Transvision Vamp recently blazed a path right through Australia's rock heartland, with lead voxtress Wendy James causing commotions and coronaries wherever she appeared - and whatever she appeared in! Our own intrepid reporter Marc "The Only One" Andrews was "hot" on their trail for the Vamps month in OZ...
Wendy James isn't one for beating about the bush! She's a hard rocking girlie type for the 90's When Wend gets her kaboodle on stage, as she managed quite a few times when recently here in Australia, backed with Tex, nick and Dave ( plus two other odd bods roped in to make the sound " fuller". Transvision vamp became one pulsating , throbbing grab of plastered rock.
Interestingly enough, Trans Vamp and Wendy James are probably more popular here in Australia than anywhere else, even though they have had a string of hits in the UK, ( They've yet to make an impression on the American charts) both I Want Your Love and Baby I Don't Care have gone Top 5 here, while each of there albums have sold in the vacinity of 100,000 copies! The fact that the band sold out every single gig they played ( 16 shows in all ) while they were here proves the point.
The band and their entourage arrived in the country on July 24 and left almost a month a later on August 20. In that time they managed to rock Australia raw like no one had done before.
The two days of the band in the country saw Wendy and Nick push a grueling schedule of interviews for TV, radio, newspapers and magazines.
Thankfully they managed to see a bit of sunshine when they traveled up to Queensland the next day for a show at Seagulls on the Gold Coast and then played two gigs in Brisbane at the Alexandra Hotel and Calamvale Hotels. Right form the word go Aussie audiences lapped up that Vampin' sound and "soldout" notices were going up everywhere the Vamp played.
From the sunny climes of Queensland they traipsed sown to Melbourne. But before the first of their two dates at Melbourne's Metro Nightclub ( where countdown revolution is filmed ) there were more interviews to attend to. On their first day off, August 2nd, they all visited an animal farm at Monbulk ( in Melbourne ) and had a barbecue lunch with people from their record company. Then it was back to the job at hand.
The first of Trans Vamp in-store appearances took place - this time at Brashes in Melbourne, followed by a trip out to the Metro to perform two songs for Countdown Revolution. Wendy had also set aside time for Tania Lacey to show her some items of "apparel" that she'd bought to help her cover up accordingly , Included amongst the items was a flannelette shirt and some Ken Done Gumboots!!!
The next day saw some more filming take place, this time for Hey Hey It's Saturday. Wendy also got to sit in the hotseat for Red Faces and throw a mean ( fake) pie in the esteemed face of Molly Meldrum. There was also a show to play that evening at Festival Hall.
The band then went inland and played a gig at the Tuggeranong Valley Rugby Union Club in Canberra and then on to dates at Snowy Lakes in Jindabyne. There they had a chance to indulge themselves in a spot of skiing at Perisher Valley too.
From their brief stint with the white stuff ( i.e. snow ) it was back to Sydney via Newcastle (where they also played a night) for our Vampers... And three concerts. One of the gigs was a special under 18's show that was like their others - a complete sellout.
More TV was required that day when Wendy hung around the set of Saturday Morning live. Later that day the whole band appeared for another instore showing - this time at the Virgin Megastore in Darling Harbor.
On the Sunday, Nick, Dave and the crew visited the aquarium at Darling Harbor and caught the hydrofoil to Manly, Wendy Slept. Thankfully she was woken in time for The Vamp to fly to Adelaide for a further round of interviews. ( Do these people ever rest? - Ed ) and a show at the Old Lion Hotel. It was then onto Perth when the band did more interviews and a whopping four shows. On Sunday August 20 they were back in Sydney en-route to London...and left promising to return soon, leaving Australian vamp fans with fond memories of TVV's heart throbbin' live shows.
THE LIVE SHOW
Likewise the band kicked of their mesmerizing mix of bleached 60's rock with a few black roots with "Pychosonic Cindy". It didn't take long for the audiences to warm up to Wendy and co either. Infact from the minute the lights dimmed, and the band took the stage, the audience were as raw and untamed as the band is polished and accomplished. "You're a spunk Wendy" was a common catch call and there was no mistaking the raw sexuality and presence that our girl projects on stage.
Wendy "no middle names and I've never had a nickname either, unless you count "Wend" " James laps up the adoration. She strutted around the stage in a battered Denim jacket which gave way later in the shows to a shimmering short skirt and plunging neckline. The next tune was an old favorite and she screams at the audience, " Don't Tell That Girl To Shut Up "
More hard rocking numbers followed but before she got to "Down On You" Wendoline told us what makes her sad, "Stupidity and Dishonesty", she announced. Then it was on to the title track from "Velveteen" their latest album. Clocking in around 10 minutes ( i.e. , it's not a short song" ) but it is as a breathless Wendy informed us at the end "a real classic ".
The band was onstage for approximately 90 minutes during which they played all their hits (with the odd exception of Sister Moon and Landslide Of Love - which is the next single incidentally ) The band played Baby I Don't Care twice with the audience going ape both times - as well as a cover of the old Rolling Stones song " The Last Time" which was just a guitar crunching and gut stirring as their own numbers.
Towards the end of their performance, Wendy slunk out of her jacket down to a spangly black, body hugging sleeveless skirt. The audience, Wendy lovers one and all gave an appreciative whoop. Although everyone present loved the sound of Transvision Vamp. Their visual presentation certainly did not go unnoticed.
And although the rest of the band stayed fairly much in the back ground ( except for the cutesy antics of Tex Axile on Keyboards who performed cartwheels, the splits and waved his hands in the air an awful lot ) they all plugged away at their instruments to ensure the Vamp sound live is as good, if not better, than on record.
Transvision Vamp gave Australia a month of sheer, undulating rock and roll bliss while they were here and when Wendy declared at the end of each concert " I Love you, see you soon" you know it wont be too long before they are blasting our shores apart again.