Terrorvision's singer Tony Wright is explaining why he got his tummy, nipples and eyebrow pierced: "When they put the needle through, you get this mad funny feeling in your tongue. Your head goes numb. I love it." Like his band, Wright may seem, at first glance, to be a scary metal mutha. But on closer inspection, it turns out that he is, in fact, three years old. Three-year-old children shriek and giggle when they eat because their senses are far more intense than adults'. Everything they do is over-exciting.
Wright bounds on stage at the Southampton Guildhall to the Beach-Boys- meet-Black-Sabbath strains of "Pretend Best Friend". A lot of rock stars are embarrassed to be where they are: to be in Smash Hits, to go on Top of the Pops, to get mobbed after gigs. They slink on stage and spend three hours talking to their shoes. Wright can't stand still. He pogos. He leaps. He runs up and down an elevated platform above the stage. Just when you think he's about to turn into Axl Rose, he starts kicking his knees up either side of his body and walking "like an E-gyptian". He dances like Damon Albarn, not because he's being ironic, but because he has no sense of rhythm whatsoever.
Terrorvision are very much a band, in that each member has a discernible personality. Shutty is the unhinged drummer, Mark Yates the moody guitarist, Leigh Marklew the saucy bassist and Wright the unthreatening pretty- boy. They are pop, but not offensively so - it's rock, but never humourless. "Superchronic", from their new album Regular Urban Survivors, is a cheeky take on Oasis's "Supersonic". "Oblivion", with its daft rap and "doo-wop" chorus, is practically a novelty record. Please note: the new album includes the line: "The dog-io and cat-io are fighting on the patio".
It is such a relief to see a rock band that don't mean anything at all. Your Therapy?s, Manic Street Preachers and Garbages - all fine, fine bands - spend too much time trying to find a word that rhymes with "empathicalist". Of all the rock-poppers around, only the Foo Fighters come close to Terrorvision's exuberance. Dave Grohl's obvious glee at not being a drummer any more is beaten tenfold by Tony Wright's grin at not being on the dole.
"Number Five!" he squeals before they launch into their recent number five hit "Perseverance"- a song that sounds like it's being oscillated. As he gobbles about whales and dolphins, tiny 10-year-olds hop up and down. This thrills Wright more than anything: "My first gig was Gary Moore. It really put me off music for a few years."
Every genre has its Monkees. Menswear are the indie Monkees. The Prodigy are the techno Monkees. So it follows that Terrorvision are the metal Monkees. The best thing about Terrorvision is that they are probably the only band in the world that are proud of the fact.
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