Boss Hog – NME: Snout to Write Home About! [LA 2 Review] (PRESS, UK)

29 April 2000 NME #17
Boss Hog - NME: Snout to Write Home About! [LA 2 Review] (PRESS, UK)
NME live review of Boss Hog live at London Astoria 2.

NME Article Photo: Angela Lumbrano

Photo below is from the same show taken by a friend of Pop Catastrophe.

Boss Hog - NME: Snout to Write Home About! [LA 2 Review] (PRESS, UK)

“Snout To Write Home About
Boss Hog – London WC2 LA2

There are the billboards, glorying in a vice that should really be kept private. “Fantasise in graphic detail,” they cheerily encourage, boasting of a 128 “bit” Lara Croft and blithely ignoring the fact that if you have to cast your dreams in pixels, it’s not that you need to get out more as much as be put inside. Permanently. Christ, lusting after an electronic woman – it’s really time for some kind of Health Education Authority campaign.

Where sex goes, however, rock’n’roll follows, and there’s a similar sheen of unhealthy unreality hovering around Boss Hog, a band who look so good they just have to be the brainchild of some San Fernando software shlump. Attitude – impeccable. Style – immaculate. Cristina Martinez, beautiful and spidery in black leather trousers and black satin hair, stalks the stage leggily like she’s checking her web for food; you’d suspect her of biting the head off her mate, were it not for the presence of her husband Jon Spencer on guitar, looking small but still perfectly formed, muttering behind her. Excellent drummer Hollis Queens, ex-Swan Jens Jurgensen and ecstatic keyboard maestro Mark Boyce are all in black. Yes, they are very cool, and only an overhead projection reading “marvel, worms!” would hammer the point home harder. Try and get any close, though, and you’ll bump your head against the screen, feel an electric shock, maybe, but no true pulse. The cool gene might be dominant – their rock’n’roll impulse, though, is more learnt than inherited. The Boss Hog explosion is blues, trash and hip-hop, and when they hit a groove, it’s with all the subtlety of a rubber mallet.

“Kissin’ and a huggin’ and a-MUTHAF___IN’!” hollers Spencer on the eleastic-jawed nonsense of ‘Chocolate’, and it’s so preposterous you have to be entertained. ‘I Dig U’ is a portrait of marital lust as drawn by Robert Crumb, while the kamikaze riffing of ‘Count Me Out’ and ‘Monkey’ divebomb the sidewalk seeking the terminally unhip. Yet beneath the cartoon NYC aggro of ‘What The Fuck’, the sly suggestiveness of ‘Strawberry’, this is style winning a Godzilla-sized victory over content.

It’s aspirational, domestic-bliss viewing for those too cool to watch Home Front, Wings for people who understand the importance of artificial fivres. When, as an encore, Hollis bellows out the chorus of ‘Whiteout’ Cristina’s feline purr is swamped in soul. Jon takes over the drums, Miss Queens steps forward to sing one of her own songs, and everyone falls in love. She’s flesh and blood. Warm. Human. One-hundred-and-twenty-eight bits, and there’s still a piece missing. There’s more to tune-raiding than packing – uh-huh – the right equiptment.

Victoria Segal”