This article is written by Ian John Deary and was published in Sounds on 14th October, 1978.
Flirting with the Freshers
FRESHERS' WEEKS are dismal affairs. Bewildered children straight out of school
spend a week filling in forms and being badgered into joining anything from
SWP to the Hot Air Ballooning Society and on the Saturday night the smug freshers'
committee throws a big party with a name band. It's possibly the band who have
the most dismal time of all since no outsiders (or few) are allowed in and the
crowd are apathetic non-fans for the most part. The Adverts were chosen for
this year's freshers' party at Riccarton's Heriot-Watt university.
Less than 100 students milled around the front of the stage awaiting the arrival
of the heroes — the rest sat in the bar and for the rest of the night chose
to stay there.
First song by the Adverts was a new one — 'Fate Of Criminals' — played at a
slower pace than usual and its reception was lukewarm. Indeed the show was three
numbers old before it took off with a great rendition of 'Bombsite Boy' which
got the heads bobbing up and down like a bingo-ball machine on speed.
New songs alternated with old but the rapture that followed favourites like
'Gary Gilmore's Eyes' and 'New Church' (complete with hilarious duff intro)
easily outshone equally good new songs such as 'I Surrender' and the new single
It was gratifying to see that few males had come just to stare at Gaye — for,
sweet though she is, she is no great show-woman and deftly ignores all the lusty
stares that must be a huge bore to her by now. Her only visible show of emotion
was the odd snigger at TV and, in states of extreme excitement, she would chew
her gum faster than previously. No, true star of The Adverts is songwriter TV
Smith who possesses at least 90 per cent of the group's charisma. His style
is manifest from his clothes (which look like the tattered remnants of a decadent
past — shades, silver jacket, fluorescent red tie) to his movements onstage
where he leaps, crawls, pirhouettes with boundless energy. Only weak spot is
his solipsistic patter between numbers — surely this intelligent young songwriter
has more to say than "awright?" and '"ow are ya?".
I heard complaints that The Adverts are not developing musically — it's true
that solos are still scarce and Gaye's bass is as unadventurous as ever. But
unlike other bands The Adverts have still got many good punk songs left in them
and do not need to add frills to their music to keep it exciting. Just ask the
fans who genuinely called them back for two well-deserved encores, ending with
the anthemic 'One Chord Wonders'.
IAN JOHN DEARY