June 03, 1988
TT the Bears Place • Boston
Any seasoned Jazz Butcher fan will probably react, upon seeing the band's current lineup, with a hearty "Where's Max?" Ever since the first single the JB's appeal has been largely based on the partnership between the dark-sunglassed singer/guitar-strummer, "the Butcher" (now referred to as "Pat Fish," at least in the Relativity band bit)), and guitar-plucker/singer Max. "Oh, he's got himself into an office job somewhere," was the Butcher's reply when the inevitable Max questions came from the audience.
The Butcher has rebounded with an all new band, and this all new album, titled Fishcoteque (Creativity). The new band is more raw, and the chemistry's different. The Butcher is more clearly the frontman now. The sometimes jazz flavored doodlings of Max's guitar have been replaced with a more driving jangle. Vocal harmonies are less delicate (and accurate), but louder.
The band played material off the older records and some of the new stuff, including the inevitable dabble in white boy hip hop. Have you noticed that few British bands can resist giving pseudo rapping a try? (See Style Council, Housemartins, Woodentops. The list goes on.) When will they learn that taped samples and rapid-fire words do not a def jam make (especially in the Butcher's case with his posh accent).
But enough about the music! The reason for going to a club is to be entertained, and the Jazz Butcher always seems to deliver. Butch can't play that well, or sing, or even write songs, but he is fun to experience—weird tall guy, all hunched over strumming like mad.
The best part of the show is always the Butcher's witty banter with audience. When someone yelled that the whole band looked anemic, the Butcher replied, "Of course, we're from the UK." After botching up the set list and introducing the wrong song, Butch smiled and said, "You can get away with kind of thing in Italy. You say whatever you way and they just smile and applaud."
By the end of the set, the crowd was dancing and sweaty. The band ripped through an encore of Camper Van's "Take the Skinheads Bowling" with a sort of pub rock-like fury. Nothing was really mind blowing, but all in the show was entertaining.
—S.J. Hurley BOSTON ROCK #91