It was as packed as I’d ever seen Fix Cafe for one of SoundFix Records‘ in-stores, not to mention the widest range of ages. I was under the impression that Scritti Politti frontman Green Gartside was performing solo, but it was in fact the whole band and if they weren’t bringing all their gear, they still hauled in a lot of stuff.
Scritti Politti played Bowery Ballroom the night before and Gartside admitted to being massively hungover due to post-show partying that didn’t end till 5 AM. Add to that a borrowed guitar that didn’t have guide dots on the fretboard, and this show was a bit loose, especially for a known perfectionist, and Gartside apologized repeatedly for his voice. He needen’t have, his sugar-sweet vocals sounded just fine — great even if you consider he is 51 and most of his contemporaries haven’t been able to hit the high notes for years. (Ian McCulloch, I’m talking about you.)
If he was a bit rough, his band — comprised of musicians half his age, which he found at his local pub, if you believe the press release — sounded great and did a good with everything from the the more "indie" sounds of Scritti Politti’s new album, White Bread, Black Beer, and early singles, to the whiteboy dance funk that made the band Top 40 stars the ’80s. I really can’t stomach the cheesy production on the band’s supposed masterpiece Cupid & Psyche 85, so it was nice to hear "Word Girl" without the gated drums and Fairlight synths.
The band played for nearly an hour, hitting "Dr. Abernathy," "After Six," and set highlight "Cooking" from White Bread, Black Beer, plus "The Word Girl," "Sweetest Girl" and big hit "Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)" which fell apart two minutes in and precipitated Gartside calling it a day.