Like a game of musical consequences played with a blunt pencil and a six-pack of ether, [B]The All Seeing I [/B]walk like an eagle, fly like a lion in Africa...
Honestly, he might have made an effort. Here in the home of drag legend Danny LaRue, where false eyelashes roam free and every cloud has a sequinned lining, guest star Jarvis Cocker looks like he should be drinking oxtail soup from a Thermos on the M25’s hard shoulder. Red car coat, chunky Arran sweater, customary lanky pallor – you have to wonder what Danny would make of such sartorial deviance on his beloved boards.
For it seems even consummate professional Jarvis – undoubtedly up for duetting on ‘There’s Nothing Like A Dame’ any time LaRue is ready – cannot stop tonight’s entertainment being mismatched like an art student at a jumble sale, all paisley tie and trainers, smoking jacket and combat trousers.
You don’t pick a venue this flamboyant unless you’re proving a point, and the All Seeing eye is firmly fixed on stealing the crown of modern cabaret. Frolicking through fields of pastiche, herding basslines as daft as a bunch of drunk sheep, it could all be a loathsome flirtation with smugly swinging ironists, yet they can’t bring themselves to be so lovelessly smooth.
Never mind sounding like they were recorded by the same band – none of these tracks sound like they were recorded in the same space-time continuum. An assortment of singers strays across the stage, and from the honeyed calypso giggle of Tiana‘s ‘Beat Goes On’ to ‘Walk Like A Panther’, disco’d to death with panache by a man in a poncho, they’ve got a headful of ideas and they’re driving us insane.
Worry for their impressionable star turns, too: the formidable Phil Oakey emerging to intone ‘1st Man In Space’ with decompression chamber gravitas, deadpanning over the ace New Order throb like he’s more worried about his hair than his heart; then Jarvis, twitching threadily through the damaged croon of ‘Drive Safely Darlin”, fingers doing the dance of the seven veils, ‘Warm Leatherette’ on his mind and, God, possibly his loins. As an awayday trip to Sheffield Sex City, it’s an unmissable red-light double bill.
Like a game of musical consequences played with a blunt pencil and a six-pack of ether, The All Seeing I walk like an eagle, fly like a lion in Africa. Bewildering they might be, but they’re the original of the species. There is nothing quite like them. Not even a dame.