WOW WOW WOW!!

bww-www975

Dateline: Midsummer’s Day 2013 (June 21st)
Location: The Concert Pub North, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
Subject: Bow Wow Wow commence US Summer Tour
Players: Leigh Gorman (bass), Matt Fuller (gits), Tig Moore (stix) & Chloe Demetria (vox)

bww-sign2

It’s no big secret how much Adam & The Ants influenced me and made me into the person I am today.  What tends to get overlooked is the part that Bow Wow Wow played in my life.  I bought and played to death, every 7″, b-side, EP, flexi disc, import and picture disc.  In fact, every “LP, cassette, picture cover or plain“, to quote BWW’s “C30, C60, C90 Go!“.  And yet, I had never seen them live.  Although I did record a TV broadcast of a gig at Sefton Park, Liverpool in 1982 on my ghetto blaster!

News of the band appearing on my doorstep was too tempting an offer to turn down. Work shifts were swapped, tickets were ordered and Bow Wow Wow CDs moved to the car.

bww-venue
The Concert Pub North was a little out of the way, but the 45 minute drive didn’t seem so long with the music to accompany us.  We arrived just before 8pm, and the doors were still not open.  The band’s Facebook page suggested a 7pm time, which was wayyyy too early!

This gig was a double-billing with Gene Loves Jezebel sharing the stage ahead of Bow Wow Wow.  I have to admit to knowing very little of GLJ, and listening to “Desire” beforehand didn’t open any distant musical memory banks.  Apparently, there are two Gene Loves Jezebels.  One US based, and one UK based.  The band’s Welsh singer, Michael Aston,  fronts the US version and opened up the proceedings tonight.  The band were tight, the sound was really good, and the songs were rather enjoyable too, even though I was hearing them for the first time.  Michael’s stage presence was phenomenal.  He really knew how to charm the row of female GLJ fans at the front of the stage.  He’d hand over his mic to them so they could sing along, and even inviting them onstage towards the end of their set. This was most impressive to see.

bww-glj

There was something vaguely familiar about Gene Loves Gezebel‘s bass player.  He looked remarkably like BWW‘s Leigh Gorman!  It took a few more studious glances to convince me that it really was him.  In fact, when Bow Wow Wow eventually came on stage, it was  the same guitarist and drummer too! Tig Moore had added some extra tom-toms to his kit in between bands, and Matt Fuller had switched his guitar for the late Matthew Ashman‘s trademark white hollow-body Gretsch.

THE SET LIST

01 – Orang-Outang
As found on “See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!” [RCA -1981]

bww-oo150 bww-sj150
What an opener!  The opening guitar riff immediately raised the hairs on the back of my head as the sound was so close to Matthew’s original.  This instrumental is one of my favourites, up there with “El Boss Dicho” and “Bow Wow Wow“!  Being a huge fan of original drummer Dave Barbe, I was curious to how Tig would perform in comparison.  I sadly claim to know almost ever drum hit of every BWW tune, and this guy nailed it with “Orang-Outang“!  My air drumming marathon had only just begun!

02 – Baby, Oh No
As found on “I Want Candy” [RCA – 1982]

bww-bon150 bww-iwcLP150
The first song that needed a vocalist, and seeing as Annabella Lwin had quit very recently, please welcome BWW’s very young replacement, Chloe Demetria.  Not as young as 14 year old Annabella when she joined the band, but just as good looking (if not hotter).  Chloe has form.  She told me after the gig that she had performed with Cee Lo Green and was more used to singing r’n’b, but could not turn down the offer to join Bow Wow Wow! “Baby, Oh No” was released as a single here in the US, but not the UK.  Nevertheless, this would prove a test for Chloe as there’s a rather high “oh no!” in the song.  She passed with flying colours.  Her timing with Leigh’s chants was impeccable.  (As was my air drumming!)

03 – Aphrodisiac
As found on “When The Going Get’s Tough, The Tough Get Going” [RCA – 1983]

bww-wtggt150
By now, what is clear, is how tight their performances were, and those neck hairs stood up to attention as Matt’s guitar played the intro.  Chloe mastered this one too, though she did confess to messing up one line to me later on.  I spotted it too, but it didn’t matter, the energy and pace of the quartet made me wonder why this was never a single.  Even though a 12″ version exists, it only ever ended up on the b-side of “The Man Mountain” release in the UK and The Netherlands.  I’m sure Leigh was eyeballing me as I was shouting along to his “Aphrodisiac” chants.

