After forming in 1984, Enuff Z’Nuff came to prominence with the release of their 1989 eponymously titled debut album. The singles “New Thing” and “Fly High Michelle” received plenty of airplay on MTV and created a bit of a buzz around the band but despite the critical acclaim that accompanied their first 3 album releases, none of them provided the band with the hit their output possibly deserved. Despite being dropped by the majors, the band have continued to tour and record (14 studio albums and counting…..). We sent Adrian Grainger to The Camden Underworld venue to check out their latest tour.
I probably ought to put it out there, that I went and saw Enuff Z’Nuff at Bristol Studio in the early 90s, whilst they were trekking their way around the globe in support of their “Strength” album. For one reason and another, despite really liking the band, I’ve not had chance to see them again since. My poor, long-suffering wife was press-ganged into accompanying me on my trip to London to finally catch them again…..
In anticipation of the gig, I had done a bit of surfing and there was talk that the band might meet MusicMuso for an interview but due to scheduling issues, this wasn’t possible. They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes, so maybe that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing? As a result, I had done my research and had read interviews which explained that the current line-up only featured Chip Z’Nuff from the original line-up and that he was now handling lead vocal duties as well. I also discovered that this tour was going to focus on the first 3 albums as they are “the ones that everyone knows and loves”, according to the main man himself.
The Camden Underworld has a decent reputation and despite it being only a 500 capacity venue, has attracted some decent names. Unsurprisingly, it was quite dark but it is situated under the “World’s End” Pub. The band arrived on stage and opened with the first single from the “Strength” album – “Baby Loves You”. It’s my favourite EZN song so I was instantly won over. The venue definitely wasn’t full but the atmosphere generated by the band and audience was great and following the opener, the one-two punch of “Kiss The Clown” and “Heaven or Hell” secured the party vibe. Whilst the band toned their image down following their first album, Chip Z’Nuff has always dressed flamboyantly and his large cap definitely made him look like he was going to party like its 1989. Backed by a crack new band Z’Nuff’s vocals are remarkably strong – this shouldn’t surprise anyone though as he has sung lead vocals on songs, throughout the band’s career.
The band are tight, the groove was impeccable – despite Chip having to borrow a bass guitar as his had been mislaid by transatlantic baggage handling and their set was taken entirely from the first two albums with one exception. Their cover of Jean Genie featured on their 9th album, confusingly entitled “10”……. It was a great night – apart from one thing. The set was short in comparison to any other band that I’ve seen previously. Including the cover, they played 8 songs in a set lasting barely an hour. It didn’t seem to be a case that the band weren’t bothered that the venue wasn’t full, as Chip was available to meet and greet at the merchandising stand after the gig, but I did leave feeling slightly short-changed. Much as it was a pleasure to meet someone I idolised in my youth (he does have some history with Madonna and always looked very cool) – I’d rather have had 4 more songs instead. Despite the brevity of the gig, the band is so good, I will definitely go and see them next time they are in the UK. So an enjoyable night out but (and please pardon the intentional pun) Enuff wazn’t Z’Nuff in this case. More songs next time please, guys!
Review by Adrian Grainger