25th January 2020
Toyah - “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen” 2020 - Support: B-Movie and Das Fluff
A short UK tour from TOYAH; by short not many dates - but spread out over several months. The tour is to coincide with the re-released and re-imagined 2008 album of the same name. Support bands have varied throughout the tour, Islington has fellow 80s band B-MOVIE and Post-Punk Electro band DAS FLUFF.
DAS FLUFF has come quite a long way since 2010, several albums / singles behind them and a long list of gigs played. They can be described as electronic, but with an edgy Post-Punk slab of attitude. Female vocal led, power and heavy music style. www.dasfluff.com / www.facebook.com/dasfluff
Music & Performance
An early start from DAS FLUFF this evening, it’s 6.30pm, and although there was a large queue outside the hall isn’t very full - such a shame as DAS FLUFF are a band very much worth listening to. I suspect the free “meet and greet” offered by TOYAH meant that much of the queue was still there, waiting to meet TOYAH. However, the set is warmly accepted by the crowd that was there, and as the hall filled during the set it was clear to see there were many fans that felt the same as myself.
The lead singer, Dawn Lintern arrives on the stage in a typical DAS FLUFF style, her outfit is a bright red flowing top with PVC trousers and platform boots - she’s a striking looking lady. She steals the stage from her fellow band members and it’s difficult to take your eyes from her. She’s an active and passionate performer and is an addictive stage presence. Her vocals are raw, powerful and drag you into the dark, filthy world of DAS FLUFF. At various stages of the show she’s on her knees, leaning into the crowd, scowling, snarling - but then conversely switching to show a very human warm side to her nature, joking and laughing with her fans. She obviously has very strong political views and airs them when talking to the crowd - a strong woman she has no fears in letting people know her distain of the recent outcome of the general election in the UK. She also joins the band with a guitar a couple of times during the set.
I mixed into the crowd, talking more pictures for the review, and I could see an enthusiastic crowd and a very good band blending into one. Both vocals and standard of playing were excellent throughout - DAS FLUFF has that exciting sound so suited to live performance. It was a fantastic set, far better than just an opening band would suggest - I recommend catching them on one of their own headlining gigs. Highlight for me, even though it’s perhaps a predictable song to choose, was ‘Rage’ - it encapsulates the feel and sound of DAS FLUFF live perfectly. Good stuff, DAS FLUFF blast away the early gig dreariness and pave the way for a memorable night.
02. We Want Love
06. Out of Time
09. One Day
Total: 8 / 10
A band born in 1980, with some commercial success for their first few years. They can be best described as the love child of ULTRAVOX and THE CURE, perhaps with a little bit of FLOCK OF SEAGULLS thrown in for good measure! After reforming many years later they have gigged and produced new material in more recent times. They have a claim to fame in that SOFT CELL may not have got the big record label signing with Phonogram without them - it was a condition that Phonogram could only sign B-MOVIE if they took SOFT CELL too! A talented band, which deserved much bigger commercial success in the 80s www.b-movie.co.uk / www.facebook.com/B.MovieMusic
Music & Performance
I was very much looking forward to seeing B-MOVIE, after all the years since 1980 I had never seen them play live. However, I was slightly concerned of the musical style mix of the evening, sandwiched between two high energy female led acts. B-MOVIE cannot be described as having a boring, flat sound - but certainly it is not a frantic style, it’s more laid back. Let me start by saying I thoroughly enjoyed their set, but it did turn out to be an awkward marriage for me. As the gig progressed and the hall had filled, I seemed to be the only one concerned as the rest of the crowd were certainly “getting” B-MOVIE and it’s fair to say they were accepted with enthusiasm. I plan to see them again, hopefully as a headliner.
