Seafruit, Camden Barfly
Supergirly, Embassy Rooms, London.
MOST BANDS have some claim to fame, whether it's "Ricky from EastEnders came to my gig", or that ubiquitous "Damon Albarn loves our record". But Contempo's is better than most. They have managed to drag former guitarist from The Clash, Mick Jones, out of early retirement in order to produce their record.
With such a distinguished producer it won't come as a surprise that Contempo's sound harks back to the early Eighties - they fall somewhere between The Clash and Dexy's Midnight Runners - with pounding choruses, brass fanfares and lashings of good-natured attitude. They sing about living in the suburbs - in their case, Staines - and the interminability of being on the dole. Singer Richard Archer's catalogue-man appearance belies a pleasingly sleazy stage persona with an extraordinary vocal capacity that ranges from an Elvis-style drawl to a startling falsetto. Contempo are, essentially, an exercise in nostalgia. But though they wear their record collections on their sleeves, they could not have picked a better set of bands on which to base theirs. A quick glance at Seafruit may lead you to believe that you are in the midst of a warped scientific experiment. Four weathered- looking Yorkshiremen fill the stage dressed in white coats with alarmingly intense expressions on their faces. Things become even more peculiar when singer Geoff Barradale starts dancing. When he points at unsuspecting members of the crowd and shakes his whole body to a rhythm that, it seems, only he can hear, visions of Dad on the dancefloor invade the consciousness. But Seafruit's songs are a different matter altogether. They are so perfectly pitched that they feel cosily familiar, yet fresh and unsullied. Their anthemic choruses have everyone throwing their hands in the air like teenagers at their first stadium rock-concert - a point that doesn't go unnoticed by the bassist who dryly holds his lighter aloft, not moving for at least five minutes. Seafruit's weird histrionics may be disconcerting, but at least they don't take themselves too seriously.
If you get on the wrong side of Supergirly, they will rip you to shreds. If you are trying to make it in the world of bubble-gum pop, then you are definitely next on their list. This Australian duo, one dressed as an oversized Wonder Woman and the other as Sandra Dee with a mean streak, are the consummate po-mo pop act. They send up the likes of the Spice Girls, All Saints, Martine McCutcheon, and B*witched with little mercy and searing accuracy. Britney Spears' "(Hit Me) Baby, One More Time" is transformed into "Britney Spears Is Thirty-Nine", while All Saints "Never Ever" turns into an incomprehensibly nasal drawl. TLC's "No Scrubs", similarly indistinct, becomes "No Knobs" - a rip-roaring diatribe against white men who think they are black. And Supergirly's claim to fame? Elton John loves them. No, really.Reuse content