March 14th | Rough Trade
Photos: Jon Kean
The start of their spring tour. Also the end of their spring tour. Seeing Tungz in Rough Trade’s Live Room on Saturday night was a bittersweet reminder of what we’re going to miss while the industry goes into some reluctant, enforced, yet somehow necessary isolation. To be fair, it was at least 90% sweetness, all emanating from the fizzy sugar rush that the quartet brings to a show. Bitterness can’t really dwell or survive for long when you’re being entertained by guys who seem like they’re off their bonces on Haribo.
Support came from Tamasene, or half of said band to be accurate. Elliot Ellison played guitar and sang. Bill Wells performed all other duties via three keyboards, including bass. ‘Twitchin’ was introduced with “This is about having a panic attack at a party and having to leave. Enjoy!” ‘Before Your Head Gets Sore’ and ‘Daydreams In Limousines’ were also songs to make attendees take enthusiastic note when Elliot spoke of their monthly Gallimaufry residency. The latter track possessed an especially alluring mix of Pink Floydy psych-folk, Cat Stevens and Nick Drake, but in a decidedly 21st Century style. It was all as engagingly understated as Tungz were extravagantly extrovert.
In the same way that people travel to holy sites to seek cures for ailments, one trip to a Tungz show will inevitably bring remedy to those who either can’t or won’t dance. Before their final song, ‘Touch’, guitarist and vocalist, Jamie Maier suggested, “Let’s make this next song twelve minutes long. We’re never going home.” Nicky Green added, “Come and stay at our house for the rest of the year.” Anyone fearing the impending pressure of social isolation will have been eyeing up the seclusion of Rough Trade’s Live Room throughout the headliners’ set, and wondering if someone could just kindly lock the doors for a few weeks and chuck in a few essential supplies. It would have made for the most glorious of lock-ins.
“I just wanna live alone, in my own little world,” sang Nicky on ‘What I Wanted.’ Most apt. Could he just let us come with him, perhaps?
Highlights of the set included current single, ‘Can’t We Just Be Friends Again’, ‘Window Love’ and opener, ‘Analogue You’. The entire show was evidence of how everything just works within the dynamic of Tungz. Jamie Maier stood, front and centre, not only dispensing his band roles with aplomb, but with the magnetism, stance and expressions of either a stand-up comic or a WWE wrestler. Rick Holland on drums had the permanent amused smile of that lad at the back of every school classroom who’s about to do something subversive. Ollie Horne’s bass playing was some kind of natural stimulant and Nicky Green had the hardest-working mic stand in showbiz, so much was it grabbed and dragged to follow his relentless movements to the music. He literally danced his shoes off during the closing track.
Let’s hope that Tungz will return in autumn for their spring tour, the rest of which was shelved after Monday’s governmental moves to dissuade congregation. Let’s hope that the rescheduled tour includes a repeat of their epic one-gig-tour Bristol show. We’ll miss shows like this for the foreseeable. But having been to this show will help to see us through.
Listen to ‘Can’t We Just Be Friends Again’ here: