TRICKY: it's his party and he'll be trying if he wants to.
April 10, 1997
|Forced to cancel
a recent festival date in Ireland after breaking a leg, Tricky must now
be in mortal danger of breaking his neck judging by the manic physical
performance he’s giving on the opening night of his latest UK tour. The
spliff-wielding, stone-still performer of old has been replaced by a
frantic figure whose monotone vocals are delivered from a mouth being
whipped from side to side so quickly (Tricky’s body, meanwhile,
wriggling and jerking like a fish on a hook) it seems impossible that,
even if his spine survives the punishment, his head and shoulders won't
escape a severe bruising.|
But tonight, such value-for-money visual theatrics take a while to develop. The start of the show is a shambolic, inauspicious affair, Tricky, Martine and various session musicians ambling on stage, standing around a while for the apparent want of anything better to do, before finally lurching into a song which the dense sludge of sound coming from the PA renders incomprehensible. It takes two or three more similarly impenetrable efforts, at least one false start and Tricky’s first audible utterance of the night (“Can I have some more volume in my bass, please?") for the show to warm up and the not—quite-full auditorium to cease murmuring its discontent.
What eventually develops is a set with a clearly split personality. Singing the pick of the songs from Tricky’s first album, 1995's Maxinquaye, cohort Martine is allowed space to develop a
|series of slow-burning, seductive grooves, her smoky vocal reaching out from a stage more often than not plunged into near total darkness by the sixth form disco—style lighting rig.|
When Tricky leaves his keyboard and approaches the microphone, the effect he seeks is altogether more claustrophobic. His increasingly bewitching bopping and twitching is carried on waves of whirring loops and stripped down, sometimes too-leaden
percussion as he croaks his way through the dark side of last year’s Pre-Millennium Tension. Vocals sneak out only in snatches and instrumental subtleties are lost in the aural mush. And yet his performance is relentless, uncomfortable - and increasingly
However, such is the effort demanded of the audience to stay with Tricky and co., that, an hour or so in, when Martine steals the focus back for the deliciously sparse Makes Me Wanna
Die, chattering voices in the crowd are again beginning to compete for volume. Which is a shame, given that the whole
show has begun to make a kind of strange, mesmeric sense. salvaged by virtue of Tricky’s sheer persistence, the demons scurrying around in his head at last becoming vivid — if only to those prepared to make the effort to be drawn in by them.
photo: RIP (?)from: Q magazine, June 1997