Outstation; Butternut, MX and the Grosvenor Hotel, February 17, 1996

A two stage, single location gig like this is always a treat with loud riffsters Outstation in MX, followed soon after by the Frock (women in rock) supergroup Butternut in the Grosvenor frontroom.

With the carnivale jocks-in-frocks spreading between the two events – more of this later – Outstation drew upon their broad range of succinct guitar lines and even better chorus melodies to the, well, firstly appreciative, then slightly tarnished crowd.

You see, the original idea and first 2-3 minutes of each and every song screamed ‘hit’, the relentless hammer of a hard grunge riff threatening to end on a glorious peak. But lo, it went on. And on. An idea robbed for every possible skerrick of monotony.

Certainly, it pays to give people time to digest a work of art, but I can see Outstation possibly looking into their audience one day soon and seeing that maybe it’s better to simply dangle the carrot and keep it short – give ’em little nibbles, one might say.

Little nibbles, on the other hand, is far from the collective term for a group of industry boys in drag. From the horrible: Cinema Prague’s George Kailis and his bushy Greek cleavage, to the topical: Bob Gordon’s wedding outfit, Frock was also a celebration of one sex’s lack of control over the other’s dress(es).

Butternut were even more of a good reason to keep eyes front. The religiously-anticipated return of Gretta Little (Rosemary Beads) to the electric format was spellbinding, Spank’s Sasha Ion and Wooden Fische’s Flick Dear similarly singing above, below and around her. With Sash and Gret hitting their instruments damn hard it was music which careered more towards the Beads’ sound than either of the two, equally distinguished others.

With each of them taking turns at lead and backing vocals it was all up to the packed-in punter’s personal taste of singer and style, though really, servings like this do not come along often enough and every note was relished.

Ending with Be My Baby, with appropriate doo-wop ‘boys’ backing and a “that’s it, we’ve only learnt six songs so far”, I can safely say that Butternut will have caravan of followers chasing them around when/if ever they play again.

Adam Connors