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can't stand the rezillos


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Sometimes it takes a little more than the weight of the world on my shoulders to dim the sparkle in my eye, but when I'm working like a dog and no one's throwing any bones my way, well, I can get to feeling a bit sorry for myself.

With the last four gigs I'd been to ranging from mediocre to dire and a broken romance whistling tunelessly in my ear, I make my way to the Lemon Tree with only a faint hope The Rezillos can do anything to dispel the black cloud hanging over me. That's how much I know.

From the minute they march onstage to Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries I know I'm in the right place and, just to prove it, The Rezillos launch their trash aesthetic immediately skywards with the Dave Clark Five 60s classic Glad All Over.

There's hardly time to draw breath but the band flies into My Baby Does (Good Sculptures) and they don't mind taking the audience along for the ride. They're in shimmering form, Fay Fife and Eugene Reynolds gleefully dropkicking the past 25 years so high over the bar you'd think they'd never happened.

Fife is in PVC and kinky boots tonight, Reynolds cool as ever in cowboy shirt and wraparounds, the electricity between them mindful of Thurman and Travolta in Pulp Fiction and this is central to the band's character. They shake and shimmy their way through a wicked Flying Saucer Attack before Eugene straps on a guitar and lets rip.

Rhythm section Angel Paterson and Johnny Terminator add their own Technicolor goofiness to proceedings while providing the backbone on which The Rezillos hang all their best duds, be they sub-couture classics like Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight or fancy 21st century threads like Pressure Cooker, a newie causing mayhem on the dance floor.

I'm jammed hard up to the crash barrier by the delighted scrum, but with Fay Fife looking straight into my eyes and singing "you set my world in motion," well, for a moment there I could almost believe. Unlike the second-rate twangings produced by the vast majority of their contemporaries these days, new Rezillo material is soaked in substance and credibility, perhaps because the one thing this band was never guilty of is taking itself too seriously.

There's a tremendous energy pouring out onstage and this time it's for Top Of The Pops, a self-mocking pop anthem that charted a quarter of a century ago and still goes for the jugular today. As Fife jumps on to the monitor screaming, "I AM UNCOOL," my only answer to that is: "You must be f*cking joking!"

Psychotic Reaction is next up and the King and Queen of Day-Glo romp through it in classic style before bursting into the perfect pop of Can't Stand My Baby, a piece-de-resistance but only one of many these days. With Jo Callis burning up the notes on his Telecaster in time-honoured fashion and Reynolds and Fife as up for it as ever, who knows which frontiers the band are heading for now?

The show thunders on with Destination Venus and suddenly Callis and Fife are rolling about on the floor fighting over the guitar. Fife wins and saws a few horrific chords from it before handing it back, even playing it with her shapely ass - much to the delight of the audience - then suddenly it's all over and the crowd goes mental.

The aforementioned Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight opens the first set of encores, followed by a dynamic duo of new songs. The second of these is dedicated by Fife to Jeanette Krankie (who's fallen off a beanstalk somewhere) with the words: "this song is another tragic tale - please try not to cry!"

The band leaves the stage to another bout of prolonged applause but troops back on heroically reminding us that "we had to drive through Dundee to get here!" Callis begins riffing out on Smoke On The Water to the derision of his colleagues, Fife telling him in no uncertain terms to "Stop that!"

Ignoring Reynolds' shout that he "put that thing (his guitar) back in its box," Callis leads the band through a frantic Bad Guy Reaction before bowing out with an incendiary reprise of Can't Stand My Baby. Thanking us profusely for the strength of our response - to what I'd say is one of the best gigs this year - the band leaves the stage exhorting us to "keep the Northern Lights shining!" We can only try, Eugene - but thanks for lighting them.

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