erasing clouds

Ari-up, The Kitchen, I Love Lucy live @ Stereo, Glasgow, Scotland, 22nd June 2003

by anna battista

In the beginning there was rhythm. In the beginning there was rhythm and then came The Slits (bless them), a punk-reggae-all-female band who influenced generations to come. Indeed this afternoon there are a couple of bands on stage that carry deep in their guitar chords and experimental loops, the energy and aggressiveness of the original Rrriot girls. I Love Lucy are the first band and they Slits-like scream rather than sing their tracks, playing their guitars with a knife. Their set is only interrupted by ex-Slits Ari-up who steals the microphone to make us notice how punky I Love Lucy are. The Kitchen, the latest reincarnation of Amanda "Manda Rin" from Bis, follow. Amanda might have tried to distance herself from what she used to do with Bis, but The Kitchen's set sounds like a less candy version of Bis' candy-pop-electro-Korg beats.

The real fun comes when it's Ari-up time. Ari gets on stage warning us to get ready for the whole "Ari-up experience" and from the very first track of the set, the classic "Love Und Romance", people are jumping, dancing in every corner of the pub or literally dragged on stage by Ari to sing with her. Slits hits such as "Newtown", "FM" or "Shoplifting" follow, all interspersed by Ari telling us stories about the Slits being the best girl band of their times (and who could deny it?), about her urge of killing people (in "Kill Them With Love") or about the tragic death of her partner shot in Jamaica ("Baby Father"). There's not enough time for "Typical Girls", but Ari and her vocalists give us impeccable versions of other Slits' singles, John Holt's "Man Next Door" and Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine". There's a sense of loss when Ari sings the last line of the latter, "I'm just about to lose my mind", a loss for real punk and reggae, for true rebels and true warrior princesses like Ari. Glory to the bassline. Glory to the rhythm and glory to The Slits. Amen.

Issue 14, August 2003 | next article

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