|The Fuzztones by Paul Slattery|
It’s hard to believe that I first saw The Fuzztones
back in 1985, the band had just released the faultless “Lysergic Emanations" and from the classic horror-comic cover to the unbelievably strong collection of songs within, it still ranks up there as one of my all-time favourite albums. The band were at the forefront of the
mid-80’s American Garage Rock Revival, and with their paisley and leather, authentic Vox
instruments, bowl haircuts and bone necklaces the timing was right for the Fuzztones to hit the U.K. Over here we had The Damned’s alter-ego Naz Nomad & The
Nightmares, and their superb album of classic Nuggets cover versions along with The Cramps inspired Psychobilly scene. There was the Klub Foot at the Clarendon in Hammersmith putting on acts such as The Playn Jayn and not forgetting The
Medway bands such as The Prisoners and The Milkshakes, all finding inspiration in those nuggets of American Sixties Psychedelia and Garage Rock. Now all these elements are certainly in vogue again and The Fuzztones are back for a rare return to the U.K.
|The Go Go Cult by Paul Slattery|
Opening the show tonight at The Dome in Tufnell Park, were The Go Go Cult
who took the stage resplendent in matching stripey shirts and black
masks, looking like villains from The Green Hornet or Batman. Powered along by a really great drummer they also had an impressively ear-shredding raw guitar sound and laid down a swampy, hypnotic beat that reminded me a bit of The Meteors or Clinic, who coincidentally also wear masks. So, a good start and the band were well received although it was a bit disappointing to see them come
back on stage after their set and dismantle their own equipment. Seeing them unplug guitars without the masks somewhat
ruined the air of mystery and I would recommend they employ a couple of
similarly clad henchmen/roadies to handle their gear while the band make
a secretive and mysterious exit!
|Puss Johnson of Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons by Paul Slattery|
Next up were Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons
cranked it up even louder and drew a few more interested
people to the front of the stage. This turned out to be a rather
dangerous place to be as Puss kept leaping off into the crowd every now and
then to prowl and preen around us. She is a live wire alright, a real
ball of energy on huge platform boots, Catwoman hair
and yes, she does have a swinging tail too. Despite having a bad cold,
Puss put on a great show and she and guitarist Jake have a nice chemistry between them. As a three piece, with no bass and Puss’s
confrontational blur of a stage presence, there are bound to be
comparisons with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs but the band are difficult to categorize and that's certainly to their benefit. They end a thoroughly enjoyable set with the great single “Trouble With The Devil” and
got a really good reaction from the audience.
|The Fuzztones by Paul Slattery|
So here I was, eagerly
awaiting my first glimpse of The Fuzztones
in almost 30 years…but that eager wait was to drag on for what seemed like
another 30 years, well OK it was about 45 minutes actually, but it didn't half drag and the crowd were
starting to get irritated. It didn’t help as
there was no DJ so we had to endure a tape of some awful tuneless stuff over the P.A. which was made even more frustrating by the fact that Dirty Water Records
had a stall there and they had lots of great vinyl on sale (I picked up
some 7" singles from King Salami & The Cumberland 3 and the Lyres, lovely…!) and it was a shame
they couldn’t have commandeered the sound system to keep the crowd
warmed up. By the time The Fuzztones came on there was a distinct thaw
in the atmosphere, and there were some shouts of "Why are we waiting?!" which was
a real shame as the momentum of the two excellent
support acts was somewhat lost.
|Rudi Protrudi of The Fuzztones by Paul Slattery|
But then finally The Fuzztones
appeared and blasted into Davie Allan's manic surf instrumental "Blue's Theme" closely followed by "Caught You Red Handed" and "I Never Knew". Only lead vocalist
guitarist Rudi Protudi remains from the original line-up, however the
current band does feature the super-cool Lana Loveland
on organ, who I had seen a
years ago playing brilliantly in The Sean Bonniwell Music Machine. Rudi then speaks "I'd like to say how nice it was to be back in London, well I'd like to say that but..." He then goes on a scatter-shot rant about fox hunting, Obama, the "crisis" and living in Germany before introducing a great version of The Shadows of Knight' "I'm Gonna Make You Mine" and finally the atmosphere has warmed up considerably. A slinky "Romilar D" and storming "Brand New Man" pick up the pace even more but then things grind to a halt again. "Has anyone got a guitar I can borrow?" asks Rudi "I've been banging my guitar around so much that I've snapped a string". Someone shouts back, "just put a new string on then!" Rudi replies "I haven't got any spare strings either, I blame the Government! It's the crisis...I couldn't bring our other guitarist over, or a roadie or even a spare guitar..." Then someone shouts out for the classic "Gotta Get Some", and Rudi quips, "Hey we all gotta some but we can't even get that anymore, there's a crisis going on!"
|Lana Loveland by Paul Slattery|
Luckily Jake from Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons hands Rudi his guitar to use and they start up a cover of Bevis Frond's "Eyes In The Back of My Head", this shudders to a halt suddenly, "I can't hear the guitar now" says Rudi and they try again with what is a pretty damn good version. "This is going to be our last show in London, we had so much hassle getting here so enjoy it!" I do, there's a great double hit of "Bad News Travels Fast" and "Highway '69" before Rudi asks us all to "Get Naked!", nobody does although some chap at the front takes his shirt off. "I'm old enough to remember the Sixties and we didn't need to be asked to take our clothes off!", luckily the subject is changed by the slow burning classic "Ward '81" which is one of my highlights of the night. Rudi chats again, "In 1984 we did our very first and only tour and recorded a live album "Leave Your Mind
At Home" so we would like to do a few songs from that album" and then they
played great versions of Gonn's "Blackout of Gretely", The Sparkles' "Aint No Friend of Mine" and We The People's "Burn Me Up and Down". Unfortunately the late start and delays caught up with me and as the band blasted out The Sonics' "The Witch" I had to dash to catch my last train home feeling disappointed to say the least. Let's hope Rudi changes his mind and brings The Fuzztones
back to the U.K. again!
Here are some more photos of the gig by Paul Slattery, all photos Copyright 2014.
For more photographs please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook
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