I love Two Gallants and the chance to see them play live was
unexpected and brilliant. Really there is only a little I feel
I need to say about this: That it was everything I wanted of
For those of you who don't know, I would encourage you to check
Two Gallants out. I would try and convince you to do this by
describing them, but I don't really do them justice.
There are two of them and the songs are personal and haunting,
the guitar and drums and voices are all that are needed to fill
a room. I suppose that they're folk/rock but that really doesn't
matter. They're Music. As it is whenever it is done well, when
they share a microphone it is truly special. It meant the world
to me to see Two Gallants, because I think it means a lot to
them to play those songs.
As personal as the songs are, I feel no inclination to write
about what they may mean or how they are sung because they do
what great songs do. They become yours. I thoroughly enjoyed
their Manchester show. A great Halloween. Spooky in the best
Bryant, Zachary Cale and Leif Vollebekk
30.8.12 at The Wilmington Arms, London
A chance to see Zachary Cale at the start of his brief 2-week
British summer sojourn in September, the Wilmington Arms gig
was effectively a warm-up show for his appearance at this year's
End Of The Road festival. Cale has written most of the songs
for a new album, working title Blue Nude, due for release in
the autumn, and tonight is a great chance to dip his toes into
the water on this side of the pond, and preview some of the
excellent new material before a sympathetic English audience.
The Brooklyn-based artist plays the show solo acoustic, itself
a good indicator of the new album, with the characteristic open
tunings style of guitar playing and hauntingly bluesy vocals,
to some extent revisiting 2008 album Walking Papers.
On the strength of tonight's show, I'd have to say we're in
for a real treat with Blue Nude, intense, dark and moody acoustic
folk, but with Cale occasionally showing off a lighter commercial
side: the troubadour's not afraid of a good pop tune! Actually,
with the exception of Tom Petty-esque 'Mourning Glory Kid' from
last year's Noise Of Welcome, he focuses exclusively on the
new songs, delivering them with real gusto like a southern preacher
on a mission, head raised and voice punching out the words in
a powerful ovation.
'Unfeeling' is a strong opener, a folksy blues number with
a real icy chill about it. Many of Cale's songs evoke the spirit
of the runaway, the guy struggling with life's hard knocks and
feeling cast out ("Here it comes again, that cold unfeeling
gloom/You best beware doll, don't let it get it's teeth in you/You
know how it screws up your face, you know we can't have it that
way/Shadows, block out the sun, you can't feel a thing when
you bite on your tongue"). This may be one of his best,
although next up 'Hold Fast' is chasing it hard, raising the
tempo slightly, faster and lighter, a sort of riding song ("Hold
fast to the ray that slips past the falling rain/Keep your dream
beneath your hat, and the wind on your back"). Cale turns
over songs quickfire when he's playing live, never seems truly
at ease until he's back in his musical 'zone', although there
are some stories later on about Robert Johnson and ghosts. My
personal favourites from the set were the twangy metronomic-sounding
'Hangman's Letters', which reminded me of the Bert Jansch classic
'Moonshine', and the wonderfully dark but jangly U2-sounding
'Dear Shadow' with the 'All I Want Is You' riff.
He ends by playing a couple of encores, firstly the featured
song 'Wayward Son', another from Blue Nude, brisk with the hand
slapping of the guitar, but still with the characteristic poetic
turn of phrase ("On you run without a moment's rest, while
your heart pounds against your chest/and in the twilight you
awake to the whispering of the waves, washed up like a castaway").
Saving the best till last, the unusual highlight of the evening
is a version of Robert Johnson's 'Love In Vain', which the Stones
famously covered on their classic 1969 album Let It Bleed. Cale's
interpretation is quite different from either of those, raw-sounding
and stripped back, with some nice bluesy John Fahey-esque guitar
and a really 'smoking' sort of vocal. Check it out on YouTube
and it is also available through Soundcloud:
So a clear statement of musical intent from Zachary Cale this
evening. I'm guessing the gig is a way to gauge audience reaction
before his festival performance the following weekend, but all
the songs here stand shoulder to shoulder with his earlier material.
