Newtown Neurotics, Action Pact, Burial - LSE

Garry Bushall, Sounds December 1st 1984.


Once a hot-bed of ineffectual intellectual insurrection, the LSE tonight played host to some decidedly more down-to-earth tykes.
Suited-up skins, some smarter than a squadron of Mastermind contestants stood round the dance floor discussing the next Lee Perry gig, while in the bar a beery burly bunch of raucous redskins were hollering "We are Red Action Boot Boys!". Adolf must have been spinning in his bunker!

This was certainly a gig to confound popular press stereotypes, just as it was also a banker's bet to put their rancid right-wing backs up, being firmly for the striking miners. And make no mistake, the outcome of the miners' strike is gonna shape the political future for all of us. Their fight is our fight, if they lose we all lose, and everyone - from Wham! to Test Department, taking in the Test Tube Babies along the way - realises that.

You can't knock any band doing their bit, but sadly at the same time being pro-the-miners is no guarantee of musical worth. For all I know, Action Pact may be the warmest human beings this side of the federation of circus fire-eaters, but the full foetid blast of George's Mickey Mouse-on-acid vocals had all the endearing qualities of a blow-torch in the boat.

Rising skin-driven grinsters Burial were a let-down, too. A PA on loan from Toy Town did them no favours, but the main fault was their own. They were about as together as a Greenham Granny's dress sense, under-rehearsed and over-excited.
To their credit, they confessed as much, too, with charismatic songbird Mick stopping them halfway through a half-hearted version of their best song, 'Sheila' apologising and starting again. This time they pulled this potential smash hit mixture of ska and calypso (which Out On The Floor 'zine has reasonably compared to Booker T's 'Soul Limbo') with real gusto, and with activist axe-man Barney shamelessly exhibiting his sub-Ethiopian frame as he laid into the cowbells.

I hoped they clocked the Neurotics because then they could have picked up a few tips on how it should be done live. Some snides have starting writing the Neurotics off, but tonight they were numero uno, sparking like a firework fiesta with tough tunes, tight delivery, Clashy harmonies, a joyously triumphant feel and of course, Drewett's diamond Weller-esque warbling and spot on sentiments.

From the power-punching 'The Mess' through the dole generation sensation 'Creatures From Another World' to the inevitably well received 'Kick Out The Tories', the band just steamed, proving they're contenders, bruising with their passion.
It's an eternal tragedy that the Neurotics seem unable to capture their live strengths on record, because that one dimensional vinyl was transformed on-stage into a gloriously mind-mincing mix of '60's pop sensibility, '70's kick, and 1980's fact facing.

Every A&R man in Blighty should have been here tonight because the Neurotics played like heroes. And that's exactly what the miners deserved!

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