Pulp #3/4 - 1978


The first time I saw the Boys Next Door play live I was (to be quite frank), well...bored. But over the past few months I've seen them develop into what I consider to be the best practising rock'n'roll band in Melbourne.

I arrived at Bananas with Nick Cave (vcls) 2 1/2 hrs or so before the band were due to play. On the way over in the taxi Nick had been excitedly telling me about their new songs - "Can't do it", "Maybe Zone" and "Sex Crimes" (which Nick claims to be the best and loudest song in the world). These three bring the number of songs in their standard set up to about 30.

The next couple of hours were spent thusly:
A. Dragging equipment into Bananas.
B. Trying to look important so as to be allowed in free.
And C. Indulging in the zany hi-jinx that these fun-loving fellas tend to do (sorry).

Anyway, enough of this journalist as star routine and on with the substance.


The Boys Next Door hit the stage around 9.00 with "I Need a Million" by the N.Y. based Laughing Dogs. Shortly after 9.00 myself and 20 or so others were informed of Iggy Pop's cancellation so we were hardly in a receptive mood.

Apart from the music the first thing you notice is Nick; black hair cut in a very Sid Vicious fashion, green shirt with large polka dots, stove pipe trousers and a highly unsuitable tie. He appears to be in a state of constant hyperactivity; dancing, shaking, straining. His voice isn't the usual new wave vocal, not falling into the Johnny Rotten shout, the Joey Ramone muted staccatto, the Joe Strummer man-on-the-street bawl or any preselected category.

Mick Harvey plays lead guitar and is improving all the time. He claims to be influenced by Paul Weller of the Jam, though he also delivers a few solos in the fashion of Manzanera. Phillip Calvert plays drums in a staccatto attacking style. And last, Tracey plays very good bass.

All through the first set they appeared to be having problems with the energy level. Which is a great pity because songs like "Funny isn't it" and "Big Future" are really excellent, and their version of "I"m 18" kills Alice Cooper's. It wasn't until "Sex Crimes" that they really got going. "Sex Crimes" along with "This Perfect Day" is one of Australia's new wave classics. It's simply that good.

End of first set.

During the break the place really fills up and it was dancing time. But the first song in the second set is Lou Reed's "Caroline Says pt2", so you just had to wait. Most Berlin lovers would cringe at the idea of the Boys Next Door doing "Caroline" but they did it well. Next up was "Show me a Sign"; great to dance to and instantly memorable, a hit. Then it was Mick Harvey's "Who Needs You", their surf song "World Panic", "Joyride" (another great No 1 with rave backup vocals), "All this Fuss", "Masturbation Generation", "Success Story", the excellent "Secret Life" with its wonderful spanish guitar break and (the song Nick once introduced with "I wrote this song...with Nancy Sinatra") "These Boots are Made for Walking". Great. There were no two ways about it, the audience wanted MORE. "This is 'Sex Crimes pt 2' said Nick, and they kicked into that song again.

'Sex crimes on the lawn
and all the children that are born
are committing crimes and doing things
with aerials and piano strings'

- Rowland S. Howard