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LIVE: Pop Will Eat Itself with Jim Bob Carter – Perth, 11 Mar, 2018

| 14 March 2018 | Reply

LIVE: Pop Will Eat Itself with Jim Bob Carter – Perth, 11 Mar, 2018
The Rosemount Hotel, North Perth; Sunday, 11 March, 2018
Reviewed by Brian Dunne

Two iconic names from British music of the 1990s came together at the Rosemount Hotel recently. Indeed, these names were not simply iconic bands in the British scene, they each possess one of the greatest band names ever coined: it’s a close tie between Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine and Pop Will Eat Itself!

Jim Bob, vocalist with Carter USM, ambled onto the stage alone and kicked off the night in laconic style. Jim Bob mixes tunes with large measures of humour, particularly at the expense of Ed Sheeran – who deserves all he gets, mainly because his guitar is too small. The music remained paramount, of course, and the set, which relied overwhelmingly on Carter USM tunes, showed off the immense depths and incisiveness of Jim Bob’s songwriting.

The hits were there to be heard and they kept on coming: Lean On Me I Won’t Fall Over, H.A.P.P.Y, Shoppers Paradise, Falling On A Bruise, Sherriff Fatman and the fabulous ode to “the gypsies, the travellers and the thieves, the good, the bad, the ugly, the unique, the Grebos, Crusties and the Goths, and The Only Living Boy in New Cross”. Then, just to show that he doesn’t write all the best songs, Jim Bob threw in a cover of Inspiral Carpets, also long favoured by Carter USM, This Is How It Feels To Be Lonely.

This inspirational show was quite possibly the best, most fun and enjoyable solo show I’ve ever seen. Nobody wanted the witty and ultimately engaging Jim Bob to vacate the stage yet, but despite his best attempts to delay the inevitable, the headliners were waiting in the wings.

Then Pop Will Eat Itself thunderously struck the Rosemount stage. The twin vocal attack going at it fully hand-held with no mic stand hazards to trip up proceedings, bouncing about like madmen on their sensible special spongey rubber floor covering. The band sounded refreshingly taut and they certainly cracked into their own impressive esky full of hits. First cab off the rank PWEIsation invited the crowd to sing-a-long with England’s Finest [TM] from the get go.

They really did not mess about and when only three songs into the set PWEI asked the audience Can U Dig It? the crowd immediately lost their shit. Quickly following on with another couple of classic songs, Not Now James and Dance of the Mad Bastards, it seemed nothing could go wrong from here. Then it did.

About half way through their set something began to go wrong with the sound. First the bass rig clapped out and it took a number of goes throughout two or three songs for that to be corrected. Around the same time the wind seemed to go out of both singers simultaneously. Maybe they were both tired and emotional after a long tour, but humour appeared to desert them at the same time. Their stage banter had nothing of the effervesence of Jim Bob and at times seemed downright nasty.

“Where’s Clint?” Shouted out an audience member, in reference to original co-singer Clint Mansell. “In his Hollywood mansion, where do you think, idiot?” Replied Mansell’s replacement, the very male Mary Byker. Hmm…

Then there was the drummer whose drum kit featured three snare drums, all well used. In every song. Also, the dude has an exceedingly quick right foot. I actually checked to see if he had some kind of double kick rigged up but no, he’s just really, really fast. All good except his bass drum mix had been set a notch or two high, and eventually the insistent snapping of the snare beat and continual pound of the bass drum over-rode any nuances left in the songs.

With vocals now mostly incoherent, the twin vocal novelty got old real quick. At times their stage moves reached parody, almost infra dig for guys their age. Before they’d laboured two thirds through their set the crowd, which had never exceeded half full, had noticeably thinned. However, just when the idea begins to settle in mind that PWEI are an idea that’s had its day, the band break into Director’s Cut from their 2015 album Anti-Nasty League and managed to get themselves well and truly back on track. From there on in, with songs like Bulletproof and Ich Bin Ein Auslander still in the cooler, it was a cruise on home.

Overall, this was an entertaining night out. Equipment failures aside, I’m pretty damned sure that Pop Will Eat Itself have had better nights and will doubtless have better nights to come. And for those who were there, we’ll always have Jim Bob!

Category: Live Reviews

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