Monday, 26 March 2012

26th March

1981: More proof of the strange rockabilly seam threaded through pop in the early 80s from The Polecats' Bowie cover, with a guitarist who seems to fancy his own chances as perpetual motion frontman that little bit more than the actual frontman. And again we ask, Legs & Co here - what is point? But then after that you do tend to forget how weird pop as a concept was in those days, where it found room for madness like an underdressed Hazel O'Connor, ditching some sort of elaborate disguise to bounce around - stop it - with her Johnny Rotten stare, end of the pier organ, state of the club nation address and ability to get a Pops audience to pogo. She was followed by Tony Capstick. And shortly after that, just to put all that into perspective and sounding curiously like Annabella Lwin, Lene Lovich and her Medusa-in-a-silk-shop hair. Even though the leather jacketed rock kids don't seem to notice until after he's started, Gillan has a more traditional method of exuding at the mike, though you still won't fail to be distracted by his bassist's style choice. In comparison to all that magnificence Bad Manners seem grounded, even with the dummy. No, not Buster. And who's that to their right? Yes, and no, they didn't need to be.

1987: Our first, storming look at Terence Trent D’Arby when he looked like he had a full and sane career ahead of him. Everything including his knowing use of the coil microphone points to what soul school he saw himself as part of. On better days that spin at 2:25 would have received a rousing reception. In his wake even Janet Jackson is left standing. Sorry, sitting.

1992: Vince Clarke evidently spent his Erasure income on his own telephone exchange. Hard to tell what the two backing members are specialising in, they're not obviously singing backing vocals without a mike and that's not greatly convincing dancing on the spot they're doing.

1999: Andy Williams' Music To Watch Girls By had, as so many things are, been on an advert, which in contravention of all sorts of BBC regulations appears to be playing on the back screen. He may have been 73 but he was still singing live regularly and this was his key song, yet he still needed a teleprompter - look at the shot from the drumkit forward at the minute mark.

2004: After his spell in N-Sync, JC Chasez chose for his appearance with Basement Jaxx to surround himself with people bearing similar charisma. Ho ho! (Look, just pretend Justin Timberlake didn't exist and that joke works) I can't work out if the backing shouters are supposed to be the models come to life - the one with the blonde wig is highly suspicious - and neither am I sure we're supposed to get a brief shot of an empty stage at 2:59, or that immediately after that the shouter in the PVC is supposed to push one of the dummies over, creating a small domino effect that our useful director completely misses if so.

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