no wave
Ted Milton (sax, vocal, violin)Steve Eagles (guitar)Paul Wigens (drums)
With Blurt, the audience knew exactly what to do: stand in a line and stare at this singular group leader. Ted Milton fixes his eye on every late arrival. You know you must pay keen attention to this demented Latin master, part gleeful madman and part dictator. The music is incredibly forceful, bare-boned and efficient. Eagles has perfected the lean look of the veteran punk. The relentless yet springy attack of his distorted guitar kept everything in its grip. Wigens is straight man of the group, keeping edgily perfect beats while the others indulge their bizarre proclivities. Milton drank a half-bottle of scotch in breaks during the set, which chimed perfectly with his old geezers suit, braces of the cufflinked shirt and Mohican. A member of the audience complained that we couldnt make out the words, but Miltons decisive poses silhouette for the blurted sax breaks, frozen gestures of pleading and dismay were transfixing enough. There is currently a wave of art theorists arguing that performance art was secret dynamo of artistic radicalism over the last three decades. The art posse will have to look hard to come up with anything as visually arresting as Miltons series of living statues. The last time I sow Blurt, Milton has more musicians in town, and come across like UK version of James Chance. No matter how powerful, the trio version cant manage the florid simultaneity of harmolodics. After an hour, Blurts cartoon simplicity so Professor Brainstorm, so Carry On, so British can seem a little bleak, but its so rare to see anything so single minded and achieved on stage, you have to remain watching. When the list is made of the authentic inheritors of Kurt Schwitterss line of subversive nonsense orators who question the power relations of rhetoric, and unleash weevils of humor and independent thought into the grain bags of wealth and power Te! d Milton will require a special place. This review was first published in The Wire issue 219 May 2002 2002 Ben Watson/The Wire with permission