Paranoid Visions: live review from Rebellion festival
Blackpool August 2011
There is a leering maniac at loose on the stage- a foul and demented cross between Johnny Rotten when he was Rotten and Steve Ignorant- Paranoid Vision’s frontman Deco cuts a vision of genuine rage and inner turmoil as he growls and bellows his way through the songs. There is nothing fake here, this is the anger and confusion that was part of a generational DNA before punk turned up in the 70s and was sparked to a fierce and hypnotic whole by the first wave of 1234 rock n roll and turned into a physical storm by the mad eyed singer.
Deco is the real deal. One of the first punks in Dublin whose fucked up life was suddenly made sense of by punk and especially Crass- he turned his back on the confused life he was leading and found a real purpose. His band have been around in various disguises for decades, I remember them playing with my old band the Membranes when we gigged in Dublin in 1986 and he had the same sort of wild, untamed presence even then with a whole tribe of punk youth following him around the city because they recognised the genuine article when they saw it.
Deco wasn’t pretending to be punk rock. He was born punk rock.
In recent years his band has slowly evolved into something quite special. Not just a mere thrash, they have added women backing singers, electronics and some really imaginative song strictures. Their music boasts a touch of the avant garde mixed with anthemic punk songs to couch their front man’s unpredictable antics. The band have taken the collage/ experimental side of Crass and really run with it, Decos’s impassioned gravel shouting is perfectly couched by the women singers and the band’s scope of imagination is reconstructing punk into new shapes.
There may be something animalistic about the performance but there is a fierce intelligence at play here from the musicians playing to Deco himself who is far smarter than he would like anyone to think he was.
They are also arch pranksters who somehow got their last single into the Irish top ten- one place higher than U2’s single released the same week and they are always thinking of new ways to fuck with things, surely the archetype punk rock behaviour, to make you think.
Live it’s very much the Deco show, the smouldering volcano of Irish dissent he looks like he is about to assault the audience with his antics and presents a very real sense of unpredictability that gives the band a dangerous edge.
Paranoid Visions are one of the last bastions of punk, feral yet smart, dangerous yet idealistic- they exist as a fascinating anomaly in the Dublin music scene and as a reminder of the power of punk rock at it’s most direct and intelligently unorthodox.