The Scars, one of the great lost bands of post punk – by Gordon Legge
The Scars are another of the great lost bands of post punk. Their initial jagged guitars on their classic debut single ‘Horrorshow’ made them one of the most interesting bands of the period. They went more pop on their debut album and disappeared too soon. Last week they reformed and Gordon Legge was there for it. Photos by Fishbones Glover
The Scars – Edinburgh’s Picture House & Citrus Club 29th Dec 2010
Part Kinski’s Nosferatu, part Diva’s Le Cure, Scars frontman Rab King unzips his jumper/jacket to reveal, scrawled upon his matchstick chest, the words “Marc Bolan”. Rab pays his respects, in English this time. Up until now he’s only been speaking French.
Others are acknowledged. There’s a cover of Cockney Rebel’s “The Psychomodo”. At the aftershow, accompanied by the legend that is Jo Callis and event catalysts Shock and Awe, the band storm through the greatest hits of first Johnny Thunders (that’ll be “Born To Lose”, “Chinese Rocks” and “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory”) and then David Essex (that’ll be “Silver Dream Machine”). Back in the day, Mick Ronson’s “Billy Porter” was a staple of a youthful Scars’ set.
On stage, the foil to the finger-painted King is guitarist Paul Research. King, the book-ish non-singing singer. Research, the sfylish smart and casual who makes the guitar look fun. There’s a bit of a Morrissey-Marr thing going on. On a couple of tunes, they even sound like them, The Smiths. And maybe Suede. This would’ve been a good few years earlier, too. The Scars – or “Scars” as they were on record – never recorded much, and never lasted that long. In their own words, they gave way to hubris, decadence and implosion.
The night starts with one side of the classic Fast Product debut, the mighty “Horrorshow”, all scratchy edge and ominous rumblings, and finishes in the wee small hours at the Citrus – aka the Clitoris, Sexetera fans – with a blistering rendition of its even better flip “Adult/ery”, with the wonderful Mozzer-like opening line “Could you imagine a romantic liaison somewhere in the south of France… ” In between times, much of the band’s lauded long player Author! Author! (number 8 in Sounds 1981 year end poll of critics) is given a solid airing, but, sadly, alas, not turntable hit, the gorgeous “All About You”, a song so lovely it could easily grace the Timbaland-treated tonsils of any one of our modern day pop princesses. As to its omission; well, somebody said it would’ve been too difficult. Who knows. Maybe it’s not liked. Maybe it’s being saved. Maybe it’s just a whole different thing.