POP The Spice Girls
Glasgow: SECC, Sat 4 Apr a: "k it at
Any review of a teenybop concert should start with the main attraction - the audience (well, these pop bands will insist on paying tribute to their wonderful fans, they couldn't do it without us, etc.). Given that you could easily stand on most Spice Girls fans if you didn't look where you were going, this concert was definitely certificate PG, with almost as many parents in the audience as Baby Spice wannabees. A handful of adolescent boys 'come out' as members of the fan club and secured their tickets. Then there are the occasional posse who fancy themselves as a tribute act.
But on to the important stuff - what were the group wearing? Ten costumes apiece, they said, but does that include the bit where they were 'naked' for 'Naked'? They wore two hours of sequins, glitter, rollerboots, Rangers tops. rhinestone-encrusted stetsons, velvet catsuits, hideous one-shoulder dresses, patchwork flares, and a particular mention for Geri‘s Boney M special with fur trim near the end of the show.
After costumes comes Showmanship. Most of this is left to the Spice Boys - the obligatory camp male dance troupe who take every opportunity to carry 3 Spice Girl
The Spice Girls: top of the teenybops
on their shoulders. There is little in the way of choreography from the girls, who are too busy
concentrating on their real, live singing to do anything '
more than shimmy, although Mel and Mel (a possible spin-off when it all goes down the tubes?) manage some free-form larking about on their spunky 'Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves' duet.
Stagecraft next, and we appear to be on the bridge of their spaceship which has delivered the girls to us from their Spiceworld base. Good to see they've followed the first rule of showbiz, 'thou shalt have an enormous staircase because . . . just because'.
Other competent business - can they sing? Sporty's far and away the gutsiest vocalist, but we knew that already. Baby emerges as a strong runner-up with almost as much to sing as Mel C. Mel B acquits herself nobly, while Geri and Victoria just aim for the mic and boom.
Finally, highlights. 'Spice Up Your Life', the Madness- style conga with the girls and dancers playing sardines and, above all, the bit where Signing Spice, their deaf and dumb interpreter, can't contain himself anymore and starts to dance while he's signing the lyrics of 'We Are Family'.
Spacehog: need more tongues in their cheeks
Their debut album Resident Alien clocked up over a million sales on the other side of the pond, and on this showing it's easy to see why. The brothers Langdon, from Leeds (Royston on lead vocals and bass, Antony on guitar and vocals), dominate the stage and romp through a set of glamrock, M.O.R. rock, and good old heavy rock. Royston has that Axl Rose whine and lead guitarist Richard Steel has a penchant for predictable Slash-like solos.
Last year's UK hit 'In The Meantime' (you'd recognise it immediately) is played early on and is by far their strongest. A lot of raw energy, cliched posturing, staring eyes and tongue
Spacehog/Medal Edinburgh1Venue, Sat 11 Apr sir 3? Medal, from Oxford, have a frontman with a fair amount of understated cool. He also has a we to match the big lips and gaunt face which seem inCieasingly mandatory for would be rock stars and, as a whole, they create a deep and captivating guitar- swamped sound. Radiohead understudies perhaps, along with
48 THE "81' 16—30 Apr 1998
traces of Inspiral Carpets, but they too are good. Signed to Polydor in December, and one to watch.
Headliners Spacehog are one of several current British bands that have taken a route to recognition and healthy record sales via the good old US of A; Bush being the most obvious comparison. The States provide an obviously larger, and often less prejudicial audience, not so likely to pigeon-hole or castigate for lack of hipness.
exposure ensues and a substantial Venue crowd laps this Spacehog performance up. They can play and they can rock hard, it's JUSI all in such a predictable oft-repeated way. During a more tender moment, with Royston on piano, the form of his bizarre winged- at-the-biceps mesh T-shirt becomes apparent and visions of Spinal Tap cloud the mindTheir tongues must be in their cheeks, the problem is they‘re not lodged firmly enough.
Monkey Mafia/Bedlam A Go Go
Edinburgh Venue, Thu 9 Apr * *‘k‘k To say Mary Anne Hobbs is prone to hyperbole is akin to describing Vlad The Impaler as having a bit of a temper. The Radio 1 DJ (Hobbs not The Impaler) is as effusive as they come, a tireless champion of eclectic beats -- see also Bentley Rhythm Ace, Propellerheads, Fat Boy Slim et al. Tonight's double header is the Scottish date of the Breezeblock Blowout tour, segments of which are going out live on her late night show, and it promises to be 'BLlNDING!’ Hobbs may speak in
the upper case but she ain't wrong. Following Dub Pistols' arry
Ashworth's stint on the decks (of which, for the benefit of all you DJ- spotters, he is using not two but three), Bedlam A Go Go take us for a trip down sensory lane via some quixotic dub landscape gardening. Their parka-ed up singer might look like South Park‘s Kenny minus the arrows and cleavers, but he mooches mightily like a druggy droog in a Kung Fu flick. Superfly.
Current favourites of that other impudent simian Ian Brown, Monkey Mafia are a fantastic (capital letters optional) dub collective who have everyone in the place dancing like Saint Vitus in ant-filled pants right from the start. ’Stormy Weather' is an audacious opener, bestowing kisses in the heavenly direction of Billie Holiday. The lyrics are vague, reference is made to Rasta Fari, and they somehow manage to inquire 'How Ya Feelin?‘ without sounding like complete showbiz harlots.
Sadly, we can't hear what Mary Anne is telling the audience back home in radio land, but one suspects it‘s superlatives and exclamations all the way. How that woman doesn't give herself a conniption every night is a mystery. Meanwhile, Monkey Mafia are letting off bass detonations that could dislodge the lug wax from Lucifer’s own shell-likes. And that's even before the Star Wars zaps or the Wailers versus Pigbag sample.
Blinding, indeed. We go ape of course. (Rodger Evans)
Monkey Mafia's Jon Carter: a dub dance explosion hiding behind a
* * it it 4r Unmissable
ir * it * Very
it 1k * Wort a shot
* 1: Below average
it You've been warned