review archive

Rachel Stamp London Astoria, 28th October 2000

Having spent the last four years (off and on, obviously) watching ver Stamp rockin’ London’s more er, compact venues, we stare around us wide-eyed at the crowd of goff-glam kids and old familiar faces thronging the Astoria. It’s like the end of some ‘feel-good’ (arrgh! I hate that phrase) American film where our plucky underdog glam-metal heroes make it against the odds to play a storming gig in their hometown and get to wipe the smile off the faces of those sneering high school jocks/record company gits who made their lives such a misery, Yeaahh!

David Spanglywangly Seperated at birth?
When Rachel Stamp come to rock there’s alwaze a parrtayy, but tonight they’ve made an extra effort as this is their Halloween Ball. This means a stage set featuring gravestone ‘n’ gargoyle props straight outta Hammer Horror and ivy twisted around the mic stands – nice touch, cheers! Apparently, the band played in Harlow last night using a couple of these props and it looked totally Spinal Tap (and not in a good way), so Will (guitar) has been having panic-attacks this morning over whether they’ll go down in history as being the band that out-tapped the Tap at their biggest yet gig.
Will He needn’t have worried though, this time Rachel Stamp have done themselves proud. Primed by a selection of suitably spooky tunes on the P.A. (‘Highway  to Hell’, The Addams Family theme, er, ‘Devil Woman’, yes the Cliff Richard one), we wait with bated breath as the curtain slowly rises to a soundtrack of apocalyptic music. Through the mist/dry ice we see a row of shadowy figures (or possibly a bunch of goth girls), staring impassively out. They are the undead! One of them has a horses head!

Rachel Stamp solemnly file on stage. Will Geetar in a gold suit that would’ve done Martin Fry proud, sporting a ten foot tall shock of bleached hair. Robin Drums done up like a ghoul with white face, blackened eyes and antenna hairdo. Shaheena Keyboards is in a red spangly leotard ‘n’ enormous feathered hat combo and fixes into mega-pout, sultry stare overload mode keeping it up ridiculously for the entire gig. Centre stage hamming it up in Garbo cheekbones and eyebrows with an electric shock of green hair is the bride of Frankenstein, David.

They start off with an old fave, ‘My Sweet Rose’, all sinisterly tinkling keyboards then thrashing up the chorus. There’s Kitten’s top fave, ‘Madonna...Cher...', and a crowd-thrilling bunch of old and new, ‘Spank’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Doll’…

Then it all goes a bit pear-shaped with newie, ‘Crucified’, which goes on for centuries and is prog-metal, if ever I heard it. We drift in and out of consciousness until we’re shocked back into action by a return to normal rockin’ service. Will races about the stage pulling axe hero shapes and balancing on Robin’s drum-riser. Robin, a man desperately wasted stuck in the back and obviously yearning to be the star, keeps standing up to grab as much drumcentric attention as possible. David does his ladyboy shimmy and everyones happy.

There’s even time afterwards to get back to the pub, where even the landlord has been to see Rachel Stamp. Just no more prog-metal purlease.

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