Tony Visconti & Woody Woodmansey: The Man Who Sold The World

Progenitors of dark metal ouvrez le chien.

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In September last year, surviving Spider From Mars Woodmansey and the third Bowie album’s bassist/producer Visconti united as a rhythm section for the first time since 1970. They performed, effectively, the album’s full live debut.

The Shepherds Bush Empire feel-good knees-up saw these proto-goth dark-metal songs of dystopian trauma rendered with detail and raw power. The twisted, complex visions of The Width Of A Circle and The Supermen still chill and thrill.

This document’s a must for Bowiephiles, even if Glenn Gregory’s game, gleeful vocals are high-class karaoke. He’s not the only New Romantic to pay homage, as Spandau Ballet’s Steve Norman and Gary Kemp guest.

Marc Almond crooning After All is good casting, while it requires both James Stevenson and Paul Cuddeford to emulate Mick Ronson (who, with Visconti, worked up most of the music while Bowie was preoccupied with new wife Angie).

That album delivered, the second disc captures the troupe relaxing as they bash through 12 more epoch-defining greats, from Watch That Man to Five Years. The celebratory looseness diminishes the doomier ballads but serves the glam-jams well./o:p

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.