Foetus / Morning Glories / Repulse
Belfast Empire Music Hall
8 March 1996
After the success of Frantic on Fridays for the past several weeks, itís a shame to find approximately no one (rounded up to the nearest hundred) here tonight. At nine oíclock on the dot two blokes come on with two guitars and a drum machine/keyboard. Skyman moans about the lack of bass. Theyíre fairly decent in terms of industrial sound and riffs, but the voice is nowhere nasty enough - OK so I didnít want a growl anyway, but this voice is more suited to that of a singer/songwriter playing an acoustic session in Katy Dalyís. Otherwise, however, Iím satisfied; itís quite thrashy. Gradually their mates "peter" (a great verb!) out onto the dance floor and get more and more daring, but they donít play for too long. Their name? Why, it is Repulse.
The second band is the three-piece Morning Glories. A guy who was moshing to Repulse earlier comments "Rudimentary Peni or what?", but people just look at him blankly. The singer is wearing a cowboy hat. Yes, they are American. Think Pixies. Think Six Finger Satellite. Think Sloy. Think CHAOS, people! but melodic chaos. Which is way superior of course. Itís, like, two notes and Iíve fallen in love. Maybe because the singerís monologues remind me of Cop Shoot Cop, like in "The Divorce", "Coldest Day of the Year" etc. (***We interrupt this review to bring you the news that Tod has left Cop Shoot Cop and is recording a solo album, while the remaining members are continuing under another, as yet unknown name. A few days after this gig, they played New York with Foetus and the Morning Glories***.) "Now theyíve got balls", Skyman comments, "despite the outfits, but perhaps it suits." I guess the clientele could now be rounded up to a hundred but thatís still pathetic. And I mean, Foetus are paying a rare visit to Europe and playing ONLY SIX DATES, itís nothing short of a miracle that Belfast is one of them!!
Anyway, Morning Glories live review, continued. Excellent percussion, and perhaps the word weíre looking for is psychobilly (if you think Iím wrong, blame Skyman). Theyíre worth checking out. I think the only reason why no one is moshing is because they havenít heard of them before, and theyíre unable to convince their friends to join them as moral support. "This has to be one of the toughest crowds ...thatís a challenge to me," drawls the cowboy bloke. He encourages people to come up to the front - "We like Irish people, so donít be shy" - and eventually someone wanders up to stand and gawp at them. (He later turns out to be from Foetus.)
Donít be sick Nine, breathe deeply ... Jesus Christ, Iím waiting for Foetus to come on and the guy testing the bass with the Tod-esque clothing and the jacket exactly like Todís (could you ever tell that Iím obsessed?) and the Tod-esque hair and the gorgeous arms ... well ... he could just very possibly be Tod (A) from Cop Shoot Cop, now couldnít he? And after Deb from Big Cat assured me he wouldnít be playing on tour!! Now how exactly likely is it to find a Tod (A) lookalike playing bass for Jim Foetus?? Ohh, palpitations! the question remains: can Nine finish writing this without turning into a quivering mass of hysteria?
OK. As the band comes on, heís with them. I knew it was him. Letís get on with the review. Also present; Jim Foetus looking wild and drunken, Alice Cooper lookalike (younger with no eye-make up, so heís actually kinda nice-looking if you can picture it; and he has impressive scars!!), drummer, and three guitarists. Jim is SCARY. I am captivated! I try not to catch Todís eye too much (if Iím actually managing it at all) in case he thinks Iím a stalker.
How can I describe Jim Thirwell. He is wearing a red ruffled shirt and a blue blazer, and he strikes Saturday Night Fever poses in the most terrifying way. A lot of singers put on that "glint in the eye" thing, but I do believe this oneís for real. As Skyman puts it: You just know that if the entire building went up in flames, he just honestly wouldnít give a damn. And he gives it his all, as they say: jumping and screaming and sulking and kissing and smoking and aaahh, now theyíre doing "Iíll Meet You in Poland Baby", I love it!! Air Raid sirens abound. And "I Am the Walrus" has never sounded so good! They play my favourites, Foetus classics, and finish with a cover of "I Want to be Elected" (remember Bruce Dickinson and Mr. Bean!) for which the guy from the Morning Glories join him onstage. Jim Foetus is Diamanda Galas with testosterone; and talk like the bad guy from "Highlander" - I jest thee not! When the showís over, I just want more. One of the coolest gigs; lack of people doesnít make any difference.
Afterwards I take it upon myself to hunt Jim out and thank him for amazing gig: just in case he thinks Belfast doesnít like him and never comes back. Of course, face to face heís not remotely menacing. We only get to talk for a minute because he has to leave, and the bouncer refuses to let me backstage even though one of the scariest men on earth is inviting me. So he bids me farewell with an innocent kiss on the cheek, and Iím left feeling fulfilled ... even though I found out it wasnít Tod after all and all that panicking was unnecessary and I only printed all that because I felt I should admit how useless I am at recognising my own idols. Anyway, see Foetus if you get the chance (which, if you live in Europe, may not be for quite a while now). You shall not regret it.
Original source was "http://www.ed.ac.uk/~nine/foetus.htm" - now defunct.