Wednesday, 15 December 2010

226 BELLY, Bettie Serveert, Puressence, London Harlesden Mean Fiddler, Monday 16 November 1992

Zipped up the M4 in Dave's car listening to FA Cup footy, arriving at the venue at 8.30 to find a sizable crowd already in - obviously we weren't the only ones eagerly anticipating this one, the UK debut of Belly, former Throwing Muses' Tanya Donelly's new band!

Puressence, first support, hit the stage at 8.45 and did 5 numbers of sloppy, doom laden rock, not unlike God Machine. Not really too good either. Meandered our way to the front before main support Bettie Serveert came on at 9.30; despite sounding an identikit recipe for disaster - a Canadian female vocalist fronting a mess of Dutch yobs - they were a lot better. Be-dimpled vocalist Carole lilted over a sometimes hard driving, sometimes thoughtful, but usually quite good set of country-tinged US alt-rock, circa REM's "Reckoning" phase. Their set climaxed with energetic guitarist Peter jumping over me off the stage, and going walkies in the crowd!

Stayed exactly where I was in order to get a good vantage point for Belly. Tanya, currently my favourite rock-type female following The Parachute Men's unfortunate demise, opened with a solo number, but was quickly joined onstage by her new charges, who included former Throwing Muse bassist Leslie Langston in their number. They bounced, flounced, giggled and gurgled their way through a wonderfully shiny happy set of insistent, dreamy, heart- and mind-hugging tunes. No-one writes pop songs as off-kilter yet melodically mainstream sounding as Tanya, and with Belly she's excelling herself. 2 encores reflected the extent of their popularity - a wonderful solo "Sweet Ride" (Tanya hitting the high notes with aplomb) followed by a joyous romp through Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual"!

Great stuff - and quite apart from her talent, she's also the most gorgeous woman in rock, too! A perfect evening!

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