Tigertailz / Robin Black & The Intergalactic Rockstars / Freewheeler
9 December 2003
Camden Underworld, London
This was an attempt at "third time lucky" for me seeing Tigertailz tonight. My first near miss was at Huddersfield Polytechnic during the Young & Crazy era, where I was thrown out for only being the tender age of 16. Attempt two was on the Bezerk tour in Bradford, where that time I had to leave during the intro to catch my last train home. So it`s with some surprise that we arrive at the venue to discover no cancelled signs!
There`s an interesting array of people in attendance tonight. Quite a few faded Tigertailz shirts, receding hairlines (including mine!), eternal glamsters and oddly lots of younger people. How could these people know about Tigertailz at their age I was wondering? The answer was, they didn`t, but more on that later.
Freewheeler from London are first to entertain us tonight. This is dirty, greasy rawk`n`roll, bringing to mind what the likes of Circus Of Power or Junkyard used to play. This is echoed in song titles such as We Love The Drugs and Whiskey & The Pills.
Lead singer Seb, shirtless and with sunglasses on, certainly plays the rock star roll well and vocally reminded me of Iggy Pop. Meanwhile, bassist Sophie, cuts a Nashville Pussy trailer-trash look (meant in the nicest possible way!), in bikini top, peaked cap and, yep, sunglasses again. These two form the focal point for the band, with guitarist Luke more reserved and my only slight criticism would be that he could work on his stage presence.
The aforementioned tracks stand out tonight, along with the likes of Going Crazy and The Tramp. Freewheeler have bagged quite a few decent support slots recently and should continue to pick up new friends, as they did tonight.
The gathering stage front answered my question as to why all the younger glamsters were here. Save for a album advert I`d spotted in Classic Rock, Robin Black & The Intergalactic Rockstars had not been on my radar before tonight. Tonight`s attendance, which could have seen them headlining, would suggest they`re certainly not an unknown quantity and after this performance I was left wondering why they don`t feature more frequently in the rock press.
During an extended delay while a bass amp was changed over I was warned by one fan that I was in for a treat. Eventually the stage is filled with five colourful characters and Black asks us, "Are we your favourite band?" and then promises they will be.
Better Than You kicks things off, literally, as the stage turns into a mass of movement and rock star poses. Robin Black himself is the centre of attention, high kicking and cajole the crowd into action. He reminded me of a better looking Glenn Danzig gone glam, but his presence was Dee Snider like, and that`s saying something. Boy, is Robin Black confident, but then he has a right to be.
Between leaning into the audience to have his now naked chest stroked and requesting breasts are bared, Black tells us London needs rock`n`roll and that Coldplay ain`t gonna save us. The likes of Candy Flip and Outta The City will aid our salvation however.
The band is seriously tight with a sound like an almighty crash of Glam and the kind of rock`n`roll The Hellacopters trade in. Apparently tonight the band feature a new rhythm section though you wouldn`t have guessed. John Kearns on bass, sporting a punk-rock mohawk, is aptly named The Creep and lurks around behind Black practically dragging his bass on the floor. The only disappointment about Christopher Alexander Kidd on the drums is his lack of pseudonym!
For the best names we have to turn to the guitars. Rhythm guitarist Chris Cunnane, aka Starboy, is, as the song title goes, clearly More Effeminate Than You and doubles up with keyboard duties. Meanwhile, Ky Anto, also known as Killer KY (also of Crash Kelly) is pure rock`n`roll attitude and at the close of the set simply deposits his guitar in the crowd and walks off. Those at the front seem bewildered at what to do with it and choose to carefully place it back on stage.
Apparently the Canadians are currently working on a follow up to their Planet Fame debut with Bob Ezrin, which will hopefully raise their profile in the media. Whether that happens or not the hard graft of live performances such as this are clearly playing off as demonstrated when Black asks us again at the end of the set, "Are we your favourite band now?", which is met with a bigger response than when initially asked.
Robin Black & The Intergalactic Rockstars Set List:
Better Than You / Suburban Sci-Fi / Time Travel Tonite / Screwed It Up / More Effeminate Than You / Candy Flip / Outta The City / Why Don`t You Love Me / T.V. Trash / Teenage Sex / Some of You Boys (and Most of you Girls) / Hellraiser / So Sick Of You
Thus follows a changing of the guard stage front, with the younger fans retreating to the bar where Robin Black and band are holding court, whilst the older rockers move forward in anticipation of Tigertailz.
Tigertailz 2003, continue from the Young & Crazy debut album as if the Bezerk era never happened. This is not at all surprising given returning singer Steevi Jaimz had left before that album was recorded, and with a personal preference for that debut album, this was fine with me.
Jaimz has been in this game a long while and knows how to work a crowd. He constantly questions what is wrong with us tonight, which forces the crowd into a louder response each time. Wisely he`s chosen to do away with the big bouffant hair style, instead opting for a long straight look, though still bleached blonde.
The only other remaining original member is Ace Finchum on the drums, with the new line-up rounded out by ex-Jaimz Gang guitarist Joolz and Gregs of Wraith on bass. As such, a band often tagged "Welsh Glamsters", now no longer host any Welsh members. Glam is also perhaps not the correct description anymore, as in line with their recent press shots, Tigertailz now sport a black rubber look.
With few live performances to date, and having to follow Robin Black`s incredibly tight outfit, its apparent Tigertailz are still in the process of gelling and are a little rough around the edges tonight. However, with songs as good as Hollywood Killer, that`s of little distraction.
Six songs from Young & Crazy are aired tonight, interspersed with tracks from their new EP. The new material seems to continue where they left off a decade an a half ago, though I`m Alive possesses a heavier edge. It`s obvious that the crowd want to hear the old stuff though and that craving for nostalgia could be a millstone Tigertailz will be forced to fight.
Livin` Without You gets the best response of the night, the crowd completely taking over the chorus with a surprised looking Jaimz not having to sing. Shoot To Kill closed the main set and has been stuck in my head all day today.
The final encore of a cover of Mud`s Tiger Feet is a fitting end to a set which was shorter than the preceding band. Given the larger turnout for Robin Black`s band tonight, I wonder if Tigertailz would benefit from going on first as a number of Black`s fans had left after his performance. Switching the bill on this tour may introduce Tigertailz to a younger audience, who tonight many of which had not heard of them before. Such fresh blood is likely to be essential for a lasting reunion.
Tigertailz Set List:
Turn Me On / Young and Crazy / Hollywood Killer / King Of The World / Star Attraction / Livin' Without You / Cat On A Hot Tin Roof / I`m Alive / Shoot To Kill / Tiger Feet