ZTT COME OUT TO PLAY
Chris Heath sees five bands, a sausage, throwing comedian, ice-creams in the interval and a lot of very weird goings-on in a posh London theatre.
ZTT, the record label behind Frankie Goes To Hollywood, certainly like to do things their own peculiar way. It’s pretty obvious as we file in to see “The Value Of Entertainment”, ZTT’s live presentation of all their other artists that this isn’t going to be like a normal concert.
To begin with, the venue’s not a sweaty cinema but rather the plush surroundings of the Ambassador’s Theatre in London’s West End. Surprisingly although it’s quite small, only just over half the seats are filled—
Once I’ve bought my ‘guide’—
Before Andrew Poppy, ZTT’s other new signing, takes his turn the comedian who’s been hired to keep us amused during the change-overs comes on. He’s terrible—
Not many people seem very impressed by Andrew Poppy and his eight-piece band either. They’re a strange cross between a classical orchestra and a pop group, and they play just one long piece called “Post Past The —” which sounded more like the theme from Star Trek than any1hing else.
Next on are The Art Of Noise. Most people expected that we’d be watching a performance featuring keyboard player Anne Dudley, engineer Gary Langan and Fairlight operator J.J. Jeczalik—
The point of the Art Of Noise is, he says, just the music. All the rest—
Very strange. During the interval that follows, people scratch their heads, trying to work out what’s been going on, and buy ice-creams from the ice-cream girl.
After the break it’s Anne Pigalle’s turn. The French singer strolls on nonchalantly to join her band—
Last, and best, are Propaganda. They’re joined by Steve Jansen (ex-Japan), who drums unobtrusively at the back, and Derek Forbes (ex-Simple Minds), who makes a bit of a prat of himself bouncing around the front of the stage while everyone else is trying to look very cool but for some reason there’s no sign of Propaganda’s Ralf Dorper. Maybe he missed the plane from Germany. After a few songs from their forthcoming LP they close with the two brilliant singles, “Dr Mabuse” and “Duel”. But by then it seemed that everyone had had enough there’s quite a lot of clapping but only Paul Morley (who’s married to Propaganda’s Claudia) shouts for more.
As the exhausted crowd stumble out comparing notes (“Rubbish! So pretentious!” “Really? I thought it was good”) Paul stays sitting on the edge of the stage looking very fed up. I don’t know why. The evening’s best bits were brilliant and even the worst bits were interesting to watch. Not a complete success—
Photos: Andrew Catlin