the time THE STEMS are finishing their set with a staggering She’s A Monster, my face hurts from smiling so much and my voice is shot from singing along! holy moly they were fantastic. There’s always a real danger of disappointment when a really cool band from a long time ago reforms for whatever reason. Will they be able to recreate the magic, the sounds and the energy after 17 years apart? Will they live up to the memories (or the legend), will they look old (or make me feel old)? When they were around the first time in the mid 1980’s riding the wave of 60s influenced garage rock (Lime Spiders, Hoodoo Guru’s, et al) they were one of the most exciting bands you could ever want to see. They looked and sounded great : all pointy boots, paisley shirts, pageboy hairdos, Rickenbackers, Vox amps, groovy keyboards and an armful of killer songs. But that was almost 20 years ago, could they still pull it off.
The paisley shirts and do’s were gone but last Thursday The Stems surpassed our wildest dreams, with a perfect set of sixties tinged garage rock, dripping in perfect pop, the songs are still killers and band air tight. Dual singers Dom Mariani and Richard Lane have had their differences in the past, the hatchet seems well buried, with them obviously digging playing these classic songs together. Make You Mine, Can’t Resist, Love Will Grow, At First Sight and the underground classic Tears Me In Two were slotted amongst b-sides and album faves like My Beach and Mr Misery. They are so powerful, their songs so tuneful, I felt I should be out in the streets dragging people in to see a blueprint of how to be a fantastic band.
The night belonged to the mighty Stems, let’s do this again – soon!