ROBOTS & ELECTRONIC BRAINS

Prolapse/Magoo @ The Boatrace, Cambridge

Last time they played here, they turned up without half of their amps. This time it looked like they'd had no time for a sound check: the mics were all feeding back, nothing in the monitors, temperamental bass...no matter though, randomness is the essential ingredient in a Magoo set. Disorder is king of their ramshackle, shambling, fuzzy pop experiments, constantly on the edge of breaking down completely. That's not to say they just turn up and plug in, just that it looks and sounds effortless and any surprises that crop up are embraced. "A to Z and back again" crams everything that's great about the band into three glorious minutes: fuzz, groove, tune, fuzz, harmonies, bass and fuzz.

Prolapse also suffered from a bit of dodgy sound. They didn't care though, it gave Mick plenty of time to recount his week of meeting the stars (Buck's Fizz, Chris Eubank, Captain Sensible and Dave Vanian) and read out bits of the newspaper. There was no place in the set for current single "Autocade" but that's fine cos it wouldn't have fitted in anyway. Its light poppiness is too much at odds with most of Prolapse's output, a crappy plastic soldier when compared to the Tonka steamroller of songs they play tonight: unrelentingly powerful, alternately choppy and droning overdriven guitars and keyboards fill up all available space leaving Mick and Linda to shout and scream, trying to find a gap in the sound. But it's all about give and take with Prolapse, the dynamic of interaction between audience and band, band and singers and---most importantly---between Mick and Linda. He pulls her hair, rubs her Vicks in his eyes, claws at her shoulder, drops to his knees and screams at her and stares like a madman. For her part, she ignores him, whispers jokes in his ear and sticks a bit of card between the gap in her front teeth at his insistence. Watching them at play is voyeuristic, but totally compelling and when did you last see a really compelling live band?


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