When you go for a pee and find yourself standing next to a spotty kid puking into a urinal on one side, and Bruce Gilbert of [a]Wire[/a] on the other, it must be an Elastica gig.
But first a question. If, as has been suggested, Elastica had some form of input to tonight’s bill, then why the hell were Contempo (pictured right) on it? Hailed in some, obviously deluded, quarters as Staines’ very own Dexy’s Midnight Runners, they in fact achieve the even less noble distinction of plausibly approximating the sound of Blur as The Style Council. It can only be assumed Justine Frischmann insisted on Contempo‘s presence in order to stoke her hatred,thereby ensuring a sufficiently engaged performance later on.
In contrast, Fridge (pictured left) and Zan Lyons must be here to boost Elastica‘s self-proclaimed credentials as children of the avant-garde, daaahling. Due to a stage-time only just coinciding with the end of Final Score, too few people are around to witness Lyons and his one-man Dystopian tornado. A shame, since the benefits of extreme volume and a large stage only make his studied non-show even more dramatic. Fridge, in truth, flounder a little until they abandon their boxy bleeps and booster, and saddle up the forces of rock for a punishing climactic groovedown.
Make no mistake, Elastica (pictured right) have a lot to prove. Opening with ‘How He Wrote Elastica Man’, they effectively peak as early as is possible, yet at least the interest is sustained by a swathe of new songs, some of which don’t even sound like other people’s. Forthcoming single ‘Mad Dog’ is a splenetic half-sibling of ‘Elastica Man’ and Toni Basil ‘s ‘Mickey’ ( hey don’t knock it, at least their repertoire’s expanding! ) while ‘KB’ and ‘Genrator’ throw dissonant shapes and twists on more familiar templates.
It’s all impeccably done, of course, with the new line-up well cemented and la Frischmann herself full of that rather forced breezy bonhomie that, combined with the unfettered glee of fellow front-girl Mew, conspires to rubbish any notions of Elastica residing much further left-field than the average showband. The major exception to prove this rule is ‘My Sex’, a churning, pained confessional, lyrics read from a sheet of paper, as startling as anything this group has produced, and indicative of just what a sustained burst of ambition could do for them.
They’re underachievers and proud of it, man, as another cartoon punker would say. What’s more, they seem to be getting away with it yet again.