There has been a terrible misunderstanding, resulting in dashed disappointment.
It seemed so very audacious for perpetual indie sideliners Gene (ignominiously dropped by Polydor last year) to release an album live from LA – y’know Los Angeles, home of Hispanic homeboy idol [a]Morrissey[/a], land of cock rock and hoorah for false boobies? Just who did they think they were?! Had they tired of being the ’90s [a]Smiths[/a] and decided to go a bit Guns N’Roses? Had Rossiter bought himself a pair of snakeskin pants and forgone bathing? Or perhaps a sniff of ‘media dust’ from Pammy‘s diamanti-encrusted navel had, y’know, put ideas in his head?
Well, fucking A, what could be a better two-fingered salute to the Doubting Thomases and corporate music hags back home than to have taken to West Hollywood’s legendary Troubadour Club and recorded a goddam album. OK, it seemed so very unlikely of them, so very balls out on the Boulevard for such a bunch of coy Camden softies, who would of thought that they, THEY, had it in them? But that majestic title, ‘Rising For Sunset’! Well, that said it all. Bless them, they had risen to the occasion, stood tall, played Sunset (OK, the Troubadour’s on Santa Monica, but, well, that doesn’t scan), showed them all; a bird Eminem would have been proud to have jabbed aloft.
This is what you want it to be: ‘cos if these indie no-hopers can pull off the Hollywood dream than there’s hope for us all – Britpop, or its like, can rule the (transatlantic) waves once more and, hey, World Cup 2002, ‘ere we come!
And there’s time when this immodest little album has you believing in the fantasy. The cheeseball Marty DiBergi-alike compere’s intro (“boy, do we have a treat for you tonight”) sets the tone for an onslaught of familiar Gene classics, souped up with extra live stomp. There’s blistering pace and REMisms on ‘Fill Her Up’. Rossiter‘s tense, biting lyricism and sharp, soaraway vocals on ‘The British Disease’ (on which Mason‘s intense guitar work shows his mastery to be as good as Marr‘s) and the plaintiveness of ‘London, Can You Wait?’, are both, given the surroundings, added poignancy. While the savage poppery and trillsome [a]Morrissey[/a]ness of ‘As Good As it Gets’, ‘For The Dead’ (a single in ’94, now sounding fairly classic), ‘Be My Light, Be My Guide’ and an exultant ‘Olympian’ make it sound as though the evening, in gig terms, was, y’know, a fair old bash. But really, it’s hardly The Doors‘ ‘Absolutely Live’ or Guns N’Roses’ ‘Live Era ’87-’93’. And at a lengthy 15 tracks-sounding-quite-the-same long ‘the evening’ begins to pall and hang heavy.
And when newie ‘Rising For Sunset’ turns out to be, ho-hum, about taking the EasyJet to Ibiza, it’s a bit tired old Brits obsessing about raving again and not really cock rock at all, just a bit, y’know, disappointingly half-cocked.