Hammersmith Odeon

Hammersmith Odeon, Dec 6th 

Thousands of admiring boys and girls (mainly boys) were tuned in in a moment, as Toyah slammed on the stage. 

None of this wishy-washy warm up stuff, her presence was electrifying. With the type of microphone that you pin round your ear and keep in front of your mouth. She was able to perform, constantly on the move. 

For the entire evening, dressed in black-and-white striped panta-loons, and black and silver lurex top, she thundered across the stage, waving arms and fists. She is expansive and plays to the crowd. This is part of the excitement. Although the musicians were more than competent and alive it is really hard to remember the musical backing. 

You just remember Toyah's pointed expression, and challenging appearance as she insists ' I Want To Be Free' ' It's A Mystery'. It's impossible to forget that Toyah is, as much as anything, an actress. This is perhaps her main attraction. She injects such drama into her act, by creating energy and completely 'getting into the part'. Her voice is her major tool. In one song she can range from forlorn to jarring, from indignant to rebellious and usually ends up sounding majestic. 

Most of her songs were taken from her new album, Love Is The Law. Her new single, 'The Vow' was performed well, but it is rather strange and muted in comparison to some others. 'Dreamscape' began with smoke clouds smothering the stage. What with just about every large band using this technique, it seemed a little wasted, but it was there, I suppose, to illustrate the point. The same with the song she entitled 'Boom' where, after singing about how she could explode, she seemed to do so in a firework explosion.

But stage effects are not really Toyah's game - she leaves that to the inconsequential stage artists - she can keep an audience with her for the entire performance. Even when she sits in little corners singing little girl tunes. 

'Thunder In The Mountains' and 'Broken Diamonds' were greeted rapturously and applauded well. 

She performed two encores, raucous and very well-received. As we left, all we could hear was 'wasn't she fantastic' and 'I can't get over how good she was'. It's important not to forget that she really works at it. It's the fact that she gives everything for the moment, which a lot of other artists refuse to do. 

I only wish the band could create more excitement from the actual music. It's as if she's there, plugging in to the audience and creating rock operas in every song, and the band seem to be playing the same tune all the way through. She was extremely well accompanied by her female vocalist, who should have got more applause for harmonising so well without loosing presence in the shadows of Toyah. 

This concert gave me cause for thought, though. The mainly male audience were waving their hands and fists at Toyah, clamouring to get near the stage. Yet faced with this aggressively opinionated powered woman, how would they react? They'd probably hate her. What do men really want from women, I wonder? 

Kate Sturdy
14th December 1983