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Pop Music Review : Night For Amusement: Lulu, Nuns At The Roxy

February 18, 1986|CRAIG LEE

In its own unassuming rock-'n'-roll way, Flesh for Lulu is terrific. The English quartet might have come from the short-lived and overhyped London "Batcave" scene, but the quartet playing the Roxy on Sunday night had none of the gloomy-doomy horror-camp affectations of Batcavers like Specimen and Alien Sex Fiend.

Flesh for Lulu's show was a lot more focused and coherent than the rambling shambles of a set it played here last year. The group showed that it has more in common with Mott the Hoople than Nosferatu as it roared through punk-glam fun-house tunes like "Laundromat Kat" and "Baby Hurricane."

A lot of Lulu's charm comes from singer Nick Marsh. With his warm, smiling stage presence and wavering, rough-but-suave vocals, Marsh had an ingratiating quality that served the band's intent: communication, not alienation.

The second-billed Nuns were pioneers of the California punk scene in 1977, but the San Francisco group's new format seemed like a joke since the band was never taken seriously outside the Bay Area even in its heyday.

But there's something perversely enjoyable about this fiery quintet's retro-punk combination of bratty snarl (lead singer Jeff Olener) and glamorous pose (in the spectral form of keyboardist-singer Jennifer Miro). Though some of the newer material tended to go on and on, the Nuns' old "classics" like the ridiculously melodramatic "Suicide Child" inspired a nostalgia for awfulness that only a group like this can adequately satisfy.

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