FRF '99 Green Stage

Better Strummer pics [1999.8.1 21:05]

To a lot of people, former Clasher Joe Strummer is the last person you would refer to as a journeyman musician, but his 40-minute show at the festival under threatening skies proved that he is not just a primal rocker but a pretty keen bandleader. His Mescaleros, all from the British Isles, are a crack backup band and followed Strummer's every little whim and wink with the sensitivity of a case of poison ivy. Most of the non-Clash numbers were rock steady compositions that strained Strummer's limited but by no means unexpressive singing style. Of course, it was the Clash numbers that got the crowd going, and one could sense in the huge ovation they gave each one a hint of reverence for the source. He's no longer a trigger-happy young man, but he still has tricks up his sleeve. While "London Calling" was as coarse and abrupt as it ever was back in the day, "Rock the Casbah" was even sparer than the original, meaning it was punkier, too.

1999.8.1 Reported by Phil

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