Accessible and interesting, and even on a first listen they
sound like some of the best things he's done. And Cale's voice
has lost none of its haunting edge, sure to get better and better
with each passing year, backed with some bold and inventive
playing as always. Look out for Blue Nude which should be available
Earlier, London-based songwriter Jess Bryant had opened the
evening with songs from her excellent psych-folk album Silvern.
Accompanying herself on guitar and joined by Sarah Day on violin,
these songs had a curiously powerful effect, the singer's voice
lending them an understated sort of power. Unfortunately, I
only caught the end of her set, which was a real shame. The
album is a beautiful piece of work, available on Red Deer Records,
very moody and atmospheric, sonically explorative and exquisitely
put together. http://www.reddeerclub.co.uk/shop/releases/silvern/
Canadian singer-songwriter Leif Vollebekk struggled to overcome
the elements in his short set, starting off very unfortunately
by losing a guitar string. There are some nice songs on the
album Inland, and 'In The Morning' and 'Don't Go To Klaksvik'
sounded particularly good in the set, but the Montreal-based
artist found it hard to get going, his awkward shuffling movements
suggesting somebody ill at ease with himself and his audience
for some reason. Another tortured Ryan Adams in the making,
I guess? His album is available through Canadian label Nevado
The night belonged to Zachary Cale in my view, although Jess
Bryant's siren-like voice was also a real discovery. The Wilmington
Arms, in Clerkenwell, Central London, was also a bit of a discovery,
a very decent place to see a folk gig with a reasonably quiet
side room where the atmosphere could really build. The staff
there seemed genuinely interested in the music on show, which
let's face it you can't say about every pub venue. Thank you
to everybody concerned, that was a great evening for the music.
Basinski – The Disintegration
Loops Performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra
12.8.12 - Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, London
The first 2 parts of American electronic composer William Basinski's
The Disintegration Loops were performed by the London Contemporary
Orchestra, on Sunday 12th August in the Queen Elizabeth Hall
in the South Bank Centre, as part of the Antony Hegarty-curated
Meltdown Festival. The piece was arranged by Maxim Moston, a
member of Antony And The Johnsons, and the orchestra were conducted
by Ryan McAdams. As the title would suggest, the work is based
on a series of electronic loops, which were originally recorded
by the composer in 1982. Unfortunately, I spent the evening
wishing I was somewhere else, perhaps watching Laurie Anderson's
'Dirtday' or Lou Reed and band, just 2 of the many glitterati
appearing at the prestigious annual festival this year.
The work by Basinski has taken on almost mythical proportions
among the ambient and minimalist musical fraternity, and Hegarty
has made no secret of the profound effect its inspiration had
on him personally. The Disintegration Loops has become distinguished
by 2 important characteristics which lend it a heavy symbolic
value, almost certainly the reason for its inclusion in the
festival. Firstly, when the American composer returned to his
original recordings almost 20 years after their inception, in
2001, hoping to convert the analogue tape to a digital format,
he discovered a physical alteration in their condition which
transformed the whole piece:
“During the transfer process, as each of the loops played round
and round on the tape deck, I soon realized the tape loops were
disintegrating — the iron oxide particles were gradually turning
to dust and dropping into the tape machine, leaving bare plastic
spots on the tape, and silence in the corresponding sections
of the new recording.” (William Basinski, writing for WQXR,
New York Classical Music Radio, on 7th September 2011)
The original sound had become heavily distorted under these
new conditions, the crumbling new textures making what sounded
like life slowing draining out of the recordings to Basinski's
ears. Even more interesting were the gaps or open 'spaces' left
over, adding an otherworldly feeling. Basinski was intrigued,
and rather than scrapping the whole project, he set about listening
and re-recording these 'disintegrated' sounds into a new piece.
