The East Village Arts Club, Liverpool
Friday 25th Oct 2013
Pics: Liz Phillips
A home town gig is always going to be something a little bit special, particularly one that to mark a 20th Anniversary; and as Tommy Scott – frontman of the reformed Space bounded on to the East Village Arts Club stage in Liverpool he was greeted by a capacity crowd; a crowd comprised of friends, family, fans young and old; a real cross section – old punks from Tommy’s days back at Eric’s, 90’s indie kids who no doubt enlivened their university education bouncing to the beats from past albums like ‘Spiders’ and ‘Tin Planet’ through to the ‘scouse browed’ Oompa Loompa’s and the just plain curious… all ready to celebrate the delightfully twisted pop of Space.
The lights having dipped, a screen flickers into life…’Asteroid’ the classic Pearl & Dean cinema soundtrack belts out of the speakers complete with the cheesy “we hope you will enjoy the feature presentation” voice over before a selection of cinema adverts lifted courtesy of a time machine direct from your local flea pit wobble across the screen each lasting a neat 60 seconds allowing the cheese drenched voice to holler “the feature presentation begins in 5/4/3…minutes” When the clock counts down an image of Moonbase Alpha appears complete with the moniker Space 2013 (in correct font; nice touch!!)
Space take to the stage and immediately hurtle into a celebration; drawing from past hits through to the forthcoming ‘Attack Of The Mutant 50ft Kebab’ album; from ‘Me And You Vs The World’ via ‘Mr Psycho’, ‘Drop Dead’ and on to ‘Crying On The Webcam’
Scott as ever a picture of sartorial elegance, the oiled quiff, the braces and the trusty cherry reds; Franny still sporting the washed out porn star moustache is wearing Hartnoll brothers glasses and a Six Million Dollar Man sweatshirt, and behind them…an ensemble of rock n’ roll misfits – Phil Hartley on low slung bass stalking the stage, Gonzo Jones hammering out a demented stripped to the waist beat, and Ryan – the kid brought up watching way too much of the Singing Ringing Tree conjuring demented sounds from his keyboard…
Scott leads us through the hits, and misses – Space in 2013 are the band I always wanted Space to be; the addition of the three new members has enabled Tommy and Franny to reinterpret their earlier works; what we get are all those classic twisted pop melodies but delivered with spine tingling vengeance, beneath the familiar pop charm is a darkly brooding and barely concealed aggression; Space are drawing on their past, interpreting all the influences on their lives, the clues are there – ‘Asteroid’, Lee Majors, Orbital, late 70’s Liverpool punk collide with Space’s innate understanding of what makes great pop music – this isn’t your GM modified chart fodder sanitized to appeal to such a wide demographic it actually appeals to none, this is mutant pop – music with real emotion, ridden through with a macabre humour; how else do you explain ‘Boy In The Body Bag’ – and the crowd respond, a heaving bouncing mass commune to savour the sweat drenched moment.
Space are clearly having a ball, the way in which they engage on stage…Scott falls to his knees in front of Hartley’s bass, those cavernous tones energising him – even when the entire drum sound drops way, no one gives a shit it merely makes way for banter between the band members and the crowd; for ‘The Ballard Of Tom Jones’ Scott invites a female audience member to reprise Ms Mathews role, having been assured she knew the lyric; it was time to test her; she didn’t, but no one cared, we were swept along by Scott’s clearly visible excitement – the kid who didn’t mature out of ADHD, the kid who switched Ritalin for JD & Coke…
Space encore with an old Drellas song ‘Violence Is Art’; well they would – how many other bands would encore a home town gig with a track from a different band, a band that the world has sadly forgotten? The Drellas being Scott’s former and sorely missed band, it’s a savage assault on the senses, a head kick that obliterates the majority of the audience; a master stroke.
Space release ‘Attack of the Mutant 50ft Kebab’ via Pledge Music in early 2014, a single ‘Fortune Teller’ will be lifted from the album and released on the 24th November 2013.
Space play at The Borderline, London 31st October 2013 (Tickets)