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Tom Tom Club
Vicar St., Dublin
Paul Nolan, 22 Aug 2011
It has been new wave legends week in Dublin; on Wednesday, Blondie played a blinder in the Olympia, and tonight, we’re being treated to a performance by Talking Heads offshoot Tom Tom Club, the disco-funk outfit who almost rivalled their parent group for the extremely high quality and huge influence of their output.
Given a short and sweet intro by BP Fallon, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz’ six-piece crew deliver a masterclass in scintillating art-funk action. The husband and wife team of Weymouth and Frantz are a rhythm section that stand comparison with any other, and their irresistible grooves underpin a series of pulsating tunes, such as ‘She’s Dangerous’, ‘Punk Lolita’ (dedicated to “our good friend Debbie Harry”), ‘The Man With The 4-Way Hips’ and ‘Suboceana’.
Wearing a glittery blue dress and with her blonde hair tied in bunches, Weymouth is a charismatic front woman, throwing shapes and bantering with the crowd throughout. A full set from Tom Tom Club also makes you aware of just what an inspiration they’ve been to other groups, with the sunny melodies having the same sort of feelgood vibe that would come to dominate much of Gorillaz’ material, and the indelible punk-funk beats feeding into the dancefloor friendly aesthetic of LCD Soundsystem and the DFA mob.
As well as producing much imitated and sampled funk-pop classics like ‘Genius Of Love’ and ‘Wordy Rappinghood’, Tom Tom Club also have a history of producing inspired cover versions, with songs they’ve tackled including ‘Love To Love You Baby’ and ‘You Sexy Thing’. One of the highlights tonight is an oddball funk re-tooling of ‘Under The Boardwalk’, which has echoes of Devo’s similarly gonzo deconstruction of ‘Satisfaction’.
Overall, tonight’s show and Blondie’s equally impressive outing earlier in the week have been a heartening reminder of the glorious sounds that emanated from New York during that golden period of the late ’70s and early ’80s.