London’s glam rock revival under the banner of Heidi Heelz’s GlamRacket hosted its latest event last night at The Lexington on Pentonville Road. The upstairs room is a great venue for a gig, holding maybe 150 people, with a good sound and, for GlamRacket at least, a nice vibe.
But the majority of the crowd were there to hear the amazing Proxy Music. After all of the music heard by John Peel, from skiffle to punk to post-punk and beyond, Roxy were the band he thought the most original; the band whose origins could not be pinned down, who seemed to come from nowhere. He was talking of early Roxy, of course, the first album or two. That’s not to say they weren’t any good beyond that, though I don’t imagine Peel played anything beyond the departure of Brian Eno, it’s just that they were so sensational, so different in their earliest incarnation.
Proxy Music only play from that early period and do a grand job of recreating what I imagine was the sheer excitement of watching Ferry, Eno and co as they exploded as unknowns into the early 70s art scene. They look the part. There are similarities and there are differences, but the ‘feel’ of the band is just right; in keeping with the original spirit of Roxy.
…And also in keeping with the original spirit of punk. The earliest punks, the likes of Siouxsie, Severin and co, were self-confessed Roxy fans. Proxy Music demonstrate just how close the link is between the true spirit of punk, its individualism, and the excitement and energy of this early Roxy Music material.
I hope you get what I mean. Maybe you should just see them. At their last London outing back in September, Proxy detonated a deafeningly loud set (attended by the great Kevin Rowland no less) with Remake/Remodel. Perfect! Last night, they elected to kick off in total contrast with For Your Pleasure’s epic In Every Dream Home a Heartache. An odd, but brave choice as opener. The first set of six songs, including Ladytron (with ‘Bryan’ playing castanets – nice touch!) and Editions of You ended with Mother of Pearl from Stranded.
After an interval featuring dance routines by the Panther Girls, a Bryan-less band took to the stage, with Mat Colegate singing Eno’s solo cuts from Velvet Goldmine; Needle in a Camel’s Eye and Baby’s on Fire. Both are exquisitely performed and rather spiffing. Thogdin ‘Bryan’ Ripley returns to round off the fun, which included a cover of Lene Lovitch’s Lucky Number, but done in authentic early-Roxy stylee.
Two short sets, no encores, they left us wanting more. Bravo!
Photo of Thogdin Ripley by Melanie Clifford.
Phil Good, Emily Rotter and a ghostly Jimmy Martin by Bud Smith.