Vienna: In the concrete, Popsongs, devoid of cute touches - Fri 28th Sep

Vienna: In the concrete, Popsongs, devoid of cute touches
28 September 2001

Vienna: Im Beton, Popsongs bar jeder Putzigkeit
Presse Archiv, 28th September 2001

by sam, translated by Beate Ludwig

Roxy Music, British cult band of the seventies, inaugurated the new gasometer-hall with a triumphant concert.

A hall like the fossilised gall bladder of a brontosaurus. Ressembling meticulously chewed grasses, the spectators stacked in the affectionately concrete container. And then the building received the task to prove sense: “ROXY MUSIC” was emblazoned on the curtain, underneath a two-headed eagle darting its tongue in and out. An imperial claim to power on the part of the musicians originating from the working-class environment around the English Newcastle ? An unconcealed threat with theft of souls ?

A somewhat unkempt janitor drew the curtain aside and let the music eventually stream into the hall: staccato piano- and synthesizer sequences, firing rock drums, brashly wailing saxophone, amicable chugging guitars. The thunder of opposing needs. A sudden chortling voice beginning to quiver – and everything got a direction: “Re-make/ Re-model” – indulging in the desire: “ I could talk talk talk myself to death, but I believe I would only waste my breath.”. Yes, love as a projection that in hopeless situations demands and shouts for words. As in “Ladytron”: “I´ll use you and confuse you and then I´ll lose you but still you won´t suspect me.”

Reinforced by talents like pianist Colin Good, guitarist Chris Spedding and violinist Lucy Wilkins, the original 4 members of 6 met after almost 20 years to celebrate their work live again. And in contrast to the majority of popsongs which are often closely attached to their respective epoch the songs of Roxy Music are even after 30 years devoid of cute touches. The unbroken impulse, the confidence in departure, the definite keeping of difficult to interpret affairs: Those qualities make songs like “Both Ends Burning”, “Editions Of You” or “Mother of Pearl” to timeless classics.

In their brilliant live-performance in the gasometer sarcophagus the gentlemen filled with enthusiasm; the drummer Paul Thompson, guitarist Phil Manzanera, above all saxophonist Andy Mackay and crooner Bryan Ferry. With elaborately tousled hair he showed the way out of a dream tortured darkness to the Lido of desire, with all its colourful shimmering pinchbeck promises. “I blew up your body, but you blew my mind” from “In Every Dream Home A Heartache”. You must not rely on anything.
Where others would start experimenting with rough manners, Ferry sublimes his suffer in subtle melodies and pastel poetry, until the dream takes the place of the reality. The most elegantly in “Out Of The Blue” and “Song For Europe”, the most impressingly in “Love Is The Drug”, “Virginia Plain” and “Do The Strand”. A triumph of timeless escapism.

Previous Article | Next Article