SA Artists in London
NEVER CALL TIME ON FETISH
Fetish @ 93 Feet East, London, 2 April 2003
There are two things I found strange about 93 Feet East. Firstly there were more than 93 Feet in the joint. How do I know? Well I counted the toes and divided by 10. Secondly, although I didn't have my GPS with me, I could have sworn I was still on the western side of the nearby Greenwich meridian.
Despite these anomalies about the venue, I was in no doubt (not the group) about the band on stage. These accomplished musicians moved from the ethereal and esoteric to hard hitting hardcore rock and back again with ease. However, it's lead singer Michelle Breeze who steals the limelight. Her vocals flit from breathy and seductive to hard edged and angry to girly and gay. Her short bob of dark hair dances wildly wrapping itself around her face as she headbangs to the heavier tracks. At other times, she stands staring into space above the audience as though she can see angels flying above our heads, then breaks the trance to grab the mike and belt out some further lyrics.
One thing I found interesting about the gig was that there was no singing along by the audience, and no shouting out for favourites, which tended to suggest to me that Fetish are not about individual songs but rather about an atmosphere and feelings. Something they are good at as they do indeed create intense mood pieces.
The licensing laws in the UK meant that the gig should have finished at 11:00pm, however it was just past that dreaded hour when Fetish launched into the second song of their encore. This prompted frantic gesturing from the sound engineer who shouted to the band that they had exceeded their time. This prompted Michelle to change the lyrics of the song to a stream of screamed lyrics masterfully done in time to the music. After a verse and chorus of this, she threw the mike down and stormed off, leaving a slightly bemused band and audience. The impression though was not of a tantrum throwing diva, but of rock people doing rock things. Possibly a more memorable ending than a polite bow and a mumbled thanks.
PUTTIN' ON THE SPITZ
Fetish @ the Spitz, 9 August 2002
The Spitz backs onto Spitalfields Market, one of the largest organic produce markets in the UK which is situated on the very edge of the business district of London. I make my way through the throngs of bankers who have overflowed out of the pubs onto the pavements, enjoying the vaguely warm weather and vaguely warm beer. The venue is a large airy room with high ceilings on the sides of the room and a lowered portion in the middle in front of the stage. Ceiling fans on the sides turn furiously, creating quite a breeze.
And talking of breeze, Michelle Breeze and the rest of the band make a low key entrance on stage and launch into their first number. Like most bands, the lead singer is the centre of attention, but I found here that the band seemed to be even more in the background than normal. But that wasn't because they weren't any good. They were extremely professional and competently got on with their business without any airs and graces. This left Michelle free to drag the audience in with her breathy whispered vocals, or whip them up to a frenzy with her snarling angry venting.
She is an emotional performer, often seeming to climb inside herself as she stands trance like with her eyes closed, feeling the music and vibe around her, being a part of it, but somehow detached. Sometimes she would hide behind her fringe, or fling it wildly around depending on the pace of the music.
It was a slick, professional show and quite sophisticated. As I walked back to Liverpool Street station, one of the big commuter stations in the city, I'm surrounded by the bankers, now quite inebriated, all heading home from the closing pubs. In some ways this fits in with the gig, professional, but with it's hair let down.
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