ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Hollywood bowled

Greek Theatre, Los Angeles

EXACTLY when it dawned on me that this was the greatest show on earth is still beyond my comprehension.

It could have been when the Frankies returned for an encore in headbanger wigs — Nasher a deadringer for Dee Snider, Ped pumping drums under a big boy ten-gallon hat — and proceeded to bludgeon Springsteens “Born To Run” to the utter astonishment of the strait-laced yanks. Sweet sacrilege. It could have been that perfect instant when Mark OToole — resplendent in military trews, bare chest and braces — pummelled out the orgasmic bassline to “Pleasuredome”. Or when Holly did a Charlie Chaplin shuffle with his shadow in a soft, blue boiler suit, bum cutely cutely raised to the audience, striking Judy Garland poses precisely on the beat and inviting us to “Kiss me where it stinks”. Or when Holly again, mincing under a tacky blone wig, introduced the entire band (“Nash, the only man with 12 inches!”) after the final note had been struck? Or when Marxs head on the video screen illuminated the Californian sky until Reagan informed us “Frankie Say No More”.

It could have been when the schmaltzy “Power Of Love” assumed epic proportions and superceded “Knights In White Satin” as the soppiest anthem ever to touch deep in an emotional moment, just that crucial whisper from cliche, just that shiver from parody, sentimentalism shared. Or it could have been when Paul Rutherford, elegant as Errol Flynn, beautifully tanned, pierced nipple erect, poured a bottle of bevvy over his up-turned head and into his grinning gob; then ecstatically showered the front rows with spume. Or… I dunno.

It was just one of those nights and, from the off, I was gone. Even the first page of the programme, picturing Ped, the archetypal brickie, above the quote “Yeah, Im well into Picasso” smacked of genius.

This Frankie show, criss-crossing the States like some sane extravaganza, was everything Morleys purple prose promised. It has class — they carry Anthony Price effortlessly. It has cheek — gay in every sense. It has abundant energy — “Relax” is still brutally infectious. It has charm — the lads never stop smiling. It has irony — they kick off with “War” and bow out with “Two Tribes” but more, much more than this, they do it their way in a prolonged fit of enthusiasm.

Its as if Frankie enjoy their songs rather than perform them, like lads cutting a rug to their favourite songs at their favourite disco. Its showy without running amok, its precise and yet partying, chemical and comical, straightforward and subversive, fingerpointing and fun.

Which was a bit of a shame for Belouis Some because this young whippersnapper from Sarf London is already getting screamed at out here and hed have toppled any other headliners over and out. His modern dance with memorable choruses and his style — brusque and bullying — are efficiently complimentary and the stuff of which success is made. A tad top Bowie for some (Carlo Alomar co-wrote some of the songs and jammed tonight), Belouis “Imagination” and “Some People” are that uncommonest of phenomena — the memorable hip-swayer.

He worked hard to warm this crowd as the evening chilled and then, yes, Frankie came to Holywood. And Frankie conquered.

Steve Sutherland