Sunday, October 22, 2017    Log in

How To Get Free Backstage Passes

Marianne Faithfull – Live In Hollywood (DVD)

May 2, 2011 by  

Leave a Comment

Marianne Faithfull – Live In Hollywood (DVD)

NAME: Marianne Faithfull
ALBUM: Live In Hollywood (DVD)
DATE: 18April2011

LABEL: EV Classics


FIVE WORD REVIEW: A little less polish, please


LINE UP: Marianne Faithful (vocals) plus men.

01Marianne Faithfull - Live in Hollywood.jpg

WHAT’S THE STORY?: From the heady days as Stones muse to croaking nursery rhymes with Patrick Wolf, via an unlikely cameo during Metallica’s arty period, Marianne Faithful has always been an artist defined by her collaborators. She may not simply be a moon to reflect their light – that would be unfair – but her career certainly exists in their shadow.

If ‘Live in Hollywood’ – recorded in 2005 shortly after the release of ‘Before The Poison’, her album of collaborations with Nick Cave and PJ Harvey – is intended to establish her credentials as an independent solo act, it largely fails. Very little of this is her fault though, for she is still a charismatic performer with an easy stage presence and rapport with her audience, and gives the distinct impression of enjoying every moment.

The problem is her band, who are more muso than musician, more comfortable with blues standards like opener ‘Trouble in Mind’ than with the darker material courtesy of Cave, Harvey, et al. Polished synth strings and tastefully restrained guitar highlight just what could have been with a charismatic wildman like Bad Seed Warren Ellis or an indie innovator like Graham Coxon lending a hand – they might certainly have imbued the embarrassing freakout session on ‘Kissin’ Time’ with a little life, vigour, and, well, freakiness. They might have also vetoed the bass solo – yes, a bass solo – in ‘Working Class Hero’.

With a sensible blonde haircut, mumsy figure, and a black jacket and white blouse combo Ms Faithfull is at times alarmingly reminiscent of a wardrobe malfunctioning Judy Finnegan – an especially beguiling image when she growls “every time I see your dick I see her cunt in my bed” on the classic 1979 rant “Why D’ya Do It”. Her largely well-judged performance is only marred by the occasional injection of ham – on ‘Working Class Hero’, Lennon’s “then they expect you to pick a career” line is accompanied by a theatrical shrug and roll of the eyes, and no original or subtle interpretation is brought to the already ambiguous lyric, just a clenched fist and a little extra phlegm for the chorus.

But the woman’s voice, with its flawed croaking beauty, is her autobiography – and it is this weight of personal history permeating every line that rescues so many numbers from their session musician graveyard. The melodies, too, cannot be denied – “Last Song” is Damon Albarn at his most affecting, and classics ‘As Tears Go By’ and ‘Sister Morphine’ deservedly bring a raucous audience response. But as long as professionalism is valued over personality, her fans will be denied the live documentation Ms Faithfull deserves.

SOUNDS LIKE: An opportunity missed.

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: You own everything Marianne Faithfull has recorded and think it is all equally good.


Submitted By Martin Headon



Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

You must be logged in to post a comment.