Reviewed Nov. 13, 1992.
Together with Spin magazine, English record label Fontana Records presented three of the label’s alternative bands for this tour in an effort to break them into the mainstream music world.
Unfortunately, the Palace’s usual poor sound quality detracted from potential excellence. Distortion replaced rather than complimented the music throughout much of the co-headliners’ sets, burying much of the inventive and captivating melodies and harmonies of the two bands.
Neither headliner provided much in the way of an active stage show, although Catherine Wheel offered a little more enthusiasm and motion.
Even without great sound quality, those familiar with Catherine Wheel’s music were entranced. Fronted by Rob Dickinson, brother of Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson, the band created a psychedelic mood with minor key signatures, inventive songs and a wide range of dynamics, usually traveling from haunting passages of gentle rhythm and mellow guitars to a crunch of guitars, a technique particularly effective in their magnum opus, the eight-minute “Black Metallic.”
Celebrating their third album, House of Love sang dark melodies over upbeat, danceable rhythms, but offered only the occasional enraged musical explosion and failed to bond with the audience–unfortunate, since House of Love has much to offer audience members in its thoughtful, exploratory lyrics.
Opening act Ocean Colour Scene offered by far the most energetic and visually entertaining show. Lead singer Simon Fowler flung himself randomly all over the stage, displaying his passion for the group’s flavorful pop songs, spiced with a variety of influences, including Middle Eastern riffs.