I loved the synth playing, those 80s style keyboard sounds would always melt any initial negativity I may have felt. Swooping and powerful, they mix and form the backbone of their sound. Vocals are of a high standard, and the guitar player has an equally impressive performance. I felt they are the type of band needing acceptance as a quality collection of musicians rather than having “a smack you in the face” visual appeal. Once I had got my thought process around this fact, I loved the gig - the crowd were dancing throughout and had no reservations at all. The well-known tracks ‘Nowhere Girl’ and ‘Remembrance Day’ in particular had much of the crowd dancing, and I was pleased to see younger members of the crowd enjoying the band too. A band deserving of a cult band status much like other bands of the era such as JOY DIVISION and THE CURE - and they really deserve to be appreciated and more trendy with the younger dark music fans.
So, some personal reservations about the nights line-up working, but I was proved wrong and it turned out to be a fantastic gig with a great atmosphere.
01. Polar Opposites
02. Marilyn Dreams
04. Welcome to the Shrink
06. Another False Dawn
08. Nowhere Girl
09. Remembrance Day
Total: 8 / 10
A pin up girl for many a pubescent boy especially those interested in the many alternative scenes of the early to mid-eighties. TOYAH has had a split career from the beginning - part musician / part actor. She was instantly noticeable with her alternative dress sense, and of course her trademark orange hair, styled in many rather funky styles. A petite girl, with a huge attitude; she provided a soundtrack and influence for many of us growing up in that era. https://toyahwillcox.com / https://www.facebook.com/toyahofficial
Music & Performance
TOYAH is a mini whirlwind, always has been, probably always will be. A bundle of energy in a tiny package - this gig didn’t disappoint. At 62 many people are slowing down a little, cracks are starting to show. Not so with this recycled punk, she’s as an impressive performer as she always was - in some ways better. Her voice seems to have matured so well, much larger range and power, delivered with energy and verve. The band she currently plays with are well up for the challenge of keeping up with her talents too. The set consisted of a wide range from her career including of course all of her well-known hits. They started early on in the gig, hits such as ‘Good Morning Universe’ (from ‘Four more from Toyah’) ‘Thunder in the Mountains’ and ‘Echo Beach’ played within the first few songs - an ideal way to get the crowd into the vibe of the set.
And this sums up TOYAH and her live performance; she seems to know and understand what the fans want. Of course there is no point in playing the most popular hits too quickly, and there is plenty in reserve with ‘Brave New World’, ‘It’s a Mystery’ and of course ‘I Want to be Free’. TOYAH, of course, mixed in some tracks from the re-release of ‘In The Court Of The Crimson Queen’ and various album tracks too. Encore includes the seminal “must play” track ‘Ieya’. The crowd have been enthusiastic throughout, even through the support bands, for Toyah they have slipped into overdrive. People were dancing, laughing and thoroughly enjoying themselves, it was fantastic atmosphere! TOYAH has a naturally warm attitude to her fans, recognising the role she has played in their lives for many of them since their youth. She isn’t scared of nostalgia, and conversely her fans are accepting of her more recent work.
She talked throughout the gig, in between songs, various memories, jovial comments and of course promoting her and her husband’s career. Stories included her “too busy shagging during her honeymoon” to spend time noticing how well her current single was charting and playing in Belfast where she fell into the crowd to be rescued by security minus most of her clothes! Great fun listening to the stories, and for me it added something special to the evening. It seems a very close-knit relationship between artist and fans. She even included a free “meet and greet” before the gig, a rarity with many of the more “popular” artists who want to charge their fans. It’s been a while since I’ve seen TOYAH, I left after a fantastic night wishing I had not left it so long. Very highly recommended.
01. Dance in the Hurricane
02. Good Morning Universe
03. 21st Century Supersister
04. We Are
05. Neon Womb
06. Last Goodbye
07. Thunder in the Mountains
08. Echo Beach
09. Telepathic Lover
10. Love Crazy
11. Rebel Run
12. Brave New World
15. It’s a Mystery
17. I Want to Be Free
Total: 8.3 / 10
All Pictures by Kevin Stevens (Coast to Coast Image Works)