Melody Maker - January 12th 1980
1 page 'Boots' music advert includes Blondie's 'Eat To The Beat' album.
Blondie plan Rainbow gigs
BLONDIE, chosen for a rare BBC link-up between television and radio on New Year's Eve, have added yet another show to their run of concerts at London's Hammersmith Odeon, and are planning a new series of shows at London's Rainbow Theatre.
The band are now playing on January 21, a second night after their return from a short batch of European concerts to follow their three-night London run.
However, the demand for tickets is such that all seats for the new concert are sold out on prior application, but London fans can be heartened by the band's decision to play more concerts, understood to be at the Rainbow Theatre in late January, to follow the Hammersmith Odeon shows. No dates have yet been fixed, but details are expected shortly.
Meanwhile, Blondie keyboard player Jimmy Destri has been producing a compilation album of New York bands.
Furthering his ambition of turning the emphasis of music from Los Angeles to New York and London, Destri is putting the album together for Ze Records, distributed in Britain by Island.
The cover for the album has been designed by David Bowie, and is due for release by Ze on March 1, although Destri says that he is still interested in hearing offers from other good record labels.
Bands on the album are the Student Teachers, the Bloodless Pharoahs, the Revlons, the Comateens and the Fleshtones, all from New York. Each band will contribute two tracks to the album, and Destri has recorded three of the five bands so far.
BLONDIES HAVE MORE FUN: Things have come to a pretty pass when they start running DEBORAH HARRY lookalike contests, but that's exactly what My Guy magazine did recently - and more than 1,000 young hopefuls vied for the chance to be brought to London for a pro make-up job and photo session. Winner was 18-year-old secretary RUTH MERITT, from Newcastle, who cautiously commented on her resemblance to Ms. Harry: "I don't idolise her, I just happen to look like her." Runner-up, Madeleine Crawley from Upper Norwood was more candid about being mistaken for the new wave's MARLENE DIETRICH. "I got a kick out of it at first," she moaned, "but it gets a bit boring."
Free Trade Hall,
MERCHANDISE. An innocuous word, but the cause of much justifiably negative feeling. I arrived early outside the monolithic Free Trade Hall - built aptly on the site of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre - to see hawkers compete over their dazed victims and to hear a kindly tout advise better jobs for those who couldn't afford this £30-per-ticket price tag.
From the iniquitous leeches outside, to the zealous and senile guardians of the incomplete guest-list inside, it was but a short step. Denied entry for two hours, a group of journalists, photographers and liggers was rewarded with an opportunity to watch the arrival of Mrs and Mr Stein and friends from behind the protective and abrasive blue bulk of the Greater Manchester Constabulary.
Such excitement perhaps invited anti-climax; only the encore would demonstrate differently.
To enter the auditorium, with its subdued chatter punctuated only by coughs and sneezes, was to be reminded of a hospital waiting-room - where, though confident of deftly applied anaesthetic, patients sit apprehensive and overly aware of the risks of a disappointing treatment.
The house-lights are suddenly extinguished, and enthusiastic but not passionate cheers fill the air. Clem Burke manfully starts "Dreamin'" and Deborah appears and we don't know whether we're clapping for her or for the song.
A total experience: pre-packed and ready to be driven in a few hours' time to the next temple of faded beauty. She cavorts, tantalises, giving us everything TOTP led us to expect. Burke thrashes beautifully, secure in the knowledge that he at least, like a latter-day Ringo, is enjoying himself. Stein is both Dolenz and Lennon - aspiring intellectuals everywhere can relate to him. The other three are irrelevant: they probably exist only to retain visual balance on stage.
Blondie's mass acclaim is hard to reconcile with the glib claims to artistic integrity and independence from commercial pressure. In Beatloid fashion, Blondie retain and benefit from the elite's belief in them as people while continually compromising the standard bases of acceptability.
Perhaps I merely extrapolate from my dislike of mass faith in anything - particularly if it be a marketable commodity - but like too many of the brave new hopes who started by filling a void, Blondie have begun to create their own lightweight and hardly more satisfying alternative.
Hindsight is apt to override actuality and it could be seen perhaps as inconsistency to admit to appreciating any of the concert. The encore, however, showed transitory traces of effort and sweat in "Sunday Girl", "Louie Louie", and James Brown's "I Feel Good", instead of mere spororific slickness.
Therein, perhaps, lies the key to an understanding of Blondie: they are a musical placebo which initially works psychologically, but which ultimately fails to satisfy the body's yen. - STEVE REDMOND.