Assorted scribblings of a dog-eared music journalist

Melody Maker | Live | 11 May 1991

BARF ROCO
Tufnel Park Dome, London


Due to a cock-up on the advertising front, all but two of tonight's punters are seated on a dozen or so chairs placed in a semi-circle a few feet from the stage. Not that Barf Roco care, the singer casually picking his nose as he walks onto the stage, one of his associates dressed in an Edwardian bathing costume and another looking like a Leeds United football fan circa 1974. As soon as they appear, the chap sitting on my right screams, "Cunts! Cunts!" with startling vehemence. I think he must have been the promoter.

Barf Roco play rockabilly and hip hop tunes, songs mixing Bootsy basslines and Hendrix licks, and "Curtains", a ballad that suddenly turns into a frantic heavy metal number. The chorus has the line "I hate the colour" chanted as though it's some sort of Satanic curse. Then there are the songs that are halted in mid-flow, one to tell a miserable goth to stop enjoying herself and the other because the bar is about to close and it's the singer's round. Only the drummer, who's on loan from a jazz group, keeps going.

For a much deserved encore, Barf Roco take a vote of everybody in the room, lose 14 to 5, and have to play "Curtains" again, this time at double speed, the vocals sounding like a chicken on helium. I haven't laughed so much in ages. As the climax approaches, the guy to my left suddenly stands on his chair and executes a spectacular dive through the air. That there's nobody to catch him is both a great shame and, I suspect, a little dangerous. You really should have been there.

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