Mercenary Skank/The Stone Roses
The Marquee, written by Garry Johnson
In the blue corner, Mercenary Skank - visually, very Lords Of The New Church, musically, they might have been spawned from the same sewer. In the red corner, the hotly tipped musical tearaways, The Stone Roses.
And if you think this reads like a boxing match, then you've got the right idea, cos after the Roses' recent Sounds feature where they claimed to have "blown the Skanks off stage", the office got swamped with letters and calls from the Mercenary ones nixing the idea. And so I was dispatched with the brief to referee their next debacle. My verdict, my fellow citizens, is that Stone Roses take it on points.
With punky energy firing their inventive rockers, the Stone Roses were even more impressive tonight than on the previous time I caught their act, not least because of the handsome harmony vocals they've added to their fiery brew, giving it an all together poppier feel. Strong original songs like 'Misery Dictionary' and 'Tragic Roundabout' swung my decision firmly in their favour.
The Mercenary Skanks, on the other hand, peaked with a powerful anthemic version of The Who's 'Teenage Wasteland'. The trouble was that none of their own songs even got within spitting distance.
I wouldn't have said they were bad, they just gave the impression of going through the motions. A team without star players, and lacking hint of originality, they sounded like a cross between the Lords, the Alarm and old Lords support band. They were just jaded, spirited, but jaded, and I definitely got the impression that it wouldn't be long before they're supporting the Roses.
If they're playing for the love of Rock 'n' Roll, that's fine, but if the Skanks wanna be stars, I think they've already missed the boat.
Finally, to continue the sporting metaphors, man of the match was definitely Roses' drummer Reni - the Keith Moon of the'80s, you mark my words.