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Sigue Sigue Sputnik
B2 Club 
By Erik Jansma
The success of electro-punks Sigue Sigue Sputnik –storming the charts in 1986 - was shortly lived. The success of the first album “Flaunt It” was promising, but teaming up with Stock, Aitken and Waterman for the production of the second album was a disastrous decision. It all led to the band splitting up in 1990, left with a one-hit-wonder image. Feeling that this status was undeserved, Tony James has been trying to reanimate the group ever since.

A bass, guitar, microphone, sequencer and live dub machine are the tools for the night at B2. Neal X is great on guitar and vocals and resembles Billy Idol, who used to be in Generation-X together with Tony James. The latter is comfortably hiding behind sunglasses and under a pink wig. The “dub-girl” obviously has learned the necessary tricks to create the dubs that define the SSS sound. The sound is OK, though the only ready audible vocals come from Neal X.

The set is a string of moderately well known SSS songs, mostly from 1st album “Flaunt it”. The faster songs are mixed with slower material to provide X with the needed breathing space. Highlights are the cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” (X claims Outkast stole it in the first place from SSS), second hit “21st Century Boy”, and of course “Love Missile F111”, containing an interlude with Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”. The play-list is used in most of SSS’s gigs, I found out.

Next up are the encores.

The first one is planned, but an obvious challenge: X’s guitar is broken, the five minutes break has been used to rid a bottle of Jack Daniels of most of its contents, and the female roadie seems to prefer having “dub-girl” rather at the side of the stage so she can continue sticking her tongue up her throat. Tony James remains comfortably hidden behind his sunglasses and pink wig. The encore seems to be indeed some sort of a victory round for the group as they are well received by the Moscow audience. Louis Armstrong’s wonderful world gets an unplugged cover with alternative (improvised?) lyrics. Not sure what Armstrong has done wrong to deserve this…

The second encore is not planned for, which becomes painfully obvious when Neal X browses his memory cards for songs that have not been played yet and are not forgotten yet. “Pussy Whipper” is the song of choice. Middle-aged punk rocker complaining about his all too dominant girlfriend: maybe it is indeed time to call it a day. SSS decides to go out with a blast: Neal X plays like there’s no tomorrow, dub-girl decides to add to her charisma by emptying a bottle of water on her white t-shirt and throwing a sweatband into the crowd after first rubbing it down her pants, thank you very much.

And then it’s over. Some people stick around to wait for X, who appears from backstage for autographs, a chat and photos. SSS hasn’t been forgotten, and still have a loyal fan-base. They are able to put down an enjoyable gig. Age starts showing though, and the musical material is limited.

29.05.06
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