04 – Louis Quatorze
As found on “Your Cassette Pet” [EMI – 1980]

bww-set150 bww-lq150 bww-ycp150  bww-or150
Also re-recorded on RCA as a single, which was featured on the RCA “I Want Candy“, and EMI “Original Recordings” albums, both from 1982.  A tough one even for Annabella to sing live (judging by the clips I have heard), but Chloe kept this on track.  The band have obviously been rehearsing this over and over to play this so fast and well. And yes, Chloe claimed she was also “just 14” in this.  That naughty Louis, with his…er…gun in her back!

05 – Jungle Boy
As found on “See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!” [RCA -1981]

bww-jb150 bww-sj150
This also received a remix for its 1982 single release as “See Jungle! (Jungle Boy)“, the drumming was perfect on this one.  I know this because every air drum I hit resulted in a sound on the real kit! One of BWW’s slower tempo tracks, but performed just as excellent as its predecessors.

06 – Golly! Golly! Go Buddy!
As found on “See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!” [RCA -1981]

bww-gggb150 bww-sj150
I think Chloe repeated one or two “tig-tig-tig-tig-tigger” and “custard pie” lines a few more times than is in the original, but I really don’t think anyone else in the crowd would have noticed.  Very strong rhythms ripped through the speakers on this one.  Also the flip to RCA single ” Chihuahua“.

07 – Do You Wanna Hold Me?
As found on “When The Going Get’s Tough, The Tough Get Going” [RCA – 1983]

bww-dywhm150 bww-wtggt150
This track entered a new phase for Bow Wow Wow.  Not only did it mark of a more ‘poppier’ approach, but it also saw Annabella take a hand at writing lyrics too.  Chloe was spot on with the harmonies again, helping to make this performance a little more raw and energetic than the original.

08 – Sexy Eiffel Towers
As found on “Your Cassette Pet” [EMI – 1980]

bww-set150 bww-ycp150 bww-or150
One of my favourite early Bow Wow Wow tracks, which also appeared on the 1982 EMI compilation LP “Original Recordings“.  It has to be said, the orgasmic noises that 14 year-old Annabella makes on this track, used to have a profound effect on me back when I was 16, and when the band started to play this, I couldn’t help wonder what I would think if Chloe did the same, 31 years on!  Well, she groaned and moaned as if she was being pleasured as she fell from top of the Eiffel Tower.  Let’s just say the girl has sex appeal!  Let’s also say my wife was right by the side of me.  (Though what she made of my orgasmic cries remains to be seen!)  On a side note, I recommend you hunt down Malcolm McLaren‘s version of this song (called simply “Eiffel Tower“), from his hard-to-find album, “Swamp Thing“[Charisma, 1985]

09 – Uomo Sex Al Apache
As found on “Your Cassette Pet” [EMI – 1980]

bww-ycp150 bww-or150
Not only was I continuing with my, by now, exemplary air drumming, I also joined Leigh Gorman on backing vocals for this brilliant track from the EMI days.  Although I should point out, only in my mind was on the stage joining in.  I felt like popping up to Leigh after the song to remind him that he should have chanted “bow wow wow, wow wow wow, wow wow wow, wa-weee!” instead of the “wow” he sang for the last syllable.  Joking aside, this was another blinding and strong performance from all four.  Chloe may not be Annabella, and I really don’t think she was trying to be, but man that girl can sing!

10 – Go Wild In The Country
As found on “See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!” [RCA -1981]

bww-gwitc150 bww-sj150
I should point out that the band didn’t just knock out the tunes, one after another.  There was some banter from Leigh and also from Chloe.  Leigh tried his best to get the crowd up and dancing, but when a venue lays out over 30 tables near a very small dancefloor, most over-40s probably prefer a sit down.  Take the damn tables away I say! Anyway, when he asked if we wanted to “go wild“, I let out a scream, only then remembering I am in my 40s too.  “Slap That Bass Leroy!” seemed to get a grin back from him, even if he didn’t see who yelled it.  My eyes were fixed on the drummer, as I needed a Dave Barbe-esque performance for this number.  And Tig delivered!  Once I was content that he had nailed it, I was focused on Chloe to kick this into touch.  “Coz truth loves to go naked!” she sang.  She didn’t have to go naked, as she worked this one very well indeed!

11 – C30. C60, C90 Go!
As found on “Original Recordings” [EMI – 1982]

bww-c30-150 bww-or150
First released as a single in 1980, this was always going to be the litmus test for Chloe as the lyrics are fast, furious and quite a mouthful (for me anyway!).  By now I had complete confidence in the band delivering, and when those Burundi rhythms began, my wife (also a huge Ants fan) quickly looked at me as she recognised the same drum pattern used in “Kings Of The Wild Frontier“.  The speedier pace of “C30…” was evident, as was the tightness of the band.  Chloe‘s lyrical performance was first class with hardly a missed word.  I should also add my air drumming was damn perfect too.  What a five piece we had become!

