Camden Underworld, London -7 September, 2001

[S.P.O.C.K. logo]

"We are S.P.O.C.K. We come from planet Sweden"

[S.P.O.C.K. landing] Before I begin, S.P.O.C.K received no preferential treatment in this review. The reason why I am going to review just this supporting band I quite simply blame on biorhythms of this particular evening. After Narcissus Pool hit the pits, things could only get better. Next up were S.P.O.C.K. Lights, camera, action. The spaceship has landed.

The brave crew of starship S.P.O.C.K. have entered the stage in the savage venue of Camden Underworld. With engine sound still on the three visitors line up and face the crowd. The outer two bow politely while the middle creature lifts his hands up towards the light focused on him. Reactivated, the first track on the new album 2001 A S.P.O.C.K. Odyssey fills the venue. Hang on, what's happening here? To be quite honest, they have taken me by surprise. Long gone are the dodgy Vulcan neck pinches and home-made kitchen foil uniforms which I so well remember from the Helsingborg Syntfestivalen festival back home in Sweden. Their stage performance is polished down to the minutest details. Enter the boy band for the new millennium!

[S.P.O.C.K. ticket] What does still remain however is their cheekiness. "Ladies and gentlemen", they take the Butlins approach, "We are S.P.O.C.K. We come from planet Sweden. We drink beer. Sometimes. And we are very nervous." But they needn't be. Straight away they win over even the meanest Klingons amongst the audience who by now were dancing along to Astro Girl and Not All E.T.'s Are Good, their cheesy hits from their early days. Somehow I know where they are coming from, though. Their fear is not playing UK for the first time, but fear of the audience.

The most radical appearance their Swedish fan could try is to resemble a Kraftwerk member. English fans, male to be precise, wear Dynasty style makeup. "This is a dark scene", the band confirms. "Guys, you are wearing makeup!" Feeling sorry for the ladies they start to strip. They even have a Elvis impersonator for Mr Jones. All this combined with a perfected dance routine and great mimicry of Star Trek characters they really can't go wrong. No retakes needed for this episode so far. After Never trust a Klingon they salute us with: "Live long and prosper" and then leave the stage.

As illogical as it may seem they won over the toughest crowd. Europop assimilation completed then. Remember I mentioned biorhythms? Next act were The Nine. Headlining!!! Need I say more? And as for S.P.O.C.K. - monsieurs, you were spoiling us.

Ana Hvalica