March 26, 1999 11:09
POSTCARD FROM BOWLIE
Struggling out of the chalet, blinking at the sky, the latest missive from the coast...
Are there eight or nine? It's hard to tell. A string section sits at the front facing away from the audience, the stage is dark apart from the film projections - monochrome landscape footage that could be from a documentary about a Plutonium disaster in the USSR - while the drone builds in intensity, drowning the audience in cosmic noise. It's beautiful and terrifying and their truncated set - an hour where they would normally play two and a half - seems to be over too soon.
You're either with Godspeed or you're not and it would be hard to convert anyone to their cause if they weren't already steeped in a world of cerebral drone-rock, suffice to say that Cast should rest easy in their beds. But in their own strange way. they rock.
Dean Wareham, looking a bit like he'd been recently exhumed, could be said the be the American Stuart Murdoch; unashamed preppie types, his songs combine beautiful melodies with arch not-quite-funny observations.
Beset by feedback problems, they're playing to a hardcore of devotees who will forgive anything, even the terrible drum machine that sounds as though it was rescued from a Bontempi organ.
They are metaphorically naked and endearing; Dean's strange falsetto vocals which make up for the lack of a keyboard or stringed instrument are simultaneously endearing and scary, which can also be said of the songs. Sadly, they didn't do their wonderful version of 'Sweet Child O' Mine'.
Bands in the past have physically attacked me, thrown beer over me, even puked on my shoes (blue suede they were too) but Salako are the first band to smack me in the face with half a packet of Jaffa Cakes. Debut album 'Reinventing Punctuation' had them compared to The Incredible String Band; live, they're closer to Half Man, Half Biscuit. But they have great charisma and are incredibly likeable and have the odd song. If they can get over the wilful zaniness, they could be massive. (Tommy Udo)