1000 Mexicans - Live Reviews

London, Moonlight Club - April 1983 (Melody Maker)
The man in the red dressing gown covered with black spots addressed the crowd, pointing a threatening finger out into the room: "I'm going down to the butcher's to buy a pound of sausages and I'm leaving you here to hold the baby - and I don't want any funny business in the kitchen."
Behind him the other two 1000 Mexicans made merry with guitar, hubcaps, big drums that made a mighty clang when struck, and all the while the tapes raged. Sometimes the performers took a brief break while taped voices babbled at impossible speeds.
1000 Mexicans provide both a performance and a context for it. The audience has two options - get swept along in their ferocious soundtrack, or leave. This lot stayed, possibly frozen in horror or - who knows? - transported with delight.
There are surprises at every turn. The Mexicans will swap instruments regularly, then generate shrieking wedges of noise topped with asymmetrical harmonies. Then it'll all fall away and they're playing a song, perhaps a vicious "Art of Love" driven by fierce cutting bass, or "Back to Mexico" with its odd lost voices and immense percussion.
The Mexicans had all their gear lifted a couple of weeks ago and this gig was performed with borrowed equipment, to the band's disgust. Nevertheless you could still grasp the well-ordered pulse underlying this apparent chaos, and some sort of discipline is indeed necessary to prevent total meltdown.
This machine could prove dangerous... (Adam Sweeting)

London, Crown & Castle - July 1984 (Sounds)

Give these guys half a chance - an assortment of instruments seemingly thrown together and a dingy dive to play in - and they will proceed to entrance and entertain.
On the face of it, these Mexicans look a right shambles. There's a small keyboard, drum machine and echo box mounted on a shaky looking ironing board, a couple of guitars propped up against the back of the stage, and all manner of trumpets, clarinets, violins, mouth organs and percussive implements lying about the place.
But as soon as that bass riff introduces "The Last Pop Song" you know their ramshackle appearance isn't reflected in the music. They have this blissfully naive method of playing, swapping instruments with alarming regularity and bumping into each other as they do so. Again, on the face of it, everything looks so nonchalant and fortuitous, but what comes across is a tight and snappy collection of mutant pop songs, a sort of East meets West with a bloody good joke in between.
These Mexicans are a real tonic and a viable alternative to the predictably of chart pop. But whatever happened to the other 997? (David Elliott)

London, Greyhound - September 1984 (New Musical Express)

Like labelmates The Three Johns, 1000 Mexicans are a trio employing a drum machine thingy as fourth man. But here the similarity ceases. Where the Three Johns pursue a course somewhere between The Stooges and The Lurkers, 1000 Mexicans blaze a trail through the nether regions of 23 Skidoo and Depeche Mode, ie experimental synthy pop.
To their credit, 1000 Mexicans also utilise more conventional percussion, gleefully taking turns to bash the real drum as if removinga thick skin from a rice pudding. However the trumpet was passed around like a first joint - nobody wanted to refuse it but nobody put it into their mouth with any genuine conviction.
Stop, stop, STOP. Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed 1000 Mexicans very much. It's just that I came along hoping to see some kind of rapprochement between the Cabs and Blancmange and all I got was Burroughs reading the Beano to musical accompaniment. One monologue, concerning a man's fear of domestic intruders, left the audience examining the scuff marks on their sandals, but most were up-tempo-boogie-and-bop-the-night-away rhythms. "Under Construction" has the kind of infectious bassline that niggles its way into the brain cells and prevents homework being done, while even their liberty-taking adaptation of The Four Tops' "Simple Game" was far from a beheading-worthy offence.
Whichever way 1000 Mexicans turned tonight they were greeted by broad grins rather than bored Gringos. And quite rightly so. They can come round to me for tacos any time... (Bruce Dessau)

London, Greyhound - October 1986 (Melody Maker)
It's almost a year since I had the unexpected pleasure of witnessing a performance by 1000 Mexicans. In that time they've gained a drumming person, a fixed expression of anguish and a commercial impetus. No longer happy to dabble in the Tarot Card luck of who'll be hip this season, they have tightened and toughened themselves into a highly vendable pop combo. And as bandits turned bounty hunters, these Mexicans show an amusing enthusiasm for their new role.
The opening song, "Why do we take this?", instantly revealed a punchy, rocky twist which I can't recall them possessing to any degree in the past. The man with the mouth has always nurtured those rare qualities which turn a vocalist into a centre-stage attraction - the ability to sing and convince - and his beefed-up backing is certainly a passionate aid.
"This is Home" and "Telephone Numbers" hint at what The Cars would be like if there was a drunken driver behind the wheel, while the slower "Diving for Pearls" and "Chance of a Lifetime", complete with a boozy, bluesy blast on the harmonica, have the dreamy temperament of Talk Talk.
Of course it is criminal that 1000 Mexican still warrant references to "known" bands (sic). Perhaps that won't last much longer. For now they are now a dash less appealing to my ears, if that's what it atakes to make their name appear regularly in places other than the gig guide, it is undoubtedly a step worth taking. (Push)

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