocking without a certain kind of chair. Just like the real thing, they seem to be stuck in an early eighties vision of musical hell rather than the glory days of the late '60s, a feat which is matched by Counterfeit Mick's gaudy American football getup. So it doesn’t matter how much they put into 'Sympathy For The Devil' and 'Let's Spend The Night Together', it's never going to be enough to convince that covers bands are a good idea.

You'd think that maybe those one-time politicised punks Stiff Little Fingers can inject a bit of passion, provide a spark of fervour, but, for all their rebellion through association with earlier more controversial peers, they're probably just here because your older brother used to listen to them, and because that nice Bruce Foxton has joined them now - you know, the one that used to be in the Jam with that lovely Paul Weller. Just to test the patience of their fans they toss out 'Alternative Ulster' within moments of arriving onstage before trudging through their dreary pub-rock racket, resplendent in their matching shirts bearing the SLF emblem, making them look like some over-50s bowling team out for a spot of karaoke.

Your sister used to love Soft Cell you know. Your mum certainly knew that and as she ran out of ideas of who to put on the bill, here comes Marc Almond (pictured above), the man least likely to rock. But while he may not wish to get down and dirty with the sweating hordes, having even neglected to bring a drummer to the party, there’s no doubting his ability to entertain. Dressed in the obligatory black, but sporting a rather spangly little number for the occasion, he pirouettes and prances his way across the stage like the virile young man he obviously sees himself as. By the time he's done 'Why Do You Love Me, Why Do I Let You?' and 'Something's Got A Hold Of My Heart' he's already proved to us that Neil Hannon owes his entire career to this self-styled gothic crooner. As 'The Days Of Pearly Spencer' and 'Jackie' bring his time here to an end, he has reigned triumphant and shown us that, against all the odds, he has somehow remained a true star, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the true spirit of rock'n'roll.