New Musical Express, August 17, 1991

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Feile like I'm fixin' to die

Feile 91 / Ireland Semple Stadium

Steve Lamacq


By the time Transvision Vamp are due on stage night has fallen. The hair plaiters in the crowd can no longer see to tangle up a victim's hair with cotton, but the countless lads and lasses who have purchased luminous green necklaces are suddenly visible.

"Eugene O'Donahue we have found your tablets. Please go to the first aid tent to collect them," announces the PA, instantly transforming Eugene into a star. The only man at the festival able to blag his way backstage so he can pick up his drugs. "Bring some back for us!" shout about 10,000 would-be ravers.

However much dour angst rock truth seekers might like to pour scorn on Tran Vamp's lack of "authenticity," there is no questioning their, erm, entertainment value. Towards the end of a long day in a vast concrete hell-hole their flash, hoodoo-glitter rock and succubus-sexiness are a first rate tonic. "Baby I Don't Care" and "I Want Your Love" cause mass pogoing on the terraces, and Miss James, not one to miss out on an opportunity to stir It, goes through a f----- mime routine tying on her back.

The next day the Irish Sunday papers are full of breathless reports of Wendy's bumping and grinding. Elvis Costello hardly gets a mention. Maybe he came on too late. In fact Costello had already done a lot to impress his fellow artists before he went out on stage. Costello had insisted that the entire backstage artists area was cleared of human lifeforms so that he could make the 100 yard walk from dressing room to rostrum. Actually It's pretty funny watching affronted VIP guests and pissed bands getting turfed out of their hiding places, but given Costello's mood that night, the order can hardly be put down to his sense of fun.

Costello was wired and magnificent. Looking like Van Morrison in a wig and beard he stalked about the stage, a man possessed. With a retinue of wrinkly but fierce players he stormed through his benchmark tunes, stretching, re-arranging and resuscitating the truly amazing repertoire. Breaking for his first encore after an impassioned "What's So Funny About Peace Love And Understanding?" he dumped his guitar in front an amp, sending feedback loops cutting into the night. On this form Costello should be out drinking with the Manic Street Preachers, not acting the Madonna backstage.

At two in the morning we're sitting in a car speeding through the narrow and winding lanes having begged another lift back to the hotel. Someone is pointing out that if the organisers of the Feile carry out their threat to fine any band who play on beyond their allotted time £500 per minute, then Happy Mondays must owe about £22,500. The driver meanwhile is staring into the blackness showing us what "Deny driving" is all about. "You Just drive right down the middle of the road and keep going until you see lights coming at you..." Maybe we should have gone to mass.

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New Musical Express, August 17, 1991

Steve Lamacq reports on the Feile Festival, Saturday, August 3, 1991, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Ireland.


1991-08-17 New Musical Express photo 01 mg.jpg
Photo by Martyn Goodacre.

Page scans.
1991-08-17 New Musical Express page 46.jpg 1991-08-17 New Musical Express page 47.jpg

1991-08-17 New Musical Express cover 1.jpg


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