Melody Maker March 1989

London Camden Falcon
Someone once tried to convince me that Darren Jackson, ex of Newcastle United, was a maverick genius. This explains why every time I saw him he played like a natural talent whose only problem was he'd never seen a football in his life.

A friend to my left reckons the TVPs are diabolical tonight. But then he hasn't seen them before and doesn't know any of the songs. They play 'Paradise Estate', 'If I Could Write Poetry', 'Someone To Share My Life With' ...all with maximum feedback and minimum control. They teeter on the brink of total collapse and finally fall off, unintentionally, when the power cuts out. 'There's a meter on the wall,' explains Dan Treacy, 'And if we play a song that's too angst-ridden it cuts us off.' Meanwhile, bassist Jowe Head continues to look identical to John Hurt and wears a gruesome medallion while gig organiser Roger is effing and blinding at some superkeen fans who have scaled a false wall for a better view.

Before the evening descends into pure panto the music returns with a cracking 'All My Dreams Are Dead' and it's even louder than before. Dan turns out one-liners as good as, 'Love is never having to say anything,' seemingly at will, and his finely honed melodies are as impressive on new songs like 'The Man Who Paints The Rainbows' as they are on old favourites. Truly of all the '77 mob, his is the only talent to remain totally intact. The only reason the TVPs aren't filling leisure complexes from Brussels to Boston is their extreme waywardness. They've played watertight three hour sets before - tonight we get a messy, leakage-drenched 40 minutes. As they end with a medley of 'Jerusalem' and 'Hand On Your Heart' it's all too much for my unbeliever friend. I couldn't have begun to explain to him why so many others were smiling. Dan Treacy, I guess, is a maverick genius.

Bob Stanley

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