The Adverts: The Marquee, London

Gobba Gobba On Gaye

IT WAS a hot muggy Tennessee Williams night, the kind of night custom-made to stand, steaming demurely in 104 degree heat, in the familiar sweaty old Marquee and watch the familiar sweaty old Adverts stumble through their set. They didn’t disappoint me.

It’s amazing how little The Adverts change. They got a new drummer but he sounds just like the old drummer, and there they are, the same ramshackle outfit jerking their way through some of the most commercial – yet uncommercially realised – songs to come out of the punk rock explosion.

Tim’s songs are very poppy but for some reason the band can’t play them well enough because they are too difficult. Gaye still spends the entire set staring in rapt concentration at the frets of her bass, making sure she gets the notes right. The result is a situation where they spell out the right words but the writing is shaky.

There are changes of course, one of which is that Howard’s guitar licks have improved a lot. He suprised everyone with a superb high metallic one-note-at-a-time solo on ‘No Time To Be 21’.

Gaye’s bass sound is now closer to that of J-J Burnel than before – she has achieved that “boiling” sound she always wanted.

I think they are the only group left who yell “1-2-3-4” before each number…as Tim jumps like an electrocuted cat at the mike, writhing and twisting, slow motion drowning and, despite the intense heat, pumping out energy till the audience are all pogoing like it was November 1976.

Some of the new numbers were good, particularly ‘Television’s Over’ which shows a more poppy and lyrical direction. They did ‘Back From The Dead’ which Tim co-wrote with Kid Strange.

‘Backstreet Boys’ provoked a spate of gobbing which steadily grew worse through the set until Gaye finally left the stage midway through the encore because she couldn’t stand it any more.

Good old Adverts, I hope that they one day learn to play better but until then I’ll still dig them. The songs are so good, the vitality and energy is there.

© MilesNew Musical Express, 5 August 1978

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