Lilys, Live at London Hoxton Square Blue Note,
London, England, 10 Feb 1998
This piece originally appeared in NME, 12/2/98


A TEENAGE GIRL WEARING A T-SHIRT WITH an embroidered crimson heart playing 'Tomorrow Never Knows' behind the decks; a politely psychedelic light show swirling endlessly over the walls; Crispian Kula Shaker in a corner surrounded by swarms of wide-eyed girls... the Lilys sure know the poetry of innocence. Why, with all these newly-converted flower people here to pay homage to the newly-established 6ft 5in King Of Uncool you'd think Kurt Heasly would be happy just to, maybe, y'know, let the music do the talking.
No chance.

"Hey, what is this place?" bellows Kurt precisel two nano-seconds after taking the stage, his head and shoulders apparenUy lodged somewhere up I the deserted bar upstairs. "lt's kinda small in here. We should be
playing on rooftops! But I like it. It's like The Cavern"

And with that, the band clunk-click into their scatter-brained stride and we're escorted straigh onto, well, the last steam train to Clarksville. Rigid staccato rifts, kicked awake after 30 years asleep stumble drunkenly
against each other like blind men on a revolving floor. Meanwhile, drummer Aaron Sperske performs heroics in the backgroud, saving songs from certain death with the mere help of a paradiddle.

Those of a certain disposition (the sort who polish their box sets daily and shudder at the musical output of The Rutles) begin to falter three songs in. A colleague suggesta that the likes of Olivia Tremor Control and Apples In Stereo do this stuff so much better - A pair of confused mods presumably lured into such a kitschly-coloured world by the band's recent excursions into Levi's sponsorship - bellow vainly for 'Magic Bus'. Kurt, meanwhile, oblivious to both his world-slaying potency as an irritant as well as the exegesis
of one-hit protocol, is debating aloud when be should play 'that song'.

"Should we play it now? We've only Just started but maybe it would be good it we did it now..."

With that we're plunged into the glorious thrash of 'A Nanny In Manhattan', quite obviously the finest pastiche of The Kinks playing The Searchers with Brian Jones on spoons the world's seen since The Lemonheads turned sour. Lurching wildly with each chorus, it fizzles to a close with Aaron pounding o his Stone Age drumkit and Kurt providing a final twanging solo straight from Roger McGuinn's back pages. Which, funnily enough, is where he appears, to have got his haircut.

And what with Evan Dando having parted company with Atlantic and retroism still held to ransom by the last of the dadrockers, Kurt's wonderfully acid-affected slant on the '60s appears to have arrived just
about on time.

"Hey, we're off now!' he splutters, scampering to the back stairs ten steps at a time. "Back into the wonders of the black hole of confusion!" And, it seems, the dressing room.

Paul Moody

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