Live Music + Gig Reviews

Pink Grease @ 93 Feet East, London

1 June 2004

You know there’s something up when the roadie’s wearing a pale pink Alice band. I mean, it’s not usual, is it?

For Pink Grease, maybe. They work very hard at effect, while trying desperately to pretend it’s all happening at random. It turns out the nameless roadie is one of the most important people on the small stage – the very small stage – of Brick Lane’s 93 Ft East.

Pink Grease being a six-piece band, much prone to jumping about, leaping on amps, bumping butts and generally creating mayhem, he has a full time job replacing leads and generally keeping the show – if not on the straight and narrow, surely not that – at least more or less on the road.

There’s a splendidly tacky pink neon sign on the back wall, apparently splattered with… grease. Figures. Frontman Rory Lewarne – Alice Cooper eyes, peroxide locks and black roots, white shirt with a black armband (he did tell us what he was in mourning for, but even in the supposedly good acoustics of 93 Ft East I missed the point) – leaps into action by snogging a good few of the inhabitants of what would be the mosh pit if there was space for one. Either sex will do.

Guitarist Steven Santa Cruz gets the vote for best hair though, with an afro that, mixed with heavy black specs, makes him look disturbingly like Art Garfunkel gone badly wrong. He does a good scream, too. John Lynch (guitar, sax, whatever comes to hand) wins the Brick Lane bad taste award with his butterfly off-the shoulder t-shirt and mustard crimplene hot pants, showing off the skinniest, most sinewy legs on the planet.

Nick Collier looks… well, sort of normal as he strings his scratch-built synth round his neck. So does fresh-faced bassist Stuart Faulkner in his nice sweater and slacks. And Marc on drums hardly gets into the action, but does manage to keep this bunch of hyperactive maniacs in some sort of musical order.

It’s all relative though, because chaos really is the aim. This is a show, not a gig. Recent (fabulous) single Fever is the only recognisable song, perhaps because there’s so much energy being expended on stage in pursuing the strutting, whooping goal of being out of control that there’s little balance, and instruments like sax just go unheard.

Fever sounds good. Nothing like a heavy beat, lots of squeals and a really basic chorus to get into the blood. All the other songs sound more like the anarchy of debut EP All Over You – exciting live but leaving you wanting just a tad more structure so you can tell one from another. The raw, visceral energy is great entertainment but I was hoping for a bit more sophistication – as displayed on Fever and the B-side Shiver – from songs that presumably will feature on the forthcoming album, This Is For Real.

Well see. At around 45 minutes of pure melodrama, you have to admit Pink Grease does put on a show. No encore – but perhaps they felt that the finale, for which at least three band members leaped from whatever heights they could find into a flailing heap centre stage – couldn’t be followed. Either that or they’d run out of songs.

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