Momus – Cafe Oto (1 March 2014)

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What was I saying about the ironic cover version?

I’m watching a man with and eye-path an Warhol frightwig dressed as a japanese fishwife, caterwauling through a medley of Bowie songs to a homemade karaoke tape.  Ah, but we are in deepest darkest Dalston on sacred hipster ground. So this has to be ‘art’, doesn’t it?

Yes, yes it does.  And don’t you forget it.

Nick Currie has been releasing records under the name Momus for nearly thirty years now.  In that time he’s hopped from genre to genre, often breaking them.  Written No.1 french pop songs. Been groomed by Alan McGee as the next Nirvana. Sued by Wendy Carlos.  Patronised by Jeff Koons.  Most importantly he has built a wonderful and complex body of work.  Never knowingly unintellectual.  Often controversial.  Sometimes just downright filthy. But, which talks to me in a way I’m probably too scared to actually examine.  Just as every new release is an essential purchase; every gig is a must-see.  But then, the live appearances seem less frequent than the releases.

Accompanied by his karaoke machine, and a homemade slideshow – some even including the lyrics as they should – we are delivered a set covering the breadth of his career.  Like some demented music hall act, Currie stomps about the stage area.  Sometimes crooning.  Sometimes dancing. Even treating us to a highland fling at one point.  Like his material, the performance is – honestly – playful.  The one about vampires (name escapes me) degenerates into a revenge fantasy on a bunch of ‘Newcastle’ fans.  Seems he hay have met some on the tube.  This becomes a recurrent thread throughout he evening.  It’s not all pantomime.  There are many moments of real beauty in here.  Not least a completely unexpected cover of Permafrost and the closing version of The Sadness of Things (admittedly, which kills me every time).

I genuinely believe that, in time, this guy will be thought of like Walker or Gainsbourg.  But, sadly, probably not in his lifetime.  Certainly not in his homeland.

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Written by Tony Kiernan

03 March 2014 at 7:11 pm

Posted in Gigs, London, Music

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