Pop: INXS Glasgow Barrowlands

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Some time in the past, although I'm sure even now he doesn't regret it, Michael Hutchence said, "I love being famous... it makes me feel wanted and loved and noticed." That's one reason, I guess, INXS keep playing after 17 years on the circuit. Another may be his personal life - how long can a man stand to be billed as "Mr Paula Yates"? Ironic, since much of Paula's fame has derived from those she's hung out with, and INXS have at least made hypnotic music. It was never much more than white dance- rock for those who can't dance, a typically 1980s sound, but around the era of Kick, back in 1987, INXS were indisputably funky. It's those memories that dragged me here, to a relocated venue considerably smaller than the one they'd been scheduled to play, to see what was occurring. And, by golly, excess is delivered.

Amid crashing chords, Hutchence arrives on stage clad as a strange amalgam of dramatic personae. Worrying pallor, black frock coat, dyed raven locks, inky gloves and shades, a composite of something from an Anne Rice novel, a deranged Heathcliff, Hamlet and Jeff Goldblum's disintegrating Fly. His purpose here tonight is ringmaster; thus, as his competent band provide back-up, he strips, gyrates, seduces the speakers and hurtles from the drumstack like a bat. The crowd swoon and shudder and frug about, despite the fact that the show's first half-hour is uninspired, over-amped, pedestrian rock no one with sensibilities could get anything out of. You'd wait good- naturedly for something worthwhile if Mike wasn't so obnoxious, particularly in his crowd-pleasing schmooze. "Glasgow!" he roars. "We had to play here as the first night of the tour because this is the shit, innit? You guys are fuckin' mad. Right?" Well, thanks.

The set improves with a track - "I'm Just a Man" - from the new album. Could be self-pitying autobiography, but in fact it's spare, melodic, expressive, very bluesy, and Hutch delivers it with admirable restraint. This might have been a respectable new direction, but right after it we're back to strobes and desperate hysterics. Announcing "Show Me (Cherry Baby)", Michael's into overdrive. Having irritatingly thrown whole bottles of Evian at us, he now empties the contents of a bucket of water over the lucky front ranks - hey, rock 'n' roll. Bludgeoned though it is, you can't fail to enjoy the Kick round-up held together by Kirk Pengilly's soprano sax and the drumbeat that's their hallmark. For the most part, though, Mr Hutchence is simply wearing. Tonight was adolescent pub-rock, but if you want to move on up, you and your sound have to grow up. "Sometimes you kick, sometimes you get kicked," Hutch is growling. And just now, boy, is he ever right.

Comments