Well, reformations are the hot topic this week. The Stone Roses announcing their comeback has sparked even local radio to play the odd track here and there. Also with the announcement, comes all the usual debate about whether bands should reform, and risk ‘desecrating the legend’, or whether it’s just a cash-in, and money is the main driving force, and in this case, people who remember 95, and the terrible performances. For this last point remember a couple of things- the band were broken, Squire was self indulgent, Ian was not the greatest live singer anyway and Reni didn’t play (Mani is faultless in my book). Reni is back (and Lord, that’s what the world’s been waiting for!), Ian has done pretty well in the intervening years (a dear friend commenting that she’d be hard pushed to put The Roses material above some of his solo output- I tend to agree) and his voice has improved, Mani just gets better and better. Squire I’m not sure about- if he just let’s his genius flow- he’ll be magnificent.
So, all four members getting it back together, with the promise of World conquering tours-they’re back alright.
That out of the way brings me to the other end of the reformation spectrum-last night’s visit to The Concord 2 in Brighton of Pop Will Eat Itself.
The Incredible P.W.E.I, now down to just one original member- Graham Crabb, joined up front on vocal sparring duties by Mary Mary of Gay Bykers On Acid- who were original Grebo’s alongside PWEI in the late 80’s. Backed by Pitchshifter’s drummer Jason Bowld, with bass and guitars from Tim Muddiman and Davey Bennett- the new five piece delivered a very new PWEI sound.
With a band as famous for its T-Shirts as its music, there was a fine selection of designs through the years on show- covering all eras, and my T was certainly the oldest I saw- from the first time I saw them at The Top Rank in January 1989- where I stage dived to their cover of Zodiac Mindwarp’s ‘Prime Mover’- there would be none of those shenanigans tonight!
After the usual rumblings and sampled speech from the opening of Cure For Sanity- this sounded so far like an Old Skool PWEI gig (I know, early days!) following this a short Back 2 Business, the sort of intro rappers do to set up the rest of the show- and then straight into ‘Wise Up! Sucker’ loudhalers an all. The sampled drum loop is at the forefront of 89/90 PWEI, now this is very much underneath the thunderous drumming of Bowld and only really heard on the break- this was very much a different sounding band.
What came next was a mix of old and new, the tracks off new album “New Noise Designed by a Sadist” were more in the vein of Industrial Dance/ Rock Techno- always a band to blur boundaries. And as this was a band I loved in the early days, which really went off the boil with me when original drummer Fuzz Townshend joined (to me they were drum machine driven, sampladelic, cultural commentators- unique, not a ‘proper’ band, they were out there on their own, goddammit!), I was really surprised how much I was enjoying it. This wasn’t ‘MY’ PWEI, but it was good.
Old classics ‘Everything’s Cool’,‘Get The Girl! Kill The Baddies!’ and ‘Ich Bin Ein Auslander’ went down really well- I barely recognised ‘Get The Girl…’ as it was Adrian Sherwood’s On-U Sound mixes that I had listened to!
I was very pleased by the inclusion of ‘Preaching To The Perverted’- one of my favourite PWEI tunes-
‘Perverts, on your knees, for what you’re about to receive!’
Indeed, classic stuff, THIS is what PWEI are to me- and I ‘danced like a psycho, a sight like nothing on earth’(unfortunately, Dance Of The Mad wasn’t played).
Following this another new one, which I find is called ‘Nosebleeder Turbo TV’- and this was a gem- the new sound of PWEI, with its heavy industrial drum/bass/guitar triumvirate to the fore gradually falling away to some glorious drum and bass beats- lovely.
A short encore of the oldest track of the night- the Nat King Cole sampling, scratch laden ‘There Is No Love Between Us Anymore’ and then ‘Their Law’ a track they recorded with Prodigy, despite my not liking Prodigy very much, this did get me moving, eventually.
Personally I would have preferred more ‘old’ stuff, but then again, this is a new band with a new sound looking forward- nowt wrong wi that.
Although I would say that there were, as early 90’s PWEI proudly claimed,
Very Metal Riffs Polluting The Air, Can U Dig It?