However, the whole process took another dramatic turn because
it coincidentally happened on September 11th 2001 during the
attacks on the World Trade Centre. Basinski watched the macabre
and destructive events unfolding from the rooftop of his home
in Brooklyn as he listened to the destruction on his own recordings.
It meant that bizarrely he spent the same day filming the smouldering
World Trade Centre as he tried to restore and digitalize the
tapes. Unwittingly, he had created an extraordinary art installation.
The whole soundscape created made for amazing viewing which
Basinski has preserved for posterity.
Time has added a sense of perspective to the whole piece.
Basinski has now dedicated The Disintegration Loops to the memory
of the victims of the attacks, and the piece will be inducted
into the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York later this year. His
record label Temporary Residence have re-released a boxed set
edition of the recordings this September.
If the story ended there, that would surely be enough. Certainly,
a documentary film might have added something to people's appreciation
of The Disintegration Loops, by giving insight or highlighting
the symbolism of the work. The whole piece as envisaged by Basinski
is several hours long, so the performance of parts DlP 2.1 and
DlP 1.1 in real time by the London Contemporary Orchestra is
a very rare event indeed. The second part contains pastoral
and minimalist elements which the orchestration captures well
with its strings, woodwind and brass, and there is a grittiness
relayed by the 3 main percussionists who play through some large
speakers, so Moston's interpretation certainly conveyed elements
of the original looping piece. However, I'm afraid that being
subjected to 2 hours of this kind of music in a hot sweaty concert
hall with cramped seats and people coming and going with their
drinks of beer etc., all the efforts of a dedicated orchestra
felt massively misplaced for this listener. DlP 1.1 is even
longer than the second part, with elements of American folk
music woven into the orchestrated ambient sound. There was a
moment's silence at the end dedicated to the victims of 9/11.
The problem for me is that essentially, Basinski's piece rests
on holding a note or a chord and then repeating that over and
over again; in other words, the 'looping' of the sound which
the title suggests. It may be fine for a tape machine, but for
a group of thinking sentient highly trained and skilled musicians?
By the end of the performance, I was certainly disintegrating
myself, with boredom! I wondered if that irony had occurred
to Basinski and Moston, who took to the stage at the end to
receive applause (or, Hegarty, too, who had chosen the piece?)?
Or was the joke on me perhaps, was the Prince in fact wearing
some clothing, after all?
Ever since the days of sleeping overnight on a bench in Newcastle
station after seeing Yes play on their ‘Relayer’ tour at the
City hall way back in the mid-1970’s; somehow, travelling to
a gig has always made it a little bit more of an adventure.
So, with the price of a day return being not much more than
the cost of an average taxi fare across Leeds, there I was,
sitting in a park in Hebden Bridge at the back of the Trades
club on a bright Wednesday evening, eating fish and chips out
of newspaper and listening to Trembling Bells run through their
sound check before the doors opened and eager to see them for
the third time this year.
This was my first visit to the Trades Club, finalist for NME
Small Venue of the year, and, with a capacity of 190, I suppose
I expected the place to intimate, but packed, especially after
seeing Trembling Bells play on their earlier tour with Bonnie
Prince Billy at a sold out gig in the Hyde Park Picture house
in April and then again, at noon on the last day of the splendidly
idyllic ‘No Direction Home’ festival in June. Instead, we were
the first paying punters through the doors and sadly there were
probably no more than thirty people making up the audience for
both bands all night, and even then these seemed to be either
those connected with the acts themselves, on the guest list
or, what appeared to be, curious, regular Trades club members,
hardened boozers who I imagined were there most nights, come
rain or shine or flash flood.
For a young band, having been around for less than two years,
Deadwall are serious craftsmen; accomplished and precise players
with a set of interesting songs built around the angular guitar
of front man and vocalist, Tom Gourley and the varied keyboards
of Chris Duffin, with lead guitar embellishments, e-bow and
ambiences by Rob Simpson. I heard echoes of Television, Wire
and maybe Wilko Johnson, or, if I attempt to drag my frames
of reference reluctantly into the 21st century, some typical
post-rock textures, but perhaps with a little more emphasis
on vocal and lyrical content. All in all, Deadwall make one
hell of a fine noise.
