Get Happy!

review of live show at The Marquee, London (UK), June 29, 1989

by Andy Hurt, Sounds (UK), July 8, 1989

Came expecting wonderful things, went home smugly contented. Bloody great band, thoroughly impartial review. End. So good you can make the final, glowing paragraph the opening paragraph. Why...?

Firstly, there's no pretension, none whatsoever, just five very different people giving a whole new meaning to the word unison. Individually they have their moments, but together they're one proton short of a nuclear explosion.

The Pursuit of Happiness are a mess of contradictions which miraculously make complete sense. They are total pop. Then they are mean mutha kick ass bastard from hell rock. Then they are both in the same song.

Visually they are just as diverse. Five Canadians (this being the Chinese year of the mountie), three males, two non-males. If you ever had to manufacture from nothing but imagination one rock and roll bass player and one rock and roll drummer, these would be they. This pair can drink their beer without first bothering to open the can. In their spare time they mind bouncers.

Then there are the two rock and roll chicks (girls that play in a band that does songs like 'Looking For Girls' and 'The Handsomest Guy And The Prettiest Girl In Town' are most definitely called chicks). Chris (sic) is blonde, Leslie is brunette, both have poodle hairstyles. Chris is disturbingly petite, looking as though she'll shatter the next time one of those power chords is set loose. Not Leslie. Oh, no.

It transpires that Leslie is a personable, polite, friendly, nice girl. But onstage this mama is one helluva sex bitch goddess from Mars. Of course all the guys want her body, of course all the girls think she's a slut. This IS rock! She sings sweet, she plays an effective occasional acoustic guitar. Her body does things you thought only existed in comic books. Come to papa!

Then there's Moe Berg. Nerd kid brother of Francis Rossi, an eccentric archaeologist who chanced upon an electric guitar and discovered his hands had been possessed by the spirit of Jimi Hendrix. His between song banter is chummy in a "Golly, who, me?" kind of way. He rips up a Kylie postcard, recites a story about a Saudi Arabian chief executioner, enquires of the crowd whether his beer (Carling) is better than Bud (is a plane crash a better was to die than a car crash?). This is the world of Moe Berg.

Then the long, thin blond hair of the long, thin wan goes haywire - ditto the audience. They open with the merciless 'Killed By Love' and follow it with one dynamite song after another, inevitably concluding the set with the rock single of '89, 'I'm An Adult Now.' A three-song encore, finishing with Elvis' 'Little Sister'. Simply fabulous. Moe Berg is not God, but he's probably God's nerd kid brother.

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