12 – I Want Candy
As found on “I Want Candy” [RCA – 1982]

bww-iwcposter150 bww-iwcLP150 bww-or150
It was clear after the gig, that a few of the Americans thought this song was a Bow Wow Wow original, when it fact can be traced back to 1965 when it was written and first recorded by The Strangeloves.  Once again, Leigh teased the audience with ‘candy‘ talk.  And being the biggest BWW hit over here, it gained quite a cheer from the Houston crowd.  Furthermore, Tig had Dave Barbarossa‘s unique drum style to live up to, and yet again, he belted out the beats to perfection. Matt‘s Gretsch was yet again, cloning the sound of Matthew Ashman, who sadly died of diabetes complications in 1995.  (Yet he played on a song called “I Want Candy“!)  It was apparent, Houston wanted “candy all the time“, judging from they’re (our) reaction.  Class!

13 – Giant Sized Baby Thing
As found on “Your Cassette Pet” [EMI – 1980]

bww-ycp150 bww-or150
I really believed the gig was over after “…Candy“.  But upon hearing Leigh hint at this being the next song, I went mental.  This song IS mental.  A crazy lyrical journey featuring some of the best bass, drums and guitar from the EMI period.  Essentially a duet, although I think Leigh claims more of the vocals to be honest.  Yet again. Chloe fills Lwin‘s spot brilliantly.  As did I singing Leigh‘s part.  (Just as well only Tex could hear me…or could she?).  Simply an adorable song and such a surprise as I did not expect it.  GSBT also makes an appearance on Malcolm McLaren‘s “Swamp Thing” album, but I forget which track borrows the lyrics now.

14 – Sinner, Sinner, Sinner
As found on “See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!” [RCA -1981]

bww-pod150 bww-sj150
The LP original is the instrumental version which the band played live tonight, so there are no female vocals per se.  However, Annabella records full vocals when it was released as a single under the title “Prince Of Darkness“.  However, it would have been tough for Chloe to sing these lyrics as they refer to Ms. Lwin by name.  (That’s my theory anyway!).  The rhythms were as perfect as expected, most notably during the “sinner, sinner, sinner” chant. (That exact same chant can be heard on the Adam & The Ants‘ demo “Showbiz“, available on the 2004 remastered “Prince Charming” CD.  Something that remained with both groups following McLaren‘s sacking of Adam Ant from his Ants and hiring Annabella in early 1980.)

15 – What’s The Time (Hey Buddy!)
As found on “When The Going Get’s Tough, The Tough Get Going” [RCA – 1983]

bww-wtthb150 bww-wtggt150
Now the band wanted to really show off how well and how fast they could play together.  For those who know this track, it progressively gets faster and faster with each section.  Except this live version went one (or maybe two) step(s) further.  “Would they be able to hold it together?“, I kept asking myself.  More to the point, would my Olympic gold medal air drumming keep up?  I have to admit they were too fast for me two thirds of the way through.  All I could do was sing along with Chloe, but my voice had had it.  I watched in awe as the last verse and chorus played out at breakneck speed.  I could only mouth three words as the last note ended.  “Wow.  Wow.  Wow!

Before Leigh even had a chance to get a drink, he was mobbed by autograph hunters with their Bow Wow Wow LPs, which he gladly obliged.  Once the band came through to the bar area, I went up to Leigh to congratulate him on a truly magnificent concert.  Before I bww-carty-leigh-chloe200even opened my mouth he said, “are you Carty?  Carty Rubble from the internet? Thanks for coming, man!”  To which I replied that I felt more like an 11 year old boy than a man.
Chloe came over too, I took some pics of them both with some other fans after being asked, then had one taken myself.  (Something I rarely bother to do….no pics taken during my 5 hour Chris Hughes interview, by the way!)

I left that venue with a more satisfied feeling than from the many Adam Ant concerts I have attended during the last 12 years.  But then, I have a meet and greet to come when he plays in Houston in July, so we’ll see.

Bow Wow Wow continue their US summer tour via the dates and venues listed below:

bww-tourdates313

Useful links:
Bow Wow Wow on Facebook
Bow Wow Wow on Twitter
Bow Wow Wow official website
Carty’s Bow Wow Wow vs Pig Bag mix (“Dogbag”)

(Many thanks to Tex for tweaking the Bow Wow Wow logo for this blog post!)

Carty logo

This entry was posted in Ant, Music and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply