Assorted scribblings of a dog-eared music journalist

Soho News | Live | 9 November 1988


From the opening ripple of "Little Eva" to the parting shot that is "Psycho Killer", this is – note for note, word for word – exactly the same set the Tom Tom Club played at a different Soho venue three weeks ago. Even down to the pre-song banter of drummer Chris Frantz. 

With his microphone headset, Frantz looks like a cross between Captain Scarlet and the Pilsbury Dough Boy. Tina Weymouth, by any comparison, is simply stunning. She's funny too, hopping on one leg, tumbling into a can-can and, at one point, wrapping her head in a pristine white towel. 

Together, Weynouth and Frantz plough broad, deep troughs of rhythm. But despite their importance as the central, public figures of the band, it's the fruits of their furrows, the overspill, the contributions of the keyboard player and the guitarist, that are the most opulent. Both are architects of odd and erratic noises, engineers of a sonic skullduggery. The former's fingers slither from the upper part of his instrument to the lower end over and over again and the guitarist's solos are indicative of the Tom Tom Club's current inclination towards a more defined rock groove. 

Songs? Sure. There's an indolent "Genius Of Love" and a particularly fast, florid and frivolous version of "Wordy Rappinghood", Weymouth tripping up in keeping up. The pace is also quick to the degree of indiscretion throughout the percussion frantic "Don't Say No" and towards the final stirrings of "Shock The World", while "Sub Oceana" is a laudable nosedive into nonsense. There are others too from "Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom", the group's newly released LP. 

To reiterate, "Psycho Killer" is included, a thundering version which is introduced as "One we wrote with a good friend of ours when we were still in art school". Cute, eh? Earlier, they'd nervously glanced behind and edged sideways through Dylan's "She Belongs To Me", as well as smearing the sheen with the soiled splendour which is always, even under the most inappropriate conditions, the Velvets' "Femme Fatale".  

The Tom Tom Club have metamorphosed from a flippant sideline to the Talking Heads for Weymouth and Frantz, to a fully fledged and thoroughly cohesive band. They'll soon be commissioning proper merchandising.

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