erasing clouds

Concert Review: Telstar Ponies/Rose McDowall, Live @ the CCA, Glasgow, 28th February 2003

by anna battista

She's got long blonde hair and heavy make up. The colour of her black dress contrasts with her diaphanous complexion. Ribbons adorn her hair. She's a cross over between a punk, a goth and one of the girls out of '80s band Strawberry Switchblade. For a moment it feels like being back in the early '80s, but fear not, we're not in a time capsule, but at Glasgow's CCA where an unusual Telstar Ponies gig is taking place. Unusual because the act opening the gig is ex-Strawberry Switchblade and later Circle/Current 93/Psychic Tv/Death in June/Coil collaborator (and member of Sorrow and Spell with Boyd Rice!) Rose McDowall. Perhaps it's in Rose's honour that one of the girls in the audience looks like a perfect Strawberry Switchblade copy.

Rose sings and plays the guitar and the harmonium while accompanied by cello. The '80s seem far away right now since the songs she plays are not the sugary poptastic wee gems that rewarded Strawberry Switchblade with fame and a Smash Hits cover. Rose now sounds more mature, her voice melodic and sweet, but never saccharine. She's the first surprise of the night, because the second surprise follows when Telstar Ponies get on the stage. They showcase tracks from the forthcoming album Love In Earnest, but they don't sound extremely experimental as they did in their 1995 "Not Even Starcrossed", they sound more relaxed and ethereal, though they still enrich the texture of their tracks with their trademark avalanches of guitars. During the Telstar Ponies set, Rose comes back on the stage to sing on a couple of tracks. Was this a "Terrible Night" to quote one of the songs on the latest Telstar Ponies EP? No, it was brilliant!

Issue 13, April 2003 | next article

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