Saturday, 22 September 2012

22nd September

1977: The whole show, featuring a clearly besyruped Hank The Knife & The Jets, Holland's contribution to the rock and roll revival, The Stranglers having a few problems with the dry ice and deciding the only combatant weapon is a music paper, Legs & Co getting their disco trousers out and nearly other things too (ah, 1970s humour at the end), the show's first look at the almost co-ordinated Baccara and Stardust's jumpy Paul Whitehouse-as-Peter Frampton frontman and token gyspy girl with enviable maraca energy.

1983: Howard Jones' debut and of course nobody's watching him. Not behind the huge stack of synths, not when he comes out from behind them, not even with that jumper. Not when Jed's around with his literal mental chains. Soft Cell don't have any of those, but Marc does have a Rambo headband and lots of badges for his knockoff leather jacket. The Alarm have no truck with that synth prodding nonsense, not when there's cash to be outlaid on hairspray and time that can't be wasted on anything but backcombing. Their drummer works the 'John Cooper Clarke with a neckerchief' look instead. Culture Club at number one go for the dressing up in a big way, George as a Christmas cracker while his band signify they play tight end. Say nothing.

1988: Having kept their setup minimalist to this point, Pet Shop Boys bravely branch out. Backing singers! Lowe on keytar! Horns! Drums! Entirely useless acoustic guitarist! Chris looks a bit annoyed he's had to come literally straight from his package holiday to the studio. A remix brought Bill Withers to the show for the first time, belatedly, giving no indication he's ever heard this version before or has any idea who those two women are. Not the most convincing miming of long notes you'll see.

1994: The monographed dresses of Michelle Gayle's backing dancers suggests there's some thought been put into it all but Gayle herself appears to have no idea they're there. Unlike Naomi Campbell, whose infamous crack at a pop career a) isn't as bad as you thought and b) perhaps suffered from having too much thought put into it, what with the set dressing and the non-authentic costumes. Not that the set designer stopped there. Why, the gritty back street staging for Suede is indistinguishable from the real thing. Or a Masonic ceremony, one of the two. If you look carefully, especially on the first chorus, some of the front row have been issued with oversized white T-shirts bearing the song title. That's ill-conceived marketing. That leaves Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories having to play inside an extractor fan.

No comments: