Several words must be banned from this page. "Setlist" for starters. And "industrial" and "t**p-h*p" (ha! ha! ha!) will have to go. Also "gothic". Oh yes... and "dark". Err... excuse me just for a sec.
We apologise for the interruption of this review, we have some technical problems. The reviewer has realised that writing about a Tricky gig without using the word "dark" is as easy as banning th' l'tt'r E, and is refusing to come out of the stationery cupboard. In the meantime, here's some music.
  It's Blondie's "Heart Of Glass". Swirling from the baccy-ruffled vocal chords of Kioka Williams, who is somewhere in the [censored]ness beyond this seething, flickering, anticipatory mass. Loping drums stalk across their shifting heads, insinuating bass seeks ways in to ricochet between skulls and groins. This is going to hurt.
   There is no setlist. For which I would apologise. If I could. But I can't, because there is no set. It's just one long ham, splinters of songs sticking out like teeth, that Tricky and friends appear to be making up on the spur of the moment. A set is a band playing some songs to some people in a room. These are not "songs". And I don't think those are "people". As for the room.... this isn't a room, it's an imploded universe, and whatever we once were, we are now non-event masses with a quantum probability of ..ugger all.
   There is Kioka, bare-backed and swaying nonchalantly, drawling beautifully, and smiking and smoking like sin on legs. And there is Tricky. Visible sporadically by the spasming summerstorm light, he is curled around the mic stand and bolted to the floor, struggling like Houdini in a water tank. Outside him, inside everyone is the music.
   The pounding industrial (whoops) bellydance of "Black Steel", the delicate caress of new single "For Real", all getting in somewhere through this chasm where your brain used to be. Guitars hang like drool from a Dobermann's haw, drums rush like cheetas, it's primal, it's f***ing feral, The audience's pupils have bleached away, their bones have disintegrated inside their skin, and they just stand, like bulging-eyed mice in the pything's embrace. Our guts have run for cover and our spectacles have splintered across our identical faces. Oh, my, good, God. This is metaphysical (Bee, medicine now - Ed).
 There is something so simple in this enormity it could almost be fragile. It won't hurt you, it will lay its great opium-satined teeth to your defenceless neck in a kiss. It's not just "dark" - it is the dark. Don't be afraid.

click for a bigger pic

photo:  Patrick Ford

from:  Melody Maker, 31. July 1999

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