ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Critics Choice

Frankie finally came to Hollywood, preceeded by a carefully orchestrated blitzkrieg of hype and propaganda, and a street buzz that would have made any long-established superstar nervous, let alone a new act riding so high on the basis of just two hits. For while at home in Britain the Liverpool band are probably the biggest pop sensation since The Fab Four, selling more records more quickly than any other act in history — and certainly hogging more headlines, over here on their debut U.S. tour they are still largely an unknown quantity. In the event, and under such heavy foreplay pressure, the band performed remarkably well, and delivered some, if not all, of the goods. After a suitably dramatic opening, with lots of smoke and lights, the Frankies charged straight into a ferocious version of the old Edwin Starr hit “War,” complete with slides and slogans, before unleashing their claim to fame, the sexually titillating — “Relax,” which is also their strongest number. The rest of the set veered between the provocative updated disco funk/rock feels of “Krisco Kisses” and “Welcome to the Pleasure Dome,” with the emphasis on the bands butt-wiggling antics, and the more “serious” anthems like “Two Tribes,” and “The Power of Love.” Singer Holly Johnson is a strong frontman, and aided by a superb keyboard player and an extra guitar, the band came fairly close to recreating the aural sheen of their records. But their performance was also slightly bitchy, and peppered with insults when the rather reserved audience seemed less than impressed at times. Frankie came, and saw, but didnt quite conquer, and it will be interesting to see whether they remain a purely British passion.