review archive

The Fucks / The Violets / The Vichy Government - 7th October 2004 Goldsmiths College

The Vichy Government consist of puckish, Dickonesque (if your concept of ‘Dickonesque’ is based around foppishness and peroxide) ‘singer’ Jamie and keyboard bleeper Andrew, whose thoughts are conveyed to us via Jamie. The pair are alarming and endearing in equal measure. Jamie, resplendent in a baby blue placcy mac smoothed over his shirt and tie, curls out polemical tales that toy with the unbearable shiteness of being, politically, historically and hilariously. The beauty of Jamie’s singing technique is that it’s basically him talking, so you hear what he’s saying, none of that slurry rockstar crap here, sonny. What’s more you actually want to hear what he’s saying, it’s sheer bluddy poetry, mate. So we get the likes of ‘Oliver Cromwell in Weimar Berlin’, “Watching the cabaret begin/ Could the ordeal be heaven sent? / What will he say to parliament?” Dickonesque?
Against Jamie’s sing-song intonation, Andrew pokes at the keyboard, encouraging it to emit squidgey noises that sound like early Depeche Mode plinky plonky breaks taken out of context. The skinny bleeps sound stark and slightly embarrassed shivering in their underpants beside drum machine beats. The audience of students blinks up at the band and Jamie advises them that they might as well hang themselves now, before they find themselves working in Burger King. “I told them I was warts and all, they thought I was talking genital.”
slinky punk girl The Violets – I suddenly remember my friend Mary’s pink striped jumper dress, 1981 vintage, that she got from the trendy kids shop ‘Young Generation’. This flashback comes courtesy of Alexis who’s giving it her tough girl slinky-punk best strutting the stage in heels, slithering left and right. I’m thinking Deborah Harry, not just the obvious blondeness, but in the way Alexis fronts up and shimmies. I remember being thrilled by Kim Wilde doing ‘Kids In America’ (more of which later...) listening to it on the radio and trying to scribble down the lyrics as she sang. Damn she was cool, and I couldn’t write fast enough. Whilst all this is scrolling across my memory, the soundtrack is The Violets cranky, angular guitar ‘n’ drums elbows-in-the-ribs beat. The guitar (as played by Joe in his Mickey Pearce finest) cuddles up to the battering drums as Alexis yelps ‘n’ shouts, wiggles ‘n’ stamps groovily. Best song is the slower, more considered ‘Come In’. I grin approvingly at David Luxemboy next to me, thinking he must be marvelling at this song’s splendour too. He smiles vaguely.
The Fucks are here to ‘launch’ their fab new e.p. and are well up for it. George and Jemma, strapped into their guitars like they’re children’s safety seats in the back of a car, know it’s their party and they can act the giddy goat if they want to. They play thumpy, squiggly, charity-shop rock laden with squawky vocals and tinny beats.

‘I Don’t Like It’ comes across like a bratty Schwervon! with George on guitar, Jemma on gut-throttling bass and the keyboard on silly Bontempi beats. ‘I Love NY’ is dedicated to anyone with one of those tee-shirts and features ‘huh? Oh yeah’ chord changes and icky, squiffy vocals. ‘Slash Attack’ is apparently ‘Based on a real-life slashing incident’ and features Jemma on scribbly guitar complete with scratchy, snippy solo and ‘80s new waver lady vocals.

icky squiffy vocals
For the next song, Jemma repairs to the keyboard, smooshing down the keys and making it sound like she has eighteen fingers. The crowd skips and jumps and punches the air, possibly because they’re students, maybe because they’re friends of The Fucks, or perhaps that’s what always happens in South London. Whatever, this is exactly as it should be, this is giggly, wiggly music that demands a jubilantly pissed knees up as a backdrop.
giggly wiggly music The Fucks climax with a scabby, apocalyptic version of ‘Kids In America’, draining it of any ‘relevance’ by yelling, ‘We’re the kids, we’re the kids, we’re the kids in America’ in a thoroughly un-American way. It’s ace. They then close proceedings with a synchronised arm-waving dance that carries them off stage left, only the kids are having none of it demanding further thrills by chanting, ‘Fucks! Fucks! Fucks!’ So for an encore we get a demented race through ‘Deceptacon’. Exactly a week later, I’m gleefully jumping about in a big crowd of girls as Le Tigre play this song and I’m hard pushed to decide which version’s more exciting. Altogether now, ‘Who put the plink in the rinky dink dink dink?’
[top of page]