Evening Standard showcase evening at the Queen Elizabeth Hall
It's not surprising that their cult following is worldwide - a Tiger Lillies gig is a journey into wild emotion that passes right through melodrama and out the other side into bizarre beauty.
London Evening Standard Magazine, 5 August 1994
By DAVID GALE
When David Byrne first saw goateed Patrick McHughes of the Tiger
Lillies on video, he exclaimed, 'James Joyce on drums!' Byrne was so
impressed by the bohemian band's extraordinary sound that he has booked
them into a showcase evening at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, along with
three bands from his own Luaka Bop label. They warm up with their own
gig in the Purcell Room the day before.
The Tiger Lillies
play like a force of nature. Singer Martyn Jacques has a countertenor,
verging on soprano, voice that soars, swoops and growls as the mood
demands. And the mood can get very intense indeed. Supported by double
bass, drums and his own accordion playing, Jacques appears to go into a
deep trance as soon as the band kicks in. His eyes roll up into his
skull, his head wrenches to one side as if in spasm, and sweat streams
from under his brown woolly hat. The songs of street life are
short, savage and passionate, with an unfashionably moral tone that
comes in a startling mix of opera, gypsy song and boulevard ballads.
Jacques lived in Soho for six years, writing songs, training his voice
and spying on the lowlife. The band came fully on stream two years ago.
With 120 songs in their repertoire and a new one written every few
days, they hit the club and pub circuit six nights a week. It's not
surprising that their cult following is worldwide - a Tiger Lillies gig
is a journey into wild emotion that passes right through
melodrama and out the other side into bizarre beauty.