Well, here we are in an Indian Summer. Hottest October day on record. So just the day to go to an intimate, excruciatingly hot, gig in a small bar venue in Wolves. Welcome to the Slade Rooms. Welcome to the band that made indie rock and roll just great fun with some great pop songs and just great downright straight ‘come and party with us lot” gigs. Welcome everyone ‘cos, with new album in tow, tonight Terrorvision are in town.
Support tonight comes from The Breakdowns as they travel across the UK with the Bradford boys. Coming on stage a tad early to a half filled hall, they are well received with their up-tempo new wave catchy-sounding rock. Lead singer adorned with Keith Richard-style headband, guitar player dressed and moving like he had walked straight out of The Ramones, but playing guitar licks that were very Chuck Berry. Clearly inspired by a variety of influences, according to their website – they’re doing ‘True to your School’ rock n’ roll baby! With an album available ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Bop Any More’ – well worth a listen.
Terrorvision bounced onto the scene in the early nineties, a mismatch amalgamation of art school buddies Mark Yates and Leigh Marklew, drumming loon Shutty and long-haired urchin Tony Wright. After the release of ‘Formaldehyde’ in ’91, they started gigging endlessly, including opening ‘up-north’ local heroes Def Leppard’s homecoming Sheffield Don Valley Gig to 40,000 people, while the previous night playing to just 100, at an impromptu gig at a local pub. ‘93s ‘How to Make Friends and Influence People’ spawned five top 30 hits, and remains an incredibly infectious listen. Two further classic albums, plus festival and regular touring made them THE fun, alternative band to see, still occasionally shipping out the classic indie pop chart-making ditty.
By 2001, after a decade of raucous misbehaviour, they decided to wrap it up. But you just can’t keep a good band down, they reformed in ‘05, then in ’07, then every year since. ‘08 brought the ‘How to Make Friends and Influence People’ ‘in its entirety’ tour, which totally sold out. Drummer Shutty has once again called it a day, so joining the original members is Cam Greenwood. Oh and look out, they’ve release a brand new shiny album: ‘Super Delux.’
On they come, opening their set with ‘Neighbourhood’ complete with flashing blue lights and sirens – “somebody call the cops”- a track from their new album. By third track in, ‘D’ya Wanna Go Faster’, the crowd is in full-on bounce mode. “‘Ello”, says affable and chatty frontman Tony Wright. “This one starts with lotsa people clappin’ in Wolver’ampton.” And we’re into ‘American TV’. And on they go, good times indie rock n’ roll. ‘Babylon’, another track from the new album … “which you can buy on the internet.” Tonight’s version of ‘Tequila’ has a bluesy feel followed by “We’re not gonna tell you what this song is, we’re gonna just sing it in a Las Vegas style – where it starts and you just come in” – ‘Discotheque Wreck’ – during which Wright goes slightly rock n’ roll opening a beer over the crowd before downing the lot.
Lots of tracks from the new album, smattered with the old. “First song off our new album – first in ten years. People should hear these songs. Come to live music venues and support rock and roll. It starts with a big cheer in the Slade rooms.” Which of course, was followed by massive cheer from the crowd. A more chilled moment – ‘Bad Actress’ – “This is one for all of you that ‘av still got a lighter or those of you have an application that serves as a lighter. … It’s a bit of a ballad.” ‘Pushover’ — “This is our new single. I think this is how you have a single these days. Make a video stick it on YouTube and go out and play it live to everybody. Now … dance as if you’ve heard it every day for the last year.” “I think this is the 12 inch version of it as well….” he jokes as the intro is extended then stops and restarts.
And then we’re back into the old days – ‘Oblivion’ – part way through “put your hands in the air” and the audience willingly oblige, wave their arms back and forth and join in the moment. “I have these things in my ears to hear myself sing, but I took ‘em out ‘cos I prefer listening to you lot cheering” grins Wright. For ‘Don’t Shoot the Dog’, a quirky anecdote – “This was originally a Christmas song called ‘Don’t Shoot My Reindeer’ but it came out in March! Let’s do one of them campaigns: Get Terrorvision to Christmas No 1 in March!” And we’re still going – ‘Middleman’, ‘Josephine’ and set completed by a very smily Wright singing ‘Perseverance.’
Off and back on again to the ubiquitous ‘Alice What’s the Matter?’, sound turned up and crowd getting louder and louder, everyone singing and into it by now. Wright applauds the crowd. ‘Pretend Best Friend’ and it’s over, the band link arms over their shoulders in a line at the front of the stage and gave a final bow to Elvis’ ‘Wonder of you.’
Terrorvison are just great fun. They are indeed, one of the few nineties bands, where it is a pleasure to see ‘em back on stage, back with a new album. Back just enjoying themselves, for the pleasure of everyone there tonight – well worth the price of a ticket (just 15 nicker boys and girls) and an uplifting night out. New and up and coming bands can learn a lot from em – maybe they could write a book: “How to be yourself and entertain everyone in bucket loads and have fun at the same time.”
Yeah, at times it was a bit like being thrown back into the mid-nineties. But their songs stand the test of time really well, and their new stuff is very much in the same vein. So if you want a break from the financial misery and you want to let your hair down, and have fun, go and play with Terrorvision. It’s an open party.
2. My House
3. D’ya Wanna Go Faster
4. American TV
5. Celebrity Hitlist
7, Still the Rhythm
9. Discotheque Wreck
10. Rock Radio
11. Demolition Song
12. What Makes You Tick
13. If I Was You
14. Bad Actress
15. Shiny Things
16. Friends & Family
19. Don’t Shoot the Dog
23. Alice What’s The Matter?
24. Pretend Best Friend
‘How to make friends and influence people’(1993)
‘Whales and Dolphins (The Best of Terrorvision)’ (2009)
‘Super Delux’ (2011)
Listening: ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Bop Any More’ (2011).
Review – Zyllah Moranne-Brown
(with contributions from John Bentley and Beki Barrett)
Photos – John Bentley