Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"You spoilt the game..."

Hmm, apologies for this self-absorption, but while looking up my old review of the cheery Chas and Dave at the Worthing Pavilion a few years ago, I came across this one of Steve Harley at the same oh-so-rock'n'roll venue, and will repeat it here just to remind myself of the crushing disappointment felt at the performance, the person...

In the dark, on-stage, no one can be quite sure whether you’re being frivolous or furious.
“I don’t mind. Every other date on the tour sold out”, Steve Harley frowned at the one-third-filled Worthing Pavilion, before abandoning the next song mid-way through in “delirious” laughter at such a poor turnout.
At times he chucklingly claimed to be indulging in “end of the pier” high spirits, but there were uncomfortable moments when he seemed more bristling than bantering.
Gone was the attractively cocky self-assurance familiar to viewers of 'Top Of The Pops 2' or other nostalgia shows which rerun the Seventies footage of Harley bare-chested beneath a leather jacket, nonchalantly chewing gum while half-singing, half-speaking his most famous song.
In its place was a ponderous self-satisfaction and off-putting gracelessness as he delivered rambling rants against easy targets such as Hello! magazine, reality TV, the singles chart and Kerry McFadden.
While the swaggering, still-handsome Harley’s cheekboness have aged well, many of his best-known hits have not.
All that’s more embarrassing than lumbering melodramas such as ‘Sebastian’ and ‘Riding The Waves (For Sylvia Plath)’ is the smug pride obviously taken by Harley - eyes clenched shut, head nodding earnestly - in their supposed intensity.
Never the most expressive of vocalists, too many songs sounded like dirges, dragged along by his rasping like a Cockney Bob Dylan.
Curiously, his speaking voice - while struggling with Rs, as in his singing delivery - veered insincerely between actorly RP and transatlantic drawl.
He was much more entertaining when he and his nifty acoustic band delivered tight, chirpy folk-pop fare such as 'Mr Soft' and 'I Believe (Love’s A Prima Donna)'.
Oh, and some obscure little ditty called ‘Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)', predictably saved until the end of the set and predictably enjoyable.
Sadly, however, the lyrics lingering longest after a heavy-going evening were not three words from that title and chorus, but from one of the verses:

What a bore...

1 comment:

Aureala said...

Goin' through a musical phase then? I've just been trying to catch up with your blog, my gosh you sure write a lot! A few days go by and whoosh! Up pop these new blog entries like mushrooms after the rain. Except for that extra long post that's more like a young redwood than a mushroom.

Speaking of which - who & what was that tree you planted in honour of?

Anyway, congratz with the new house and all...