To launch Wesley Doyle’s new book ‘Conform To Deform: The Weird and Wonderful World of Some Bizarre’, special guest and label founder Stevo Pearce was interviewed by the author about his artwork and the history of and future plans for the Some Bizarre label, in which he colourfully displayed his frustration with the mainstream destroying independent labels and artistry.

Following the interview, Naked Lunch, one of the artists featured on the 1981 ‘Some Bizarre Album’ release, performed a short set, beginning with their track on the compilation, ‘Le Femme’, with Cliff Chapman’s wailing synthesiser. They moved onto B-side EBM dance track, ‘Slipping Again’, before the chorded A-side, ‘Rabies’, with frontman Tony Mayo’s jokeresque vocals.

The band also played from their period of reform since 2010, including the gothic tones of 2013 singles ‘Alone’, awakened by electronics, and ‘Glow’, with conspiratorial synth. They closed their set on 1981’s ‘Fade Away’, conjuring up Ian Curtis’ vocals in Joy Division’s ‘Transmission’.

B-Movie, also on the compilation, then headlined the rest of the evening: following the basslines of ‘Polar Opposites’, they also played their track from the Some Bizarre compilation, ‘Moles’, with loud, flailing organ. Moving away from the ’80s synth-pop template, they delved into gothic post-punk as seen in the elevating scales of ‘Institution Walls’, with the demented waltz of their Carpenteresque paranormal synthesiser.

Steve Hovington (vocals, bass) related the story of how he first met Stevo, who, on hearing a demo tape, thought they sounded like Hawkwind, suggesting they should “wear silver suits and fairy boots.” The band’s gothic synthscapes are observed in ‘Disturbed’, with graveyard basstones; they also performed their second and third singles ‘Nowhere Girl’ and ‘Remembrance Day’.

28/02/23: Conform To Deform: The Weird and Wonderful World of Some Bizarre @ Rough Trade East, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.