Pop Will Eat Itself, The Bambi Slam: Town & Country Club, London


BAMP BAMP — a Bambi Slam! Flailing hair and wailing cellos are an irresistible combination. I defy anyone to remain still in the Bambi Slam’s presence, and few people here tonight do. This group are leagues ahead of the ‘grebo gurus’ they are supporting; their be-bop backbeat, manic trash guitars and scraping strings are genuinely groovy.

‘Don’t It Make You Feel’… like falling in love? I say, Yeah!

Enter the Poppies, true anarchists in the Kevin Turvey mould. Their backing tracks resound with the voices of Mel & Kim, schoolboy shorts expose knees more horrible than their spots, and they warble through Byker Mary’s megaphone.

Predictably, they assert their position in a nation’s hearts by opening with their “grebo” numbers, but in stretching their point here, they have lost the humour from their live act.

The fairground Yamaha organ that worked so well for them in earlier days is only tinkled upon for a few numbers, the Poppies preferring to stick to their grungy guitar sound. This is at its best when speeded up, as on ‘Sweet Sweet Pie’, the most enjoyable Pop meal to be served up tonight.

By this point, the audience seem a little disconsolate. But schedules are tight, and this is a no encore situation. There is only one thing for it, and that’s to round off the set with ‘Love Missile F1-11’, the best example of how good the Poppies really can be. Pity it’s someone else’s song.

© Cathi UnsworthSounds, 7 November 1987

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