There was a sign on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood that read ‘Front man walked these streets dressed as women’. Faster Pussycat were conceived on those streets, streets of big heels and even bigger hair. Where the men wore more make up than the women. Where the sound of rock n’ roll excess was more of a lifestyle of sex and drugs. Tonight’s the American rockers arrive in Adelaide for the first time in their career and have decamped at Enigma Bar.
Welcoming Taime Downe is Adelaide rock n rollers The Babes. They start with the sound of cult classic film Pulp Fiction over the PA before blasting into their classic, dirty, raw, going in barebacked rock sound. Ride It and It Ain’t Easy display the bands true colours. This is music to drive fast too, to get in fights in a bar playing poker to. New number Dive Bars And Muscle Cars is given its first airing and the title says it’s all. Got No Soul rounds the set out, interspersed with War Pigs, and The Babes finish their no frills, in your face, head down no nonsense boogie set with the venue feeling energised.
Sydney band The Art have been given the spot touring the country with Faster Pussycat and start in the cramped venue with Thinking About The Universe. The name of the band is exactly that, Art. They groove but in a way that stretches normal convention of standard blues rock. Front man Azaria Byrne is every inch a classic glam rocker transplanted into the 21st Century. However it’s only when the do go standard balls out rock n roll that they let loose and kick arse.
Taime Downe of Faster Pussycat has seen it all. He was there at the height of sleaze rock with hit albums like Wake Me Up When It’s Over and he still there now. Dressed head to toe in black, with jacket emblazoned with the word Asshole, the front man hasn’t lost any of his chops in the intervening years.
Where’s There’s A Whip There’s A Way starts the evenings proceedings and the now cramped venue is full of die hards finally getting the opportunity to see the band. Danny Nordahl stands imperious on the bass while Ace Van Johnson has more licks than the cat that got the cream.
The band look every inch the glam rockers. Eyeliner, teased hair, leather, cowboys hats; the crowd soak it all up, singing every word to tracks like Number 1 With A Bullet. A faithful sleazed up version of Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain is followed by The Art’s Azaria Byrne joining them for the epic ballad House Of Pain which takes many a person back 30 years in the venue.
The guys finish with Babylon and Shooting You Down and those that made the effort to check out LA’s sleaziest are over-joyed that for a little over an hour they were transplanted to the late eighties.
Time has moved on since ‘89 yet so has the professionalism of these bands. Faster Pussycat still look and feel every inch of West Hollywood’s most glorious period. They sound fuller, better, tighter now. Another of those Sunset Strip signs reads ‘On stage at every show you should you should have been at’. That pretty much sums up tonight.
Live Review By Iain McCallum