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- Trans Am »
“Yeah, they’ve kinda returned to their old _ ‘Red Line’_ chuggy stuff” muses a beard at the bar. “Thank God”.
Aww. Why did no one like 'TA', Trans Am’s 2002 rattle through ‘80’s cheese? Planes had flown into buildings, George W had unleashed his Holy War and an LP which sounded like Har Mar Superstar minus the sleazoid wit and slick dance moves seemed frivolous as well as disappointingly anaemic, _ that’s why_, pardner.
Fortunately, the mysterons that take the stage tonight are three sentinels of the Dark Trans Am Sound. That ole bloodcurdling malevolence we know and love.
Two squires of the synth and guitar preside at each side of the stage in surgeon’s apparel: Mr Orange to the left, Mr Red to the right. Flanked by his attendants is Mr Blue, the shaman of the drumkit, his pecks bristling in the milky light. This colour configuration probably has astral significance, but just as Trans Am “refuse to divulge actual brand names and models”, they’re not letting on.
Mr Orange fingers a key and a thorax-rattling beat ensues while Red cuts into a car crash thrash of exhausts and sizzles. The ungodly sound is felt more than heard - the ‘Am have probably been sued for Raynaud's Phenomenon on a few occasions. Mid-rapture, Blue starts chanting in a language only understood by an as-yet unanalysed part of the human brain. I’m frozen with terror – this is surely immoral! The man is plainly inspired by some transcendent power - and from the grimace on his face, it ain’t the one that looks like Santa Claus and plays a harp. The lapsed Catholic in me resolves to find the fuse box and blow the whole debauched endeavour. But I’ve already succumbed: with every beat of Mr Blue’s skins, the wicked pleasure increases and a 1000 Hail Marys ain’t gonna save me now.
A withering sequence of bleeps is picked up by Mr Orange. It’s Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey spluttering a distress single in sonic zeros and ones. I fumble for my Binary Translator Module. It says: “Stop! Stop now! This is TOO Much!”
Silencio. Our collective heart rate eases down to a breathable pace. But the respite is short-lived.
“Come back to my house!” a terrifying voice booms. It’s surely Michael Howard with a tracheotomy. Gooseflesh breaks out on my body. “So he’s in on this obviously satanic enterprise too, eh?,” I shiver. Nah, it’s just that fella Orange with a vocoder. Striking a few goldfish-mouthed-I’m-a-bass-player poses, when Orange propels ‘Idea Machine’ with a see-sawing uP-DOwn motif, we begin to realise The Am are just fluffy humanoids like us. Red gets his fingers round a riff straight from the Best of Duran Duran Songbook while Blue breaks two consecutive sticks after laying into his tom toms and it’s nothing less than awesome.
I’ll join this cult, even if it is made up of three lanky college kids who spend most of their time playing Jet Set Willy on their prized ZX81.
We atone for our previous doubts with cheers of vigorous approval.
Mr Orange smiles and flicks a modest hand: “Shucks, that was nuttin’”.
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