Sunday, June 26, 2005

Selfish Cunt Scene Report

Will M from SoundsXP writes about the guy who's his own gig idiot:

An hour or so later, and controversialist and self-declared Selfish Cunt, Martin Tomlinson finally takes to the stage, shaven-headed, manic-eyed, with a ragged T-shirt slung over an emaciated torso. Visually, he’s actually worryingly reminiscent of Pete Doherty, if he not only failed to kick crack but also mislaid his considerable talent. Because if Tomlinson does have a talent, it’s for inciting public disorder, as he bounds and snarls his way through the audience, howling lyrics in our faces, hell-bent on chaos.

It’s all like a studied mockery of The Others’ much-publicised crowd-interaction - this isn’t getting up onstage with the band in a good-humoured stage invasion, this is a screaming, six-foot-plus maniac in your face. Suddenly, one longs for a return to the separation of fan and performer.

And as for the utterly secondary matter of the music? Well it’s really pretty disappointing, especially considering that on record, songs like the chilling “I Love New York” accurately conjure up the kind of sneering, brave-new-world paranoia that the Cunsters spend the majority of tonight's set limply scrabbling around for. Anyway, for some reason they don’t play it tonight. Neither do they play infamous debut single “Britain Is Shit”.

Actually, fuck knows what they do play. The band feedback themselves into screeching oblivion for what seems like hours, occasionally stretching to a disconnected, flailing garage riff before regressing again. Meanwhile, against this effectively irrelevant evil-muzak background, Martin prowls through the crowd spitting vitriolic, looping slogans.

What they’re actually trying to achieve is unclear - his words are far too fractured and childish to have any real effect on anyone. And musically, it’s nothing new - The Velvet Underground were making similar experiments in tone and volume before Tomlinson was a psychotic glare in his father’s eye.

Anyway, I suspect he leaves satisfied, target reached, as after an hour of sound-torture and audience abuse, everyone is pissed-off, intimidated or simply bemused. Even I’m slightly needled at Martin’s parting shot - a sneering jibe about “indie haircuts” apparently directed at me. We’re open-minded folk, here in Tunbridge Wells, but even we have limits.

So, Selfish Cunt - an arty, challenging, thrilling live band, go and see them while you have the chance. Just don’t bother taking your ears.


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