BRIX & THE EXTRICATED, Future Perfect, Bully, 16/11/18
Given The Fall’s influence, and vast alumni roll, the surprising thing is not that Brix & The Extricated formed, but that it hadn’t happened before. Scanlon & The Shift-workers, perhaps? Elena & The Remainderers? Granny & The Bongos? What marks The Extricated out from the slew of spurious heritage acts built around Alvin Stardust’s bassist or what have you, is that a checking their track records shows that 80% of the band were in The Fall and contributed to some of their best-known work (although not all at the same time), and that the majority of their two albums, and of tonight’s set, is original material written over the last couple of years. Plus, since the band’s 2017 visit to The Cellar they have developed a more cogent, bolder presence, sonically and visually, evident from the outset, with a musique concrete intro tape during which Brix is led to the stage to deliver the first number blindfolded.
From the moment this is torn off, however, Brix is a tiny tornado on stage, covered in glitter and beads, and wielding a feather-bedecked radio mike like a voodoo fetish, prodding, joshing – and even, at one point, licking – her bandmates onwards in a flurry of cracking tunes that meld the melodic simplicity of Jonathan Richman with the fake leather fun of Suzi Quatro, around pulsating dirt-kraut rhythms (don’t forget this band features the greatest non-ranting Fall member ever, bassist Steve Hanley, along with his brother Paul behind the kit) and, surprisingly, some atonal Sonic Youth workouts. This hen night shaman, telling wild-eyed tales of sex, spirituality and self-help makes us realise just how few middle-aged women there are expressing themselves in rock music, and how sad it is that tonight’s audience is mostly made up of The League of Bald-Headed Men. An act like this deserves to be inspiring youngsters on how to make the best bad decisions, as loudly as possible, because they sure don’t play like greying veterans (although Brix is definitely too old to get away with breathless guff about finding the soul’s boundaries whilst wandering round India). There are old fans who won’t forgive The Extricated for taking The Fall’s mysterious, inscrutable music and turning it into a glossy glam racket, and there are blinkered fools who refuse to punch the card of a 56 year old woman dressing up, rocking out and begging her lover to “hammer me to the ground” whilst swearing like a docker; fine, they can stay in moping, we’ll be getting down with the Big Prinzess.