Melody Maker : 13 Oktober 1984

SPK/Big Flame
ICA, London

[Big Flame]
Isn't it surprising how quickly some bands have moved from reaction to reactionary. SPK have bisected a line between Depeche Mode and Test Dept and called it home. The Revox was switched on, chains were whipped against oil drums, while Sinan (dressed in a natty Aikidoh outfit) fended off blows from a Ninja assassin. To be honest, I've always found Graeme's changing hairstyle more interesting than his Muzak. But after one number the tape was halted, and Graeme announced that SPK were unable to continue their set because of prior arguments with the GLC and its fire regulations.
Oh calamity... and all because his live-on-stage sculptural arc-welding concept had been dampened. I bet the Vorticists never had this trouble. After a bewildering five minutes, the crowd finally realised that ol' Graeme was taking himself seriously, and thus the usual bellicose "we want our money back" muttering ensued... The Venue revisited.
Outraged punters carpeted the ICA with its own pamphlets in a fierce display of contempt for one and all. Well what do you expect from half the population of Camden and South Ken, another Toxteth? Graeme tried to assuage the foyer "rioters" by indulging in a spot of public speaking, but his messianic oration seemed to fall on fallow ground. A couple of constables arrived on the scene just in case this volatile situation were to erupt into violence. The most serious injury of the evening occurred when someone slipped over a leaflet.
Meanwhile, the buck was passed from the band, to the ICA, to the GLC, to the Fire Department and back again. I lost track of it in mid-flight and went off to find Peely, who had apparently gone home. Smart man that John, and still one step ahead of the pack - he caught his cold yesterday.
SPK lost a fair few fans today, the ICA were forced to refund pennies, and the unnamed sculptor (who had caused all the trouble in the first place) never got to exhibit his works.
No band, no buck, no Peel... Thank God there's still more Harp!

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