The Vaselines / Bridget Storm / Futuristic Retro Champions

HMV Forum, Kentish Town, London on Friday 27 March 2009

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This is the first time The Vaselines have played in London for twenty years, so it surprises me that the venue is so quiet as Futuristic Retro Champions take to the stage. Surely this show should have sold out months ago.

Futuristic Retro Champions

The first act are from the home country of The Vaselines, and play a crazy mash up of pop and emotronic, with a sprinkling of happy hardcore. The lone trumpet sound over fast beats is rather catchy, and singer Sita Pee's kooky style goes down well with the early venue dwellers. 'You Make My Heart' is a real slice of eighties pop with layered high vocals from the girls.

'Epic New Song' is also very contagious, and this is coming from someone who rather dislikes electro pop. Good on you FRC for making me stop and actually listen without running for a copy of Metallica's 'Black Album' to sooth my ears!

Bridget Storm

Next up are Bridget Storm, more friends of the headliners, but this time from a little further south; Manchester. Julie McLarnon is the heart of the trio, featuring drums and electronic organ. This is a far cry from her riot grrl work in Thrush Puppies, with soft vocals sliding over steady drum beats and twinkling organ melodies.

The haunting version of New Order's 'True Faith' is so unassuming, yet it drags you in and won't let go. 'Losing It' and others from 'Here's What's Left' and 'Sleep' and new album 'Drawbridge' grew on me straight away; it’s such a shame that the set was so short.

But hang on; who am I here to see again?! The Vaselines, indie pop underground stars made famous by a certain Mr Cobain, are back in the English capitol after two decades away. The place has filled up considerably since FRC started, and so it should.

The Vaselines

Having split two years before Sub Pop released 'The Way Of The Vaselines' after Nirvana covered a number of their songs on 'MTV Unplugged' and 'Incesticide', this band may not have many songs but it's a case of quality not quantity. They reformed to play in Sub Pop's 20th Anniversary in the capitol of grunge Seattle last summer, and have now travelled a little closer to home to allow many of us the first time to witness the duo and co in action.

Starting with the familiar 'Son Of A Gun', it's then onto tracks from their only full length album 'Dum Dum'. The beautiful 'Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam' airs early with a country twist to it, as does 'Molly's Lips' (the song for the witch in Rentaghost, Molly Weir) complete with crazy horn sounds during the chorus, like the original version.

For those of you unfamiliar with the band, they are quite strange. If the name did not point that out to you, songs like 'Rory Rides Me Raw' and 'Sex Sux' should give you an idea. The quiet looking Frances Mckee announces that they have been away for so long because they were having sex changes!

The exciting news is that they also added a couple of new tracks to the setlist, like 'Picked a Cherry'; is this hinting at a longer stay for the band? They have James Seenan on bass and Charlie Kelly, singer Eugene's brother, on drums. Eugene, complete in red and black knitted jumper ('Dennis the Menace!') will not give anything away…

Finishing on title track 'Dum Dum' with it's punky Buzzcocks-style edge, this was a gig I am extremely proud to have witnessed. Some may say they lack stage presence, can't play their instruments, blah blah, but the structure of the melodies and simple yet unforgettable songs will stay with me a long time. Let's hope there are more from the Glaswegians on the way.

The Vaselines

Setlist:
Son Of A Gun
Monster Pussy
The Day I Was A Horse
Bitch
Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam
Oliver Twisted
Picked A Cherry
Molly's Lips
Slushy
Let's Get Ugly
No Hope
Sex Sux (Amen)
New New Song
Rory Rides Me Raw
Dying For It

You Think You're A Man
Lovecraft
Dum Dum

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article by: Danielle Millea

photos by: Danielle Millea

published: 31/03/2009 13:56