Toyah Wilcox is one of those performers who seems to be in the public eye but these days is never quite as much in our faces in the way she used to be. Known more these days for TV appearances and her acting it’s easy to forget that she took that acting talent onto the music scene to establish herself as one of the most intense performers to have survived the 1970s UK punk scene.
Tonight she lived up to that reputation from the moment she came on stage exploding into the energy of All In A Rage, her voice still perfect, and making it plain that she was the star here and the focus. She took to the front with her band in darkness against the back line to emphasise her presence. The crowd was here to see her and she was not about to disappoint them.
She knew this audience, chatting to them about needing a breather and mocking the similarity between Soul Passing Through Soul and Bowie tunes, pointing out that she was married to the man who wrote the riff for Heroes so she was entitled to some lee-way! It’s strange that she has collaborated with husband Robert Fripp only once but maybe she was too busy with the host of collaborations and solo projects that she has produced over the years.
Among The Echoes have been through a few changes over the last couple of years and have progressed a lot musically culminating in their Kickstarter funded album Fracture. Their music is energetic, powerful synth rock with an industrial edge and it’s quality stuff, although ironically they are better known for their version of Gary Numan’s Pure. Thankfully he is reported to like their version.
The audience were no pushovers as Deadfilmstar found out. The Coventry-based outfit mixed their own stuff with a series of mock-covers from bands like Iggy and The Stooges and Suede. Front man Gary Mobley cuts an imposing figure prowling around the stage like a demented child catcher — no kids allowed at the front for this one. His black contacts and black garb are menacing and the Industrial Goth take on metal isn’t to be for everyone and there were a few tetchy exchanges with the audience, although the set ended with Mobley leering at them “you love us really”. They have supported Toyah previously so they must do something for her and I really liked their set.
Erica Nockalls has spent the last couple of years moving out of the shadows cast by Miles Hunt and The Wonder Stuff to establish herself as a fine musician and leader of her own band as well as forging a career as an artist painting in oils for her current exhibition in Birmingham. In fact, as she announced, tonight is exactly one year to the day since her band supported PiL. They celebrated the anniversary with their usual professional and polished performance with all the band loving every minute.
All three bands got the crowd whipped up for Toyah but by the time they were leaping about, to the aptly titled Dance it was clear she needed little help. There was a lot of adulation on show, with the crowd singing throughout It’s a Mystery and I Want To Be Free. At the end the echoes of teenage angst and the punk credentials were pricked slightly as Toyah was presented with a bouquet of flowers but her fans love her and she gave them a show to remember.
All in a Rage
Little Tears of love
Race Through Space
Soul Passing Through Soul
Brave New World
Good Morning Universe
Thunder in The Mountains
Don’t Fall In Love
It’s A Mystery
I Wanna Be Free
Photographs and words — Ian Dunn