Fischer-Z. 2.5.18. Newcastle Academy.

Fischer-z, the 40-year-old band often regarded as the showpiece for the work of John Watts, may not be a particularly well-known name in the list of interesting-pop-musicians, but it certainly should be.

Starting tonight solo before bringing his 3 piece band on for a tender and gentle version of  ’Row boys row’ Watts provides an interesting introduction for his performance, a one focused on being thankful for the past and optimistic about the future.  It’s a well-intentioned statement given that, well, he does have a fantastic back catalogue and his newer material are tonight’s highlights.

‘After all this time’, and ‘Wild wild wild’, two of the newer tracks this evening, are the stars of tonight’s show.  Funky, and underpinned by complex musical architecture, both tracks are pop music with a heart and soul.  ‘Time’, perhaps a close relation to anything from ‘Graceland’ with it’s African rhythms and feel-good, summer, sound is sensational.  Upbeat, riff-tastic, and supported by deep grooves, this is a sign of a band with a healthy future and a one still in the belief that meaningful messages can be hidden within an accessible sound which causes you to forget about everthing.

Older classics ‘Room service’, ‘Pretty paracetamol’ and ‘So long’ are played brilliantly by the four piece and serve it’s purpose of reminding us of the back catalogue of the Fischer Heads.   ‘Room’ captures the early 80s dub-meets-pop groove of the Police in their pomp, whilst ‘Pretty’ places an upbeat weird Bowie meets Sparks groove into an extended guitar play out.  Delivered exceptionally well, these are absolute pop gems.

With new music on the horizon, and a great band to deliver them in a live setting, it would meet the will of the pop gods if Fischer-z were able to raise their profile and remind music lovers that some of the best music is still there to be found.

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