Zombina & The Skeletones Vs The Primitives
Psycho Motel @ The Lomax, Liverpool
Wednesday 23rd May 2012

The Primitives – so good we reviewed them twice (Leicester)…well yes, but with the inclusion of local horror punk mash-up Zombina & The Skeletones playing their only gig of 2012 this was always going to be a rather special event.

This Psycho Motel hosted event did not dissapoint, particuarly when you factor in the intimacy of The Lomax, no barriers, a low stage so the front rows are stooped over the stage as Mistress Zombina commands the living dead to rise up and whoop it up.

Opening with the frantic ‘I Go Psycho’ and the faithful are already jiving at the lindy hop; a few technical issues caused Zombina’s voice to be buried beneath the cascading drums, but by the time we were treated to ”ËœZombie Hop’ and ”ËœHow To Make Monster’ these had been laid to rest. A slightly depleted line-up meant the usual keyboards had been sacrificed ”“ all this did was allow the guitar and sax to the fore, and meant Zombina could pinball the full expanse of the stage.

To tag ZATS as horror-punk is both inaccurate and a huge disservice, they traverse style ranging from 50’s rock ”Ëœn’ roll to doo-wop all delivered by a band with punk sensibilities, the wailing sax most notably on the ska tinged rhythm of ”ËœSpring Heeled Jack’ adds a deeper dimension to their sound, recent single ”ËœTeenage Caveman Beat Gargantum’ with its dino bone shaking drums pummelling all comers, which only just prepared us for ”ËœStaci Stasis’ which is early 60’s female fronted pop played by Shonen Knife having been subjected to a diet of trash B-movies

Clearly Zombina enjoyed herself as much as the sweat drenched crowd, despite this being advertised as the bands only gig of the year she conceded to demands and suggested a Halloween special is in the offing – date for the diary gore fiends.

Thankfully the technical difficulties that marred Zombina’s set were resolved for the arrival of The Primitives, who marked the moment by turning the volume all the way up to 11 – this was loud, very loud!

”ËœTill You Say You Will Be Mine’ kicked things off ”“ I had seen The Primitives a couple of time some 26 years ago ”“ along time before ”ËœCrash’, but being this close; I hadn’t realised just how diminutive Tracy Tracy is; though there is nothing small about her vocals as the exuberant ”ËœReally Stupid’ leapt forth, Tracy Tracy shimmying across the stage casually throwing demur poses ”“ the set crisscrossing between the pre ”ËœLovely’ years and the current ”ËœEchoes And Rhymes’ (LTW review) its instantly apparent that despite the intervening decades the older songs retain all their effervescent power, that said they are all older songs ”“ the material for ”ËœEchoes And Rhymes’ all being obscure female fronted 60’s pop, so we get Sandy Posey’s ”ËœSingle Girl’ which bizarrely caused a lone heckler in the crowd, swiftly put down by Tracy before ”ËœSunshine In My Rainy Day Mind’ which is like the musical missing link between the then and now Primitives incarnations…

Back in the late 80’s The Primitives were at the forefront of the ”Ëœbuzz guitar’ scene that was intrinsically linked to the whole C86 shebang and included the equally wonderful Darling Buds, and Tallulah Gosh; does anyone recall the attempts at the ”ËœBlondie’ scene creation, based solely on the fact that said bands had a blond fronting them ”“ what The Primitives also had was an appreciation of a decent melody, and it’s that very quality that makes their own material including ”ËœStop Killing Me’, Through The Flowers’ and worldwide hit ”ËœCrash’ sound as relevant today, and defines quite why we were treated to a cover of Lee Hazelwood’s ”ËœNeed All The Help I Can Get’

The careful selection of material for ”ËœEchoes And Rhymes’ ensures that same quality is retained and the live delivery of the album is flawless and full of youthful energy, Tracy Tracy cooing “this is my favourite” as ”ËœI Surrender’ takes us on two minute journey to Motown meets The Ramones. Clearly this was a band enjoying themselves – Tracy Tracy and Paul were literally beaming, I doubt there are any pressures upon them, I don’t suppose they expect to be worrying the Top 10 again, so they are recoding and playing live because they want to – they play with a carefree attitude, engage with the audience and are clearly enjoying the ‘Buzz Buzz Buzz’ (sorry!)

Hey, let’s not wait another 18 years for some gigs.

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.

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