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Title: Welcome to the scouse of fun!
Author: Helen FitzGerald
Source: Melody Maker
Publish date: April 13, 1985



Hammersmith Odeon

WE expected pomp, ceremony and the kind of gratuitous self-indulgence that events in this type of venue take for granted. Frankie had a lot to prove this night and many a hack had polished his or her dagger-like wit for the occasion. Frankie would make complete tits of themselves, we’d all have a not-so-quiet snigger in the bar and exit clutching outraged dignity and a horde of scribbled sarcasms.

But Frankie turned the tables on us all with such well-channelled devil-may-care that carping at their modus operandi would be ridiculous. See Frankie live and realisation dawn that their seemingly irregular methods are not all divorced from the more orthodox pop autocracy.

And the Word became flesh. Not inelegantly but fiction can’t shadow fact and if Frankie had a weakness it was bound to show. The stage is a great hurdle and Frankie leapt it in style.

As expected the stage itself was a piece of inspired artwork. Two huge back projection screens flickered a myraid of imagery through each song and a positive fairground of lighting effects welcomed you to the pleasure dome. And here they were, shaking their tails at the crowd. Eat My Ass was the message and none too subtle either. “War” is declared, Jim Morrison and Bruce Lee scowl from the screen, Holly beams a coquettish greeting and gathers strewn bouquets. Melodrama bows to downright cheek - “The Power Of Love” gets the full trimmings of a crucifixtion scene and sober thought surrenders to a profusion of fantasia. “Welcome To The Pleasure Dome” is a jungle, Holly dons his wacky baseball cap and jumpsuit, Rutherford struts an elegant swaggers on the catwalk and the lads? Well hey, the lads are rocking OUT

Who said these boys can’t play for nuts? The man is clearly insane. The peak arrived early with the most inspired cover version EVER. Frankie steal Marc Bolan’s “Get It On” and we do, oh yes we do. This HAS to be a single sometime, boys. The unbiquitous “Relax” inspires a devilish flood of soft-porn slides on screen. Holly giggles like a naughty schoolboy. “Two Tribes” instigates a near riot with probing spotlights seeking out a quarry overhead and the lads are overcome. Nasher is off on a Jimi Hendrix trip, wanking his guitar like there’s no tomorrow.

“I’m well hard” grins Holly as an ad-lib intro to “Ferry Across The Mersey”, the Andre Previn of a grand sing-along. “Born To Run” à la Frankie is a garish affair. “Relax” rears its head (sic) again as an encore, George Michael springs from nowhere, clutches all in a beefy embrace and executes a neat pas de deux with Paul without the least hint of an upstage.

The fact is that Frankie can’t BE upstaged, not on this form. Be square or be there. Frankie have few rivals, they’re too clever for that. I like Frankie, they’re UNIQUE.