Fischerspooner, Scala, London

The return of the electric circus

Whoopee cushions. Electric-shock handshake buzzers. Cubes of sugar with plastic bluebottles inside. Soap that makes your hands turn black. Yep, the local joke shop did well out of my pre-pubescent self.

Rubber zombie mask with one eye hanging out (I was a troubled teen). Freddy Krueger glove (I was 22 by that point and had no excuse). I could go on, but I'm only reminded of my prank-loving past because Fischerspooner look like they've been got by the young me, with a trick telescope: each member has a sooty circle around one eye.

This, somewhat disappointingly, is what passes for theatrical warpaint with Fischerspooner MkII. Budgets are, perhaps, tighter nowadays. Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner were, you see, the notorious perpetrators of The Great Synth-Rock Swindle, in which they managed to convince Ministry Of Sound to pump millions into their hyper-extravagant conceptual electro-cabaret shtick, and ended up bankrupting the label in the process.

Given that MOS is owned by James Palumbo, the Blairite, Etonian son of a Tory Lord, who tried to cash in on authentic underground club culture, we can probably applaud Warren and Casey for inadvertently fighting the good fight.

These things are, of course, relative. Having landed on their feet with a rescue deal from EMI, and with a residency at Ibiza megaclub Manumission coming up, Fischerspooner are not short of a bob or two for funding their fabulousness.

The pictures which emerged around the time of the single "Just Let Go" earlier this year, showing a chubby Casey in no make-up, suggested that Fischerspooner had just let themselves go, and squandered a sizeable chunk of the Ministry millions on pies. In the flesh, he's not exactly "skelety", as his spiritual godfather Derek Zoolander would put it. But he's buff enough to get topless and crowd-surf without fear of anyone pinching more than an inch (he then re-appears after the encores in actual Y-fronts to plug the after-party).

They may never recapture the days of live (well, mimed) spectaculars which resembled the Moscow State Circus choreographed by the ghost of Leigh Bowery. But we're still talking about a band (yes, a band, with actual instruments these days) whose singer walks out in Aladdin sleeves (further costume changes include a red-leather number), and whose members all wear Presleyesque jumpsuits. On a scale of Starsailor to Sputnik, Fischerspooner are still a seven.

Casey himself isn't averse to the occasional practical joke himself. He announces a "brand new song, not even on the album" called "Peanut Butter Express", prompting a disaffected drift to the bar among faint-hearted fans. The song they play, however, is "Emerge", a track that became bigger than the band themselves: not just a Fischerspooner anthem, but an anthem for the whole Electroclash movement. "Feels good. Looks good. Sounds good. Looks good. Feels good too..." Halfway through, Casey's ready for another tease, and stops it dead. (They play it in full a couple of songs later, when the prank victims have returned.) "That song's too old," he explains. "It's out of fashion. You should be seeing the Scissor Sisters!" Miaow.

But he does have a point. Now that the ambulance-chasing scenesters have moved on, those of us who have always loved electronic music, and always will, are free to enjoy it without having to rub shoulderpads with the fashionistas. Long may it remain so.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing