London Astoria G.A.Y. Club

Great songs are all very well. But sometimes that just ain't enough...

After a week dominated by Spice hysteria, whistles are screeching at fever pitch this Saturday night as All Saints grace a couple of thousand fans with their presence at G.A.Y, London’s biggest and brightest gay club. From the outset of their career, Shaznay, Nicole, Melanie and Natalie have presented themselves as cool combat-wearing urban chicks with attitude. Spice Girls they are not, and tonight’s show should offer some light relief from a seven days of album flogging.

‘Black Coffee’ and ‘Pure Shores’, both of which they perform tonight, are by far the strongest tracks from the William Orbit-saturated new album ‘Saints & Sinners’ – and album which flows over you so smoothly that sometimes you don’t notice you’re even listening to it. The same can be said of the girls’ performance tonight: these girls are the anti-Halliwells, girls for straight boys, and sometimes you can’t rest on being beautiful to carry a show through.

Gay boys – or, at least, G.A.Y. boys – want a show with bells on. They also require a bit of interaction with their divas. Shaznay, bless her, has lost her voice, but still she manages to engage her fans, handing down the mic to one of the crowd so that he can rap for her. She actually looks as though she acknowledges an audience is here – Nat, on the other hand, hides behind her wraparound glasses for the entire performance, whilst Appleton 2 and Blatt (she hasn’t left, don’t worry) slop around the stage in their usual sassy don’t-give-a-shit style. But is it style at all, or laziness?

G.A.Y. gigs are not as other gigs. Booty shaking is compulsory, not optional. Being cool is all very well; great songs are all very well. But sometimes that just ain’t enough. Perhaps a few lessons in audience awareness might do the trick.

Richard Bence