03 November 1993

Fan Review: Bogarts 1993

Cincinatti, Ohio, USA
November 3, 1993

*With Support by Acetone

In 1993, I was a freshman in college at Indiana University. Id come to school listening to a random assortment of bands, such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction and The Smiths. Always open to new music, I said yes when a friend asked me to drive to Cincinnati with him to see this band from England called Verve. There was no "the" in their title at the time. I really knew next to nothing about them. I'd heard the All in the Mind single, but that was it. While I didn't know what to expect, it didn't feel like much of a risk considering the tickets cost $3.00.

Bogart's was a spacious venue with a really high ceiling and wood floors. Its size was exaggerated by its emptiness. There were no more than 50 people inside. Acetone opened up the show. They didn't leave much of an impression on me. Shortly after, Verve came on. There were all kinds of strange floor lamps spread around the stage. Their looks were bold and lots of long hair and flared jeans. They looked like hippies.

Unfortunately, I can't recall the exact set list. I know they played all of their early singles. Slide Away stood out the most, with its memorable bass line and soaring guitar parts. Throughout the entire set, Richard stalked the stage with closed eyes, dancing spastically, as if he were hearing music the rest of could not. Even when he was nowhere near the microphone, he was mouthing words to himself. I thought he was the most bizarre front man I'd ever seen. The songs had such attitude and were played with such passion, you'd have thought they were playing to a gigantic crowd. They played with the confidence of musicians who'd been performing their entire lives. The show closed with a lengthy, pounding version of Gravity Grave and I headed home feeling I'd just seen the future of music.
  • By Jonathan Cohen