Since I hadn’t set out with the intention of writing a gig
review, I neglected to take notes of any of the titles of the
numbers, but I enjoyed their set enough to recommend that you
seek out Deadwall’s debut e.p., available from their Facebook
page, or the band’s website and, if you didn’t catch them at
Bingley Live during the last weekend of August, perhaps seek
them out the next time they play live at venue near you.
Being roughly half way through the tour and having played the
Green Man festival the previous weekend, Trembling Bells were
on top form. They opened with Alex Neilson and Lavinia Blackwell
singing a new acapella duet, ‘Golden Lamb’, which Alex said
was named after a favourite restaurant, but that may, or may
not have been a joke, before they took up their respective positions
behind the drums and keyboards for a set that took in songs
from all four of their excellent albums, as well as showcasing
a few new numbers, three of which I’d previously heard courtesy
of a recent session on Radio 6’s Marc Riley show ...
‘A New Trip on the Old Wine’, from bassist Simon Shaw, a sort
of hybrid country & western love song, with Mike Hastings
adding one of his signature fuzz-guitar riffs and with an acapella
and clapping bridge that works well live, although perhaps even
better with a larger and more responsive audience.
‘The Bells of Burford’, is built around a repetitive bass and
organ riff that builds and builds as it is taken up by the lead
guitar. With Lavinia’s spectral organ playing reminding me of
Hugh Banton’s from classic, ‘Pawn Hearts’ era Van Der Graaf
Generator and Mike’s guitar going into interstellar overdrives
over Alex and Simon’s seismic rumblings, this new track is a
potential prog-rock classic and live favourite.
‘The Wide Majestic Aire’, which seemed to have Donovan’s ‘Catch
the Wind’ as a minor, melodic reference point, particularly
with Mike’s harmonica interlude, but ultimately, both lyrically
and musically, Alex has created another sparkling gem of a song,
that already I want to hear again and again.
Without Will Oldham, the band had decided to give us only one
song from their last album, ‘The Marble Downs’ recorded with
Bonnie Prince Billy; but even without the little feller their
rendition of ‘Ain’t Nothing Wrong With A Little Longing’ was
a wonder to behold.
The new songs, together with tracks like ‘Just As A Rainbow’,
‘The Willows of Carbeth’ and a blistering version of a personal
favourite, ‘Otley Rock Oracle’ with Lavinia transformed into
some sort of human Theremin, made for an almost perfect set.
Chatting briefly to Lavinia and Simon at the end of the night,
I mentioned that this had been one of the strangest gigs I’d
been to in a long while, but I was too shy or polite to answer
when Lavinia asked me, “Why?”
Partly, it was simply the sparseness of the audience, which
made it feel a little like having been time-warped back to the
Rover’s Quoit Club in West Hartlepool, sometime in the early
1970’s, watching friend’s bands in the ‘function room’ with
a set of regulars that had wandered in to see what the racket
was. Partly, it was the absence of young people, perhaps put
off by the restrictive, ‘folk’ label that seems to hang around
the bands neck like an albatross, or who perhaps were simply
getting ready to set off for a weekend in the mud of the Reading
and Leeds festival?
But more than anything, that night the Trades Club seemed to
have some characters in the audience that had stumbled out of
a 21st century version of a Hogarth cartoon; the seriously pissed
couple sat adjacent to me, who took turns to steal each other’s
drink’s while the other went outside for an intermittent smoke,
and, from the same duo, the ‘swaying man’ who regularly ambled
towards the stage, and with all the best David Bailey moves,
proceeded to snap away at the band with what looked like a cheap
disposable camera, giving Lavinia the thumbs up every time he
thought he’d caught a shot to treasure; or the ‘jogging lady’,
who jumped up toward the end of the set, the only dancer of
the evening, running on the spot in time to ‘Otley Rock Oracle’.
