Sunday, 28 April 2013

Flesh & Fell

One of the best bands I saw supporting TSOM in the 80’s was Flesh & Fell, the Belgian group who had the distinction of supporting the band in their own home country on their first dates after the departure of Gary Marx in 1985. The original duo of Cathérine Vanhoucke and Pierre Goudesone had had an EBM darkwave club hit with their début single The Hunger on the legendary Belgian label PIAS (Play It Again Sam), produced by Jean-Marie Aerts, guitarist in the legendary (in Europe, if not in the UK) TC Matic. By the time the band supported The Sisters at Gent’s Zaal Vooruit, the band had fleshed out into a four piece, with the addition of a guitarist and drummer, and their powerful electro-goth kept the audience enthralled during their short set, a kind of cross between Nina Hagen and Fad Gadget. Cathérine had a strong stage presence, a whirl of blond curls and (obviously fashionable in Flanders) brown leather, and the band got a positive response to their set, the highlight of which was their own cover of Hot Chocolate’s Emma, which was also by then the focal point of TSOM’s own live show, and the Sisters’ Peel session version had made the dizzy heights of number 15 in the previous year’s Peel’s Festive Fifty, a rarity for a song yet to have a commercial release (at that stage). With the break-up of FALAA Sisters, F&F took advantage to release their own version of Emma, to critical acclaim in the Low Countries. That was as good as it got for them, sadly, but despite having a career of only two maxi-singles, the band remained cult favourites and like so many contemporaries of that era, various versions of the band have played intermittently over the past five years. In 2008 Goudesone spoke to Peek-a-boo online magazine about their time supporting the Sisters and the Emma cover : “The pricks sabotaged our set because of that and especially of not delivering the substances we were supposed to offer them as a support-act. Later on we recorded Emma, I knew Calvin Hayes (son of Mickey Most owner of RAK records and the label of Hot Chocolate) and gave him a tape, Mickey showed interest in our version and we had a meeting with him in London, but finally it happened with EMI Belgium and the rest is history.”