Gloryoski! I recently found a still zipped DL on my file server that dated back to about a year ago, when there was much moving of the needle on the Vicious Pink legacy with their fabbo “West View” compilation. There was an online release party that DJ Paul Dakeyne hosted and it was pretty cool to remotely attend. There were trivia questions, and I won one of the rounds with the prize being the “Live At The Leeds Warehouse” 19/3/82 DL album from the band’s Bandcamp zone. It was crazy that we were celebrating this band nearly 40 years on from that date of recording, but the release is out there and of interest to any Vicious Pink [Phenomena] fans. As we’ll now see.
Vicious Pink Phenomena: Live At The Leeds Warehouse Club 18/3/82 – DL 
- In The Swim 01:57
- So You Want To Love Me 03:14
- Spooky 03:01
- Fetish 04:43
- Not Your Kind Of Girl 03:41
- Je Taime 06:12
- Back In Your Arms 03:25
- Odd One 03:38
- Ask Me To Stay 06:12
- Maniac 04:49
- Baby It’s Too Late 04:25
- Fetish (encore) 08:08
The program started out with the last two minutes of their opener “In The Swim” due the the FOH engineer not pushing up the faders at the beginning of the show! But they included the partial recording anyway for the sense of history. We got gold right up front with “So You Want To Love Me,” a track only in this recording so far. It was a strong song that seemed to predict where New Order would be going the next few years with “Touched By The Hand Of God” being strongly redolent of the melody and vibe here. Live, the band’s use of backing tape had Ms. Warden’s BVs provided with the rhythm tracks with live synth over it.
Absolutely my favorite cut here was the early arrangement of the late 60s Classics IV hit “Spooky” years before they committed it to wax as the B-side to “Fetish.” The later recording never convinced with its similarity to the original arrangement, with only the fast tempo standing apart from it. And never really working for me, to be honest. Here the arrangement was based around a languid tempo [slower than the original] with a superb lead synth line from Brian Moss that had a stately air to it. I can say that this song was finally working for me here!
“Fetish” was abetted here with furious timbale percussion from third musician Graeme Robinson that added some live fire to the mix. Giving us a very different energy to what was strictly a machine-like vibe on the studio version. Another new song to these ears was the fatal energy of “Not Your Kind Of Girl;” a great “breakup song” about why and how it was inevitable with a great line in vitriolic lyrics, as shown [and heard] below. This was another song with live drumming played over the drum machine tapes.
The early days of the band also manifested here with an arrangement of “C…C…Can’t You See” long before the familiar sampling hook re-named the song memorably. Here, it was more logically called “Back In Your Arms Again.” with a lighter, airy touch to the live synth melodies and none of the dub energy in the more familiar version. The band had an instrumental like “Odd One” in their set for the practical reason for Jose to get offstage for a wardrobe change. The unlisted track at the end of “In the Swim” on 12″ of “Je T’aime [Moi Non Plus]” was a series of dissonant synth melodies against a TB-303 backdrop only the live version also featured fretless bass runs from Graeme Robinson for something very different.
Two of the tracks that appeared first on “West View” last year were also here. “Ask Me To Stay” featured Ms. Warden’s vocals chorused for a bigger sound. And “Baby It’s Too Late” also benefited from the additional intensity that Robinson’s timbale playing brought to the relentless track. As they also did with the much longer encore version of “Fetish” with the atonally drifting synth leads from Moss given discipline from the furious timbale overlays from Robinson.
The band were a duo with extra member Graeme Robinson doubling on timbales and fretless bass to add needed punch to what was in 1982, an necessary reliance on backing tapes for the rhythm component of the mix. Like many others of that time and place. Forty years later, it’s the failures to accurately playback these studio creations with the utmost of fidelity that make the whole thing worthwhile for these ears! The more a band veers from the blueprint of their record live, the happier I am to listen to them do it.
“Live At the Leeds Warehouse Club” manages to mix live performance and backing tapes for a recording that has some intriguing hybrid vigor. We also manage to add two more songs to the Vicious Pink Phenomena canon and were gifted with that to my ears was the definitive take on the band’s cover version of “Spooky” that really took off for me in this case. The DL is out there in Bandcamp in your choice of medium to high-res formats for £12.00. Mr. D.J. hit that button!
Ah, Vicious Pink, one of my favorite criminally underrated bands. I first heard them on an empty dancefloor at an under-attended DJ set in 1987. The song? “Always Hoping”. I immediately scurried to the local record store and bought all the Vicious Pink 12″ singles they had. Those songs became the soundtrack for my summer that year. “Take Me Now”, “10:15 to Nowhere”, “Great Balls of Fire”. Simply amazing!
Great review for a great band!
Todd Lewis – Lately, their legacy has been getting the reissue love. There are two different live sets on Bandcamp, as well as the game-changing “West View” compilation that exploded the amount of available Vicious Pink material. Their inability to get a proper LP out on Parlophone [apart from the Canadian compilation in my Record Cell] is finally being put to rest. My first encounter with Vicious Pink was memorably recounted here.