Live @ The Borderline, London 28th April 2005Set free once again in the city of dreams...
For a good number of the people in the audience, this would have been the first look at Flesh for Lulu for about 15 years or so and as everybody knows, when once great bands get back together, it ain’t always a pretty sight. The Borderline was pretty busy for a Thursday night and it was clear that plenty of people wanted to know if Flesh could still cut it, or at the very least wanted to re-live their glory days and hear a few classic tracks.
As though to instantly set us straight on whether this was a re-union or a gig by a band that considers itself very much alive and of the moment, the first track in the set-list was one from a promised new album. That the song “Hypermania” actually comes from an album released by Nick & Rocco under the name Gigantic is irrelevant as for many this would have been fresh meat and from the opening chords and shake of the maracas it sounded mighty powerful stuff. Nick’s vocals are as good as ever and the band were rocking from the off.
By way of immediate contrast it was back to familiar and much loved ground for the follow up number and the crowd were clearly pretty happy to hear Subteranneans again. Having heard this one a good many times over the years, I can assure anyone that didn’t make the gig, FFL sound as good as they ever did. Possibly a little better? Maybe it’s that they are just that bit slicker, maybe it’s simply that they don’t get quite so pissed before going on stage? But the crunchy power chords of what must be their best known single from the “goth days” sure sounded good.
Nick & Rocco looked the part and given that the gig was being filmed as part of a TV program (to air later this year) Rocco in particular had made a special effort with his natty suit and flouncy dress shirt. Nick still looks like he means it just as much as back when they were considered “on the verge of big things”, and the overall impact is of a band that really could have it all if they wanted? Given the retro and even derivative nature of a lot of current guitar bands, it was striking that a group that have been around for over 20 years could sound more immediate and intense than most of the bands I have seen so far in 2005.
The set proceeded with a mix of outright classic old material (Rent Boy, Cat Burglar, Laundromat Kat) and also took in a few newer (ex-Gigantic) tracks (She Was, Throw You Outta My Window). Let’s hope that this is the beginning of the road and not a final offering. Based on this performance, the Roman Candle ain’t burned out yet……”And the closer you get, the more you wanna hear……”