Friday, February 26, 2010

Long Live Pere Ubu! Pere Ubu The Spectacle: Leamington Assembly Rooms Wed 24 February 2010

Pere Ubu remain one of the most interesting and exciting performance bands around, even if they have been going for several decades.

Unlike some - cough cough, Rolling Stones, we're looking at you - they're not in it for the money (though more would be nice), but instead place artistic integrity and musical challenge higher up their priorities.

Their current show - Pere Ubu: The Spectacle - is a concert interpretation of their (earlier production orginally performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall). Based on the Alfred Jarry play Ubu Roi, the show comes complete with projected animation, costumes and the driving musical stylings of the band (heavy bass, theramins, synthesisers etc). One attendee was overheard at the end saying "that's the most random pile of shit I have ever seen" but frankly it was hard to know if he meant that in a good way or a bad way!

Still, they did say on the interval caption projection: 'the more you drink, the more sense it makes'.

Despite Thomas's occasional yells of frustration - at himself and the band, he's actually rather lovely: it's born of a desire for professionalism and perfection that he gets cranky. And the band have been with him some time: it certainly isn't a Mark E. Smith type of antagonism, for all that Thomas growls irritably. And they do have a chuckle about things as well. Well, you would if you are standing there in a dress (drummer Steve Mehlman).

Hard to describe, and incredible to experience, the small (but mostly very appreciative 'crowd') eagerly went up at the end to purchase CDs from David Thomas, the band's driving force. Yes indeed, that "pimply, cross-eyed Thom York" doesn't come down off stage at the end of the performance to sit at the front and sell the band's product.

1 comment:

jams o donnell said...

Now there's a band I haven't thought of in years. I met Dave Thomas one. I found him very likeable