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 Home is where I want to be
Home is where I want to be
2001 - Grins all round from Tom Tom Club (concert review) PDF Print E-mail

Tina @ Electric BallroomTom Tom Club
Electric Ballroom, London (April 23, 2001)

"God," says Tina Weymouth, by way of the warmest of welcomes, "how we've missed you." She has a point, for the Talking Heads sideline she formed with husband Chris Frantz have not played in Britain for 13 years. Much has happened since: Talking Heads are no more; Frantz and Weymouth's The Heads never gelled; most depressing of all, Tom Tom Club still struggle to rise above insipid on disc.

Live, though, Tom Tom Club can do no wrong. At the front of the stage with bassist Weymouth are cheery, Stakhanovite vocalists Mystic Bowie and Victoria Clamp. Bowie's dreadlocks are saturated by the end of the opening Suboceana; when he performs the encore, 96 Tears by ? and the Mysterians and Al Green's Take Me to the River (which Talking Heads also used to cover) he is topless, and sprays front rows and bandmates alike.

Clamp is tall and pretty but, like Bowie, she is a dervish, sprinting across stage, hitting various percussion instruments, waving to the crowd and never missing a syllable on the complex Wordy Rappinghood, which climaxes in an almighty percussive duel between Bruce Martin and Abdou M'Boup. Behind them Frantz plays in gloves but has the avuncular presence of John Goodman. No wonder everyone on stage, save sullen guitarist Robbie Aceto, smiles all the time.

The newer material - Who Feelin' It, Happiness Can't Buy Money (choreographed somewhere between Cameo and Bucks Fizz) and Lee Perry's Soul Fire - bristles with intricate rhythms and choruses to savour. The older fare - Genius of Love, The Man with the Four-Way Hips - serves to remind that Frantz and Weymouth do not always need David Byrne.

The surprising highlight of a rather surprising evening is their joyful but watertight sprint through Hot Chocolate's You Sexy Thing, a song they were covering long before The Full Monty. Bowie and Clamp chase each other around the stage, Weymouth looks on like a mother hen, Frantz growls "you sexy thing, you" whenever he feels the need and Aceto powers out the riff as if it were When the Levee Breaks. Live music does not get any better than this - really. Faultless.

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