TOYAH
Marquee, London

Toyah's last London gig for this year (!) was nothing short of brilliant.....a speedy progression from earlier gigs, finds the band niftier than ever, with Toyah sporting her amazing bondage space cadet look, coupled with her incredible shrinking act (at the rate she's shedding weight there soon won't be a Toyah!). 

In three months with only the mammaries...er, the memories to keep our brains alive, Toyah have perfected their music so that it stands apart from most groups. SPECIAL, in other words. 

New songs as good as the standards of today were previewed, including amongst them "Insects" on which her imagination ran riot. And the next single "Tribal Look" which at times allowed the bass and drums to find prominence with frantic parts of the Aztec disco shuffle. 

They began mysteriously early, and somehow the eternally acrobatic Miss Willcox kept up the furious pace where more experienced athletes would have wilted. Musically they offer you something different to other bands, a sense of purpose for one thing, doing it because they enjoy it. The traditional striving for commercial success comes low on the list. The music seeps into your senses and stays there, whilst the image takes some beating. 

The giant bassist who we shall call Plug, leaps around, occasionally helping Toyah on her way with a friendly boot. The drummer, who is the undisputed musical star of the show, pushes through the intensely rhythmic beat that pervades all of the tunes. Joel, ace guitarist, rips out the noise, eyeing his fiancee nervously fearing the impending assault.....and the keyboardman stands solemn but safe behind his machine concocting eerie contributions. And then the lady of the night, whether it's dousing her head in drink, swapping tongue recollections with a girl down front or attempting to eat her way through the floor. Toyah moves on, her body in flames, she exhibits her extraordinary facial contortions every few seconds. Suffice to say I find it intoxicating. 

Mick Mercer
Melody Maker 1979