Despite being Editor-in-Chief of this rag, I don’t get to too many gigs these days due to other commitments, but when I do I make sure they’re worth going to. I also try to pick concerts I know my wife will enjoy so we get some time together, even if it’s in a particularly noisy hall where we can’t hear each other whinge about what a crappy day we’ve had.
Escaping from the frost outside, after finally finding a parking space, we arrived in good time to catch openers Tax The Heat. This young band had just arrived after a lengthy road trip from Milan where they’d been supporting Europe, but they strode on stage as if they had only just got the bus from round the corner. The venue had a decent crowd in for them kicking off the evening and the front rows certainly warmed to them quickly as they began their half hour set.
Tax The Heat play a classic-rock / rock’n’roll influenced style of music, with influences obvious from bands as across the board as The Beatles (hence the suits they wear, and the band name) to Muse and Thunder. Drummer Jack seemed the most “with it” from the start of the set, carrying the band along as the rest of the quartet took a little while to find their comfort zone and really relax. By halfway through their set, the tunes were really picking up and Tax The Heat were in full, impressive flow.
All four members contribute to the vocals and some of the harmonies were simply brilliant. Playing from their EP and debut album, Fed To The Lions, they certainly showed their capability as a solid live act and frontman Alex really comes across well as he engaged the audience.
They saved their best for last, and the last three or four tracks in particular went down well both with me and the rapidly expanding audience. If the applause and cheers as they finished are anything to go by, then they headed off-stage having made a few new fans. Certainly, the wife and I would recommend them and I reckon they’ll be back on the road again before too long.
Terrorvision are an old favourite of mine from back in the 90’s when I was studying in Bradford and the guys were making it big with their unique brand of “bubblegum rock” as it was a labelled. The first time I saw them was, I think, at Bradford University around 1992-3 and it’s wonderful to see that – after a break – they’re back and as bouncy and loud as they ever were.
The Mrs and I caught them at the Armadillo some months back opening for Thunder where they went down a storm, but really weren’t suited to the restrictions of a seated venue – I saw some very excited ladies being ushered back into their seats by staff at points when all they wanted to do was dance around. And that’s the kind of music Terrorvision play – the stuff that makes you want to bounce, and dance, and basically go a bit nuts.
Frontman Tony is a case in point. I can’t imagine this guy standing still at a microphone. It would be like trying to keep a leopard in a broom closet. Tony Wright gives Red Bull wiiiings. Clad in some kind of pocketed bodywarmer thing (to go with the album sleeve for Regular Urban Survivors) he was all over the place by the time the opening notes of “Enteralterego” were played.
Tony was joined by other founder members Mark Yates on guitar (and dapper causal suit) and Leigh Marklew, strumming bass and wearing the whitest white suit ever. Backing them up were Milton Evans on keys (leather jacket a-la The Professionals) and comparitive newcomer Cameron Greenwood on drums (complete with underarm holster for his sticks).
This tour is to celebrate twenty years since the release of Regular Urban Survivors and the band launched into “Enteralterego” as they hit the stage, followed by “Superchronic” and album highlight “Perseverance” before pausing for breaths and “hello”‘s. The rest of the album followed in track order with the audience lapping up every minute of it. I saw these guys (well, three of them) touring the album the first time round and credit goes to them barely looking a day older in terms of energy and sheer fun. While Tony bounds around and wobbles and basically acts like a madman who’s just been let out, Leigh performs some impressive leaps and Mark poses like a pro. Milton has a nice line in keyboard-tipping. I genuinely wonder if he’s ever lost one.
After 45 minutes and the whole album, the band disappear off-stage and come back on attired in less action-hero-esque attire. I assume this is the point where someone runs off and gets Leigh’s suit dry cleaned for the next night.
With another half-performance to get through, the remaining 45 minutes was filled with more classics. Honestly, I preferred this as I wasn’t the world’s hugest fan of Regular Urban Survivors (I preferred How to Make Friends…) and I found the second half of the set much more fun. The band pulled out all the biggest hits, and the audience were going wild for the likes of “Tequila”, “My House”, “Alice, What’s the Matter” and the ultimate set-closer “Oblivion”. Watching
As Terrorvision decamped and waved goodnight, the roar from the packed house was as loud as I’ve ever heard in the Garage and they deserved every decibel. Terrorvision ooze fun. They put everything into their live show and watching 300+ people single “Doo-wop, bop-ba-woo-op” at the top of their lungs is a sight to behold.
It’s great to see another band having another bash after a layoff, and coming back to packed houses. It’s also been five years since Super Delux. Maybe time for some new material to appear as an excuse for another tour? Just saying…
Photos by Iain Purdie