Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction - The Borderline
Do you remember? It was the hell that was the late 80's and, there you were, innocently watching Top Of The Pops and suddenly, right there, just at the end, a door to a strange dimension opened as Auntie Beeb innocently played the opening thirty seconds or so to the video for Zodiac Mindwarps’ Prime Mover. Suddenly, amongst the Rik Astleys and Kylies, there loomed a spaceship that crashed to earth, through the wall of a catholic girl school and horrible, hairy men with swastikas and tattoos lurched out, transforming the schoolgirls into sex vixens via lightning bolts fired from Cobolt Stargazer’s trash axe. It was a seminal moment and no mistake.
Fifteen years later, and, it has to be said, the band work much better now than they did then. Ahead of their time, maybe, but you'd never have thought that when they first reared their ugly, greasy heads. Let's get it straight, there's more humour, intelligence and fun in one X-rated Mindwarp riff or lyric than there is in the entire output of Post-Modern metal poseurs such as The Darkness. Zodiac Mindwarp take the sleaze and violence of rock, turn the volume up to eleven, filter it through a comic book lens and vomit it back at you. Take Fucked By Rock for example, and it's charming rhyming couplet of "Gonna find me a schoolgirl/Gonna fuck her up the ass/Gonna fuck her in the face/Gonna fuck her in the pussy, man/Gonna make her come like a waterfall". It just shouldn't work, but it does and if you don't laugh like a drain at that, then you're too old for rock, man.
The band opened tonight with High Priest of Love and it's 1989 again. Mindwarp himself, a priceless buffoon, lurches around the stage like a tramp on crack and the crowd love it. He feeds off the adoration and quite clearly loves every moment. Dressed in a simple Che Guevara 'Art Critic' T-Shirt and baggy jeans, he looks like the archetypal rocker plucked from the fag end of a Status Quo gig; all mouth and no trousers. Watching him strike his rock star poses is like watching a baby take it's first steps - you're just willing him to succeed and make it all come together which he does with aplomb to spare.
The music is as primal and aggressive as you'd expect from a band with a bass player called Jack Shit. The Love Reaction has never been tighter than they are now. Much of the fun comes from watching Mindwarp and guitarist Cobolt Stargazer trade lyrics with each other. Rock's seminal chords are churned out again and again, and if it wasn't horribly derivative then the point would have been missed. Zodiac Mindwarp are about celebrating the stupidity and genius of rock and it's a line they can cross several times in one song. Planet Girl manages to get the entire front row shaking it's heads. The set list consists of few surprises, Rock Savage, Back Street Education and, of course, the seminal Prime Mover are all present and correct and, in all honesty, have never sounded fresher. Prime Mover should rocket up the charts if re-released into a world that contained justice. "I'm Christ in shades/I'm a napalm god/Your lipstick flickers/Round my Lightning rod" is quite possibly the best pure metal lyric ever written and tonight it's delivered with all the style and grace a lyric like that deserves.
Only one encore, I'm A Rocker which featured Zodiac abusing a Snow White mask and also a lovely extended solo slot which featured Cobolt breaking free from the confines of the stage and heading up The Borderline's narrow staircase. Fantastic fun. Not everyone was so happy, though. There's always one isn't there? As the audience filed out, up the stairs and into the world beyond, a lone voice was heard to lament "Fourteen quid! And he didn't even get his cock out!".
Support came from a rather good band called Project X which achieved the impossible by managing to get pretty much everyone in the place dancing. They did this by being simply brilliant and throwing themselves into the performance. Hard rock thrashing with melody, nothing new, but done extremely well. One to look out for, they've not been around all that long, but expect to hear from them again very soon.