Pop Live: Tricky Junction, Cambridge
Friday 22 November 1996
The taut, urgent "Ponderosa" which opens is a far cry from the ennervated meandering which characterised too many of Tricky's later pre-PMT live performances. His new band are excellent, ploughing through the hypnotically off-kilter "Christiansands" and the paranoid, clanking "Tricky Kid" with vibrant organic vim. But the real revelation is the knowledge Tricky seems to have acquired from the last 18 months' remorseless collaborative gadding about, which is that the work he does with singer and mother-of-his-daughter Martina has a different quality to the work he does with everyone else.
As with all pop's most enduring master and muse relationships - Phil and Ronnie Spector, Ike & Tina Turner, Peters and Lee - the matter of who is wearing the trousers at any given moment in Tricky and Martina's psycho-sexual song cycle is never quite as cut-and-dried as it might seem. As a metaphor for emotional claustrophobia, being unable to breathe is pretty much on its death-bed, but the awesome "Vent" gives it an electric jolt back to life. "Can't hardly breathe... she hides my Ventolin" - Tricky's asthmatic croak fades into Martina's crooning triumph - "I'm the one who hides his medicine!"
The concert version of this extraordinary song stretches out into a thrilling industrial blues cacophony; something like how Metallica would sound if they were as good as they ought to be. At which point, roughly three quarters of an hour in, Tricky decides to call it a night - confounding disturbing rumours from other tour dates of two-hour sets and "jamming", and leaving a previously enraptured crowd in a healthy state of mild dissatisfaction. At such moments, solace can be drawn from Bruce Springsteen's Iron Law of Live Performance: if you can't do it in 45 minutes, it's not worth doing at all.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams cast in Channel 4 drama about cyber bullying
Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea's 'Booty' music video is just a load of butts
Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes