Saturday, 16 July 2011

Life of Live Pele

Pele were one of those bands that the music press seemed to love to hate. The had the misfortune of being a folky guitar pop band in the time when dance dominated the charts. If they'd just managed to hang on until Britpop their time may well have come. Every new single was slated with the kind of vindictive comments that made you wonder why they had bothered to review it in the first place. I'm not sure why they generated such ill feeling, the band leader Ian Prowse was opinionated and gobby (but this never seemed to do Ian McCulloch any harm) and at their worst the hum along violin skates close to Come on Eileen Dexy's.


However, I love the fact the songs have that great sing a long quality and cliche alert but they really come alive in concert. At the time I had to come down to the Leeds office quite a bit and when I did I'd stay at a friend's house in Bradford (which would involve eating an extra large pizza hut pizza each and playing an early version of Mario Kart until the early hours - we are both fans of the healthy lifestyle ). Occasionally we would wander out and Pele were one of the bands that we used to go an see as they seemed to be permanently on tour.


The first time I saw them was to promote the debut lp Fireworks and most of the audience seemed to know all the songs off by heart and were singing along from the off. The pacing was frenetic form the start and it was definitely a soaking t shirt kind of gig.


At the time their logo was really strong and I bought a t shirt from the merchandise stand with the lyric " I think too much and I drink too much" on the back. I used to play Badminton on a Tuesday night in Leicester and for some reason ended up wearing this t shirt. The coach was this old guy in his lat 60s who was a bit of a puritan . He wasn't too impressed with the t shirt and suggested it wasn't appropriate wear for an athlete (the first and last time I'd ever been described as an athlete) he then proceeded to give a talk aimed at the girls ( I say girls but they were all in the 30s which made the whole speech even odder) in the group which basically translated as clean living athletes made the best husbands (unlike boys in Pele t shirts). From then on in it became a battle of wills with the coach not talking to me as I kept wearing the t shirt until I eventually moved to London.

Ian Prowse had strong political views and I'd like to think he would have been happy that his lyrics could have caused such a bizarre reaction.

The track I've posted seemed to be played twice as fast live and even now if I hear the words Sean O Casey (which admittedly I don't that often) I have to stop myself going into a chicken slam dance
You can buy Fireworks here

2 comments:

  1. I had forgot all about Pele. I saw them at the Joiners Arms, February 1992. I'm sure I have their first single Raid the Palace somewhere.

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  2. They were a great live band, nver quite managed to get that across on reocrd

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