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The Primitives/Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie

Town & Country Club, London, England

NOT as blonde as I might have expected. Two sell out nights, phrases like "triumphant" and "all-conquering" being dispatched by even then neanderthal bouncers, and enough people in black and white tee-shirts to populate Carnaby Street until the end of the century. I've an idea that this blondeness might only be skin deep.

Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie twitter in and out of the darkness, with a bit of Bauhaus here, a bit of Nick Cave there, a lot of Big John (ex Blood Uncles) all over the place. They bludgeon you for a bit, then leave. I'm beginning to feel like a snooze. 

Tracy Tracey (nee Tracy) saunters on looking like Ruth Ellis, her pop group arranging themselves in the nooks and crannies of a stage set that includes two crashed cars and a giant pop-art pile up. Very colourful, very lively. You can see how they COULD be perfect. When the metal stops shearing though, when the moment of collision turns to a lifetime of paraplegia, all The Primitives can do is rage sweetly.
The Primitives have lots of songs. Millions of them! You can tell what every single one of them is called by the way that the title wallops in before the cheers of recognition around you have died in a thousand throats. The bass drum doesn't puncture so much as offer support, the guitars doggy paddling towards the molten fuzz. It's as tame as the Mary Chain when it should be as frisky as The Darling Buds, as drenching as Blondie, as intangible as The Shangri Las. And it goes on forever.

"Crash" is the exception, an elliptical surge, a knickerless romp into the bloodied sugar bowl, a victory. Sadly, most of the rest, be it "Out Of Reach" or "Stop Killing Me" or "This One's Got Guitars In It And They Aren't Half Buzzy", stumbles into the car bonnet and curls up like a big, warm dormouse.

I'd like to love The Primitives, like to feel that they gave me everything I want from my glittery pop, like them to anoint rather than to annoy. Roberts disagrees of course, claims that the two shows were the very summit of the blonde Himalayas, that the stage twinkled with flames and his heart with rubies. He may be right. I wish.

The clifftop looks 100 miles away from down here. Far from lovely. 

-Paul Mathur