Assorted scribblings of a dog-eared music journalist

Melody Maker | Live | 6 June 1987 | Photos: Andy Catlin

The Mean Fiddler, London

Just over a year ago, Head were a gnarled, snarled-up, scrag-end of a band, lame-duck rockers with an inclination towards mania that was nothing short of idiocy. They were a desperate, sorry sight – and they provoked an unmitigated slagging from me.

It’s hard to believe that tonight’s performance is by the same group, that some of these are most likely the same songs. This Head has swollen beyond recognition. They still border on insanity – the charging around the stage, fighting for space at the centre and fighting for microphones, the glassy-eyed stares – but it is tempered by a sense of balance attained through humour and style, manifest best in an ornate Mexican bandit’s Sunday siesta suit and a rare Rear Admiral’s jacket.

As it goes, they’ve got a fascination for the briny, no doubt a legacy of those halcyon days in the Second Bristol Sea Scouts, with more than passing mentions being made of drunken sailors, burning decks and cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh. Shanties like the hilarious “Get Fishy” reek of it all, while the tempting “Let’s Snog” is a wicked slog, the chanted chorus climaxing into squeals of delight. Similarly the opening shot, “I Am The King”, is a cocky shocker, steeped in funk-lump bass jumps, metallic riffs, and naughty wiggle vocal boasts: “I’ve got a love bite on my rump”.

Head have hammered themselves into perfectly chaotic curves, a big dipper of hair-raising twists. They’re taking their revenge with merry relish. All that is left is to replace complete condemnation with an unreserved recommendation that you seek out this band as soon as possible.

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