Bow Wow Wow reunite for first UK tour in three decades

Former 1980s controversialists Annabella Lwin and Lee Gorman return for 12 UK shows this spring

Bow Wow Wow
1980s controversialists Bow Wow Wow are to reform for 12 UK dates this spring. Photograph: Peter Noble/Redferns

Once upon a time, Bow Wow Wow were the very model of young controversialists. The cover of their improbably titled 1982 album See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy featured their 15-year-old singer Annabella Lwin in the nude, and they celebrated the home taping culture in C30, C60, C90, Go! Now, more than 30 years older – and possibly wiser – they are reforming for 12 UK shows this spring.

Lwin and bassist Lee Gorman are returning from their homes in LA to play their first proper shows since the early 1980s. They will be performing without the help of original drummer Dave Barbe or guitarist Matthew Ashman, who died in 1995. The group's last British appearance was a one-off set in November 2010, when Lwin, Gorman and Barbe appeared at a tribute to Ashman in London.

While Bow Wow Wow have been largely absent from the UK, Lwin and Gorman have played several US concerts in recent years, usually on very small stages. Less than a fortnight ago, Lwin was singing for patrons of Fitzgeralds Irish pub in Huntington Beach, California.

Bow Wow Wow got their start in the early 80s. The instrumentalists were originally the Ants, of "Adam and" fame. But Malcolm McLaren pinched them, tacking on a new singer – Lwin, then 14, who he discovered at a launderette. Over a trio of albums, the band consistently courted controversy – trading on their borrowed Burundi beat, Lwin's teenage sex appeal, and an endorsement of home taping. By the time Lwin was sacked in 1983, Bow Wow Wow had enjoyed five Top 50 singles in the UK, including the US crossover I Want Candy, a cover of a song by the Strangeloves.

Bow Wow Wow's tour begins at the Brook in Southampton on 19 April.

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