And where else, during an encore, would the breath stops of
an acapella duet be punctuated by earnest, loud conversation
from the bar concerning the arcane mysteries of local micro-breweries?
Still, somehow all of this simply added to the aptness of the
occasion, the true sense that; “there’s nowt so queer as folk”.
When it comes down to it I can’t really articulate why I like
Trembling Bells so much, both live and on record. There is an
openness and vulnerability to Alex’s poetic lyricism and song-writing
that manages to unearth and re-imagine the buried romantic,
mysterious, millenarian, mythical Englishness of Blake, Winstanley,
Geoffrey of Monmouth or the wider English folk-song tradition;
teasing personal reflections on a hidden sense of national identity
from the shallow grave of post- modernism. There is a subjective
sense of ‘place’ that runs like a vein through many of the songs,
that, for me, manages to marry personal experience with imaginative
contemplation to produce, to borrow from William Blake, ‘songs
of innocence and experience’. But more than that, Trembling
Bells are a band that are truly greater than the sum of their
parts, with each member contributing something unique and eclectic
that makes for a glorious whole, and ensures that this is still
a band without boundaries, a band of monumental significance.
As Lavinia said, when I saw her and Alex doing a question and
answer session in the ‘Literary Yurt’ (!) at the ‘No Direction
Home’ festival earlier this year, in answer to a request to
define what ‘folk music’ might mean in the 21st century; neatly
sidestepping the question and refuting the ‘folk’ label at the
same time, “We are a psychedelic rock band.” And that’s good
enough for me.
26.7.12 – Sebright Arms, Bethnall Green
Easing down the passageway and into the east end’s cavernous
indie music venue Sebright Arms in Bethnal Green, I am met by
the great washes of guitar and gently undulating rhythms of
Ivory Seas, opening for London-based band Torches. I know little
about them but enjoyed the brief glimpse: ‘Mothers Tongue’,
‘Still Brooding’, and especially ‘Boundary’, all made a strong
impression, reminding me of the mood of songs like The Velvet
Underground’s 10-minute version of ‘Ocean’ on their eponymous
1969 live album. The singing was pleasantly understated and
warm, fitting with the flowing nature of the music.
Torches, on the other hand, offer a more conventional brand
of full-on Indie Rock. Charlie Drinkwater, singer of the London-based
band said in a recent interview that they try to strip the music
back as much as possible while keeping its momentum and energy.
It's a good description of the band's thunderous sound, powered
by not one but two drummers! Ed Kelland's drum machine augments
the basic sound from the drum kit of Stephanie Anderson. Ostensibly,
the concert was to publicize their latest double-A-sided single
'Silent Film' and 'Sky Blue & Ivory', but clearly Torches
are building their profile and probably need to leave the humble
indie beginnings behind and break out if they’re to achieve
success. The surge of raw power in their music works initially,
as the band begin with the first of the singles, slightly understated
but throwing the spotlight nicely on Drinkwater's dark baritone
voice and shadowplay stage presence. I don't think anybody will
miss the Joy Division/Ian Curtis connection, but comparisons
become problematic when you start down that road: Interpol,
Editors, The National et al. Many have taken their lead from
that Manchester Factory sound, but Torches have a bit more going
on, particularly with the electronic influences which make them
sound more like experimental Cabaret Voltaire or even Depeche
Mode in their cruder industrial phase.
The band slip into their stride after a few songs, but they
can’t seem to consolidate the initial intensity, somehow the
moment has passed. Never mind, the alcohol is flowing and the
kids are alright … so it probably doesn’t matter!? ‘Towerblock
Confetti’ is very angular in the way Gang Of Four or Robert
Quine (Richard Hell and The Voidoids) were, 'Someone Needs A
Ritual' has an electronic disco stomp about it, like 'Master
& Servant'-style Depeche Mode or Bill Nelson’s Red Noise
‘Furniture Music’. The sound balance wasn’t quite right though,
nervous comments feeding back to the mixing desk, keyboards
and guitar seemed to be a bit lost under the battering rhythms.
