Tom Tom Club


Vicar Street

Tom Tom Club at Vicar Street Dublin must be the place for CBGBs divas to hang out this month. Hot on the heels of Debbie Harry and her band Blondie comes another doyenne of the New York new wave, Tina Weymouth, who, along with her husband Chris Frantz, are the driving rhythmic force behind the sun-drenched funk outfit The Tom Tom Club. More than just a Talking Heads side-project, Tom Tom Club have wielded a huge influence on dance and hip-hop. Wordy Rappinghood was – along with Blondie’s Rapture– one of the earliest crossover rap hits, and Genius of Love has been sampled by everyone from Grandmaster Flash to Mariah Carey.

Weymouth and Frantz have reactivated Tom Tom Club to celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary, but it’s not nostalgia that’s motivating them – they really want to connect with a younger audience who might appreciate their sharp dancefloor instincts and dub-disco vibes. The Vicar Street crowd is cruelly sparse, but, following an introduction by MC BP Fallon, the band lose no time getting the party started.

Hard to believe that the blonde bass-playing chick with the long pigtails and lickle gurl frock onstage is all of 61 years old – truly dancercise does keep you looking young. Frantz still has that chubby-cheeked little-boy smile as he thumps out the relentless backbeat. The line-up is completed by long-time members Victoria Clamp on vocals and Bruce Martin on keyboards, with Pablo Martin on guitar and Kid Ginseng on turntable – he’s Frantz and Weymouth’s kid. It’s been 23 years since the band last played in Dublin, in McGonagles, but Frantz lets us know he hasn’t forgotten – even if it seems most of us have.

While l’Elephant, On, On, On, On and Don’t Say No sound rather dated, such disco-not-disco nuggets as Who Feelin’ It, Suboceana, She’s Dangerousand The Man With The 4-Way Hipsdon’t sound too out-of-place in today’s stripped-down electro-dance climate. And there’s no doubt that Weymouth’s swooping bass lines owe more than a little to Bootsy Collins.

Under The Boardwalkremains a frivolous cover, however, as does You Sexy Thing, but Genius Of Lovestill retains its innate sense of fun and discovery. Wordy Rappinghood makes a neat, tongue-twisting finale, but you just knew they wouldn’t leave without doing a couple of Talking Heads tunes: their version of Al Green’s Take Me To The Riverand their classic high-anxiety anthem, Psycho Killer.