GIG: Scared To Be Happy
DATE: Saturday 22nd June 2013
VENUE: 289, the Venue, Great Portland Street, London
COST: £20 advance / £25 on the door
OUR VERDICT: Happy, not scared

Billed as “Scared To Get Happy”, this was the launch party, hosted by Cherry Red Records, for the eponymous 5 CD box set of 80’s Indie bands. There was going to be 10 bands featured in the collection playing in two rooms at the Venue in London.

We made our way through to the smaller room, only to find it jam packed already! Oh well, that was five bands we were never going to see tonight. Back in the main hall we caught two bands Mighty Mighty and The Brilliant Corners. None of them particularly stood out. Part of the blame for this lies with the sound engineer though as the vocals were really muddy and inaudible. Both bands seemed to have reformed especially for this gig.

Duglas T. Stewart
The main attraction for us of course was The BMX Bandits. Although never really having had a hit, they are one of the better known bands on the box set. Featuring a Pearlfisher and a Teenage Fanclub member, The BMX Bandits line up changes each time we see them. The one constant of course, is the charismatic Duglas T. Stewart. For the first time tonight we had someone on stage who knew how to connect with an audience.

Duglas is the Doctor Who that never was. Dressed in a purple striped suit and an orange checked shirt with a fox shaped purse hanging round his neck, he won the audience over just by being there. He told a story about the young keyboard player’s parents meeting at a BMX Bandits gig before he was even born.

Duglas and Mr Apple
Not just a great raconteur, Duglas can perform melancholy songs like “Sad?” and “Serious Drugs” with a real tenderness. “Serious Drugs” is also the title of a wonderful film documentary about the BMX Bandits that has just been released. Highly recommended it is too.

Contained to a 45 minute set, it must have been extremely hard to pick which songs to include. The back catalogue is immense and could fill a whole night.The choice was great though ranging from early songs right through to a couple of tracks from the latest Bandits' offering "BMX Bandits In Space" and left us wanting more.

A BMX Bandits gig is always filled with a warmth and humour that is uniquely “Duglas”. This was no exception. It was well worth coming along for this part of the show alone.
The BMX Bandits

A really pleasant surprise for us was the headlining act, The Primitives. We had enjoyed their latest album, 'Echoes and Rhymes' on a recommendation. This was an album of covers though, so we didn’t know what to expect. There was obviously a fair contingent of Primitives fans here going by the reception they got.

The Primitives' Tracy Tracy
Tracy Tracy looked every bit the star. Dressed in a white bride-like dress and seamed stockings she looked gorgeous. The Beeb had fallen for her before she sang a note! And when they did play…well we may not have known any of their songs, but they were certainly etched on the brain before each one was finished. It’s hard to remember a band with so many catchy hooks in all of their songs.

The one song Minty knew was “Crash”, and she thought that was a cover! This was a terrific set from a great band. There’s a lot of Primitives music for us to catch up with. But we’re looking forward to doing so.

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