The Teardrop Explodes




live review

The Teardrop Explodes


THE ZOO Club (or Club Zoo, nobody seems certain) is situated in the seedy and narrow Temple Street. Enter into the grim doorway and discover a Tardis-style belying of external appearance. Inside it is a plush, many roomed night spot. In the early sixties it rivalled the Cavern as a Merseybeat hangout.

The Teardrops amble on for the first low-key set in front of a hundred or so onlookers. Dave Balfe's organ strikes up some chords and provides the solitary backing for Julian's voice in 'Tiny Children'. Without the hindrance of excessive volume the Cope throat ability is particularly striking.

Some twenty five minutes of the softer material, taken mainly from 'Wilder', follows but the early showing concludes with a dramatic 'Treason', JC bending and stretching the syllables to find new harmonies in the old rhythm, The predominant keyboards instil a sense of 'Nuggets' psychedelia. Throughout the set they make handsome compensation for the missing brass.

Two support acts appear between Teardrop sets. One tonight is the impressive Colours Out Of Time. Each night there are different mid-evening artistes, which add to the very clubby (in the friendly sense) atmosphere the Zoo organisers are striving for, although even they admit the venture is as yet short of perfection.

Perhaps this is largely due to the cardiac-inducing shock of a nationwide hitsound chart band making outings of this kind. For the group it provides a breathing space after the hectic bustle of the last six months, also room for freedom and experimentation not possible in the regular touring format.

Celebrate the great escape?

In the time honoured tradition, the second uptempo set is well on the road to derangement. It starts with a determined drive through ‘Passionate Friend'. The first really old song follows quickly, ‘Bouncing Babies', taken somewhat over-anxiously at one hell-of-a gallop. Quickly knocked off top is the choppy guitar-founded 'Pure Joy'.

Being a person who was a shade disappointed with the 'Colours Fly Away' single, the rearrangement it underwent live came as a welcome revelation, a lot more powerful and dynamic than the stodgy lacklustre vinyl concern. The whole structure becomes pleasingly jumpy with nothing clogging the space between Troy's zippy reverbed guitar and the quirky percussion. The vocal is a lot stronger. Julian pronounces “extremist” in a high whine then shifts into a semi-scat improvisation. 'Ha Ha I'm Drowning' is welcomed back to…… (and here the review mysterious ends due to being sliced off the end of my original and very delicate print copy. Can anyone supply the missing words?)


© mick sinclair

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