So several songs in, I'm gasping for a change of pace, some
kind of melodic interlude, but my friends remind me that it's
all rock'n'roll. The set is short (thankfully, for my eardrums)
and sweet, and they end rather as they started, on a high, with
the other side of their double-A single. Buoyant-sounding 'Sky
Blue And Ivory' is certainly a moment to savour, the band's
brightest elements combining Drinkwater’s full dark vocal with
electronic-driven rock and that feeling of euphoria and youthful
energy which U2 brought to their earlier recordings like Boy
and October. The band finally sound freer to express themselves
and end the night confidently. If I’m honest though, there were
few splashes in this set. Torches are almost certainly at the
crossroads: they’ll either deliver a superb album or end up
- perish the thought - as a b-version Bloc Party slipping inexorably
into a sea of Indie landfill.
On the other hand, I felt more hopeful about support band Ivory
Seas, sonically a much more interesting proposition, with the
lovely fluid vocal swimming amongst all that spacious guitar,
and thankfully leaving my rather decrepit ears alone! You can
check their music on SoundCloud.
28.3.12 - Sala Capitol
Indie band Low from Duluth, Minnesota, are proof positive
that less is more. Morman couple Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker
distanced themselves from slowcore, a genre they more or less
defined in the last 20 years. David Kleywegt's 2008 documentary
'You May Need A Murderer' reveals how deeply entwined Sparhawk's
Morman faith is with the band's gloomy (occasionally, apocalyptic!)
outlook, but wisely the music focuses less on world events and
more on intensely brooding atmosphere's and the haunting balladry
of a modern-day Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris pairing. Their
gigs tend to be quite solemn affairs, almost church-like: in
the early days when people talked too much they just turned
the amps down! But the last few years have seen various shifts
following the usual kind of things which test a band's metal
… so 2008's Drums And Guns crackled and fizzed with a bold experimental
sound, while their latest album C'mon in 2010 positively beamed
with effervescent pop songs. Low can also be a band of surprises!
It was really pleasing to find the American trio (Steve Garrington
is the latest recruit since 2008) had included my adopted home
of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, in their recent
European tour. Sala Capitol is one of the popular city venues,
a large open auditorium styled like a palladium cinema, which
certainly suits Low's soaring atmospherics. Happily, the place
was full and the night air was buzzing with excitement. First,
we were treated to a set by Raúl Pastor Medall (aka Rauelsson),
actually a native of Spain but now based in Portland, Oregon,
who creates a similar vein of folk music to Peter Broderick
whom he recently worked with on the modern classical piece 'Un
Castillo, Un molino, Un mapa Y Un Plan'. Tonight's music was
more stripped down, Rauelsson joined on guitar with just a fiddle
player, the pair featuring songs mainly from his 2010 debut
album La Siembra, la Espera y la Cosecha.
Low opened up with 'Try To Sleep' from their most recent album,
a powerful way to start for those not familiar with the band's
oeuvre. Gigs like this tend to either boil down to album promotions
or greatest hit packages, but the generous sample of songs from
C'mon was accompanied by a mixture of material throughout the
band's career, stuff they seemed to enjoy playing to 'fit' the
occasion rather than anything with promotion in mind. The pervading
mood is everything with the Duluth band, of course, and it's
built on straightforward simple things: Sparhawk's hang-in-the
air guitar sound, Parker's metronomic drum beat (typically just
a single cymbal, battered tom and snare, which she plays standing
up in the characteristic Mo Tucker/Velvet Underground-style),
the whole sound being solidified by Garrington's bass playing
(he also switched to keyboards along with providing backing
vocals). What marks Low out is the gentle insistence and control
they exercise