Hands up who’s seen a bad, or even an average Terrorvision show over the years? No, I thought not. Bradford’s finest export don’t do average. Through the glorious Brit Rock years and their run of chart success in the 90’s, the lost 2000’s and the subsequent reformations, Terrorvision have always delivered high energy rock n’ roll shows and have a greatest hits set that many bands would die for. You may have forgotten that these quirky northern herberts were chart botherers at a time when the charts actually mattered. ‘Tequila’, ‘Celebrity Hit List’ and ‘Bad Actress’ were top 10 singles, and they weren’t even their strongest songs!
Celebrating 30 years as a band, Terrorvision play 3 shows in the run up to bonfire night. Billed as TV30, they play Nottingham Rock City, Camden Electric Ballroom and tonight, sandwiched between the two, a sold-out hometown show at the stunning surroundings of St George’s Hall in Bradford.
It’s pretty full already by the time Brighton noisenicks The Bar Stool Preachers hit the stage. Their high energy, socially aware ska punk anthems might seem a bit of a mismatch for a Terrorvison crowd but they go down surprisingly well. Promoting the well-received ‘Above The Static’ album, the six-piece band are a whirlwind of bouncing energy from the off. Frontman Tom McFaull has the ability to whip the crowd up into a frenzy, and the rest of the guys make the most of the space, bounding around like their lives depend on it.
It’s a short set and they don’t play any of the recent singles, which seems a bit odd. But with the likes of the ska infused ‘Choose My Friends’ and the anthemic ‘Flatlined’, they sure have enough tunes to excite the uninitiated. An extended ‘Bar Stool Preacher’ closes the set with audience participation, and The Bar Stool Preachers leave the stage with the satisfaction that they have certainly gained more than a few new fans tonight.
Terrorvision are dressed in black and pink as they take to the stage to thunderous applause. Whereas L.A. darlings Starcrawler pull off this look with the cool that only L.A. rock stars can, the Bradford rockers have a more casual approach, apart from frontman Tony Wright that is. Wearing a full-on pink suit, black shirt and trainers, he’s more Showaddywaddy than LA chic, and we wouldn’t want it any other way!
They open a 24 song greatest hits set with the sublime ‘Discotheque Wreck’ and the crowd go mental. A high energy performance from the off, the band are all over the stage, led of course by Tony’s animated antics and crowd interaction.
The sound and atmosphere in this venue is top notch and works to the band’s advantage. And of course they have the songs…loads of ‘em. You may have forgotten how many hits Terrorvision have in their repertoire. ‘How To Make Friends And Influence People’ spawned 5 top 30 singles in 1994 and they are all played tonight. ‘Alice What’s The Matter’ sounds amazing, it’s six songs into the set and the singer has the crowd in the palm of his hands.
Terrorvision are a 7-piece band these days. Tony’s sidekick Milly Evans has played keyboards full time for at least 15 years and the addition of Nick Hughes from The Middlenight Men on Trumpet and Liz Mitchell on saxophone makes for a full sound. But it’s Tony, bassist Leigh Marklew and guitarist Mark Yates who are the focal point all night. With leather trousers, and a waistcoat over a pink shirt, a Les Paul dangling from his knees, Mark Yates is still the most rock n’ roll member of Terrorvision, and he peels off those killer licks and riffs effortlessly, while pulling all the cool rock star poses.
The hits continue to flow. ‘Tequila’ may be cheesy, but you can’t deny the power of a catchy chorus and the drinking anthem probably keeps Tony stocked up on Kopperberg these days. The place erupts for the chorus, and it gives the reaction any fine drinking song should.
The highlights are plentiful and memorable. For me it would be a killer ‘My House’, the over-catchy ‘Celebrity Hit List’ and the ever cool ‘Josephine’, the Tarantino-esque guitars and killer chorus a sublime match for me.
Their turn of the century dance anthem ‘D’Ya Wanna Go Faster’ ends a 22-song set in fine style and the sweaty crowd get their money’s worth ten-fold. But the band have a few more aces up their collective sleeves. Following a rip-roaring punky rarity ‘This Drinking Will Kill Me’ there is only one song left to end a killer Terrorvision show…whales and dolphins! ‘Perseverance’ is one of those classic signature Terrorvision singles, and a song that has the ability to transcend and give a massive sense of euphoria, like all good songs should. What a way to end a set.
Tonight was a masterclass in how to perform a rock n’ roll show. With 30 years in the business Terrorvision are masters of entertainment and have the back catalogue to make lesser bands weep. Every time I see them live they deliver, when supporting larger acts, they sometimes come off the better band on the night. It’s just a shame they are not a full-time thing these days, but when they do tour, it’s nice to be reminded just how good they are and what a high energy rock show should all be about. A perfect celebration of one of the UK’s best bands. Same time next year, lads?
Author: Ben Hughes
Wonderful Pics courtesy of:Adrian Hextall