Live Music + Gig Reviews

Pink Grease @ Camden Barfly, London

13 February 2004

So voracious is the appetite of the Pop machine, so relentless its churn, that there will come a time when the present revival of live Rawk ‘n’ Roll music, will seem like so much like yesterday’s papers. Also, there’s a fair chance that the current proliferation of poorly-lit no frills venues such as Camden’s Barfly, may struggle to attract enough interest to keep it full to the rafters of leather-clad thrill seekers long-term.

With ’nuff XFM exposure though, the Barfly on Valentine’s Eve had no such troubles with the triple-bill of Alec Empire and Radioactive Man (AKA single lone swordsman Keith Tenniswood) , and the object of our attention, Mute’s very own Pink Grease.

If New York Dolls-style slut-rock is ever to hit the big time, Pink Grease might have justifiable claim to be first across the line to claim success’ lucky-bag of excess. To a man, Pink Grease has done their homework. Singer Rory has the kind of angular features that are complemented by white-face, a curious meeting at the glam crossroads with Steve Harley and Dave Vanian discussing foundation tips. Steve, whose composite elements are a 2ft (approx.) Afro and a kooky pair of brown-rimmed Nat. health specs, plays guitar (as opposed to Ziggy).

A lot of concentration has gone into John’s boho-barnet, who consistently vies for stage-space with bassist Stuart. Stuart hasn’t put the time in hair-wise, but makes up for it by chewing gum at amphetamine rapidity. Nick has invented his own ‘machine’ for synthy-effects which frankly, gets completely lost amongst the rifferama and bubblegum choruses. Therefore, I’m assuming said ‘machine’ has been designed for musical purposes, rather than say, world domination.

I have a feeling that most of Pink Grease would prefer us to think that they might, just might, be a little bit, y’know occasionally, when the mood strikes, well alright, maybe one day…bi-sexual. Though like Brett Anderson, it’s likely they will remain homosexuals who have never had a gay experience. That’s straight to you and I. Best evidence of this, is the presence of hairy Marc on drums, who’s solid, primeval beat transforms the band’s sleaze-fest into a danceable solution to teenage revolution. Big M looks like the kind of guy who has no truck with cross-dressing. Then again, it’s always the loud ones…

Oh, and the music? Pink Grease has a noo record out this year (‘This Is For Real’) and they may have played a few of the numbers from that set tonight, but they were difficult to spot. However, they definitely played Shake which sounds as Iggy as any other noise around at the minute. One thing though (and you may have grasped this already) Pink Grease like to put on a show. And they have the mugging abilities to prove it. Faceless they ain’t. Maybe the next step is to get some glam stage-handles. It never did Ariel Bender any harm.

If you’re looking to surf the current wave of rocking troupes while everything’s still a bit CBGB, you could do a lot worse than catch Pink Grease, in, it could be said, their not inconsiderable pomp.

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More on Pink Grease
Pink Grease – This Is For Real
Pink Grease @ 93 Feet East, London
Pink Grease @ Camden Barfly, London