Sputnik is not dead. But it is certainly different.
It would only be fair to say that I was worried before attending this gig. After all Martin Degville - one of the world's most charismatic front men from my favourite band Sigue Sigue Sputnik - had just been sacked from the band. So I didn't really know what to expect.
It started with a pre-gig meet'n'drink at the pub World's End in Camden right next to the venue. It turned out to be a very limited amount of fans who showed up. We were only Sputnikfred and Sputnik the biker and my friend Mike and I. Also a few (Sputnik)virgins came by.
The poor number of fans there didn't really matter since the beer was cold and we happened to get interviewed by a guy from X-Ray magazine. You can read the interview here.
At some point we thought we'd had enough beers and went to the venue - The Underworld. Inside we had a look at the t-shirts, a few new: black freekster, camouflage tour shirt and Mickey mouse is going to hell. Also a sputnik tour poster was for sale. After that I had a chat with Jenny and watched some of the support acts. None of those bands really blew me away...
What I would say about the venue itself is that it was pretty lousy. They have played at many locations in London and this place was one of the worst. Especially the room with the stage didn't appeal to me at all. Sound wasn't that bad though.
Well the Sputniks came on and they played a great mix of songs: oldies(no "Sex Bomb Booogie", why?!), some of the newer from "Blak Elvis", "Pirate Space" and "Ultra Real", and also the new cool song "Grooving With Mr Pervert" and a great version of "Ghost Rider". Neal did a great job at both singing and playing rock'n'roll guitar, and all of them seemed to have decided to live with the new line-up and the new situation. The performance was actually pretty good.
That said, Martin was clearly missed by many fans. When you looked at the stage you couldn't help to wonder: Tony on the left, Jenny in the back, and Neal on the right, and ehhh...no one in the middle? Something was clearly missing there. Something that had more charisma and stage energy than most people can even imagine.
Sputnik now are still great if you catch them live. They are just not Sputnik as they used to be. They are different. With the sacking of Martin it is clear that Tony (and Neal) also lost some rather big part of their image. Of the way the band looks. Of the live act. So they clearly have something to work with if they want to restore / reinvent that.
And now to the thing I have come to hate most about these Sputnik gigs in London (except for how much I hate that Martin is now out of the band): Why the HELL do those crappy SHIT venues have to kick people out 1 second after the last guitar chord has been played?! Kick people out and then try to make them pay to get in again. How stupid do they think people are?! This ruins a lot of the atmosphere since you get very frustrated and angry every time you go thru this. Also it meant that you didn't get a chance to talk to the band (this time with some rather interesting questions), no chance for autographs and photos. Only one thing to say: Next time choose Dingwallls! Best Sputnik gig I've seen. Best venue. Best Sound. And most importantly: They did NOT throw people out immediately after the gig.
But to sum it up: Sputnik is not dead. But it is certainly different. They may still have some very cool stuff / experiences in store for us. So let's wait for the future. It's just around the corner...
That's it for now. See you next time at a Sputnik or Degville gig.