Assorted scribblings of a dog-eared music journalist

Muzik | Live | June 1997 | Photos: Melanie Cox


Guitars are crap. It's a simple and obvious fact of modern life. Except when it comes to Luscious Jackson, that is.

Unless you've spent the last few months in some kind of secure unit, you're probably well aware of Luscious Jackson's "Naked Eye" single. Or at least that Paragliders remix. Perhaps you've even checked out the New York band's "Fever In Fever Out" album. In which case, you'll know what a terrific post-club Saturday night come-down it can be. What's more, unlike some of those old Mixmaster Morris records, the tracks still sound pretty bloody good on Sunday afternoon.

Augmented by a DJ fella who warms up the crowd with some ancient electro tunes and throws in a little scratching during the show itself, the five ladies cut it live too. It's easy to understand why the Beastie Boys signed the band to their Grand Royal imprint. Especially considering the way Gabby Glaser wields her guitar. There are times when she gets so hangdawg-diggerdy funky on the six-stringed plank that vocalist Jill Cunniff can barely sing for wiggling.

"Why Do I Lie?" is a case in point. On record, it is acoustic and melancholic, but tonight it sounds like Earth, Wind & Fire's "Forever" stripped to the bone and hauled up to humpbacked heaven. With the help of some mighty cool percussion and enough jazzy keyboard runs to make a lounge lizard purr, "Soothe Yourself" maintains the vibe, while "Mood Swing" is slinky pop meets lo-fi hip hop. It's what The Go-Go's would have been like if Belinda Carlise had shared an analyst with Afrika Bambaataa. Only the cover of Serge Gainsbourg's "69" doesn't sparkle as much as the other songs. Not that the locals seem to care.

Just as Luscous Jackson have plainly been listening to a lot of what's been going on in the world of bpms over the last couple of years, the dance acts that are now trying to move forward on the live front could do worse than seeing how these girls do it. For one thing, Luscious Jackson don't have a DAT. They do have Gabby Glaser, though. Guitars are great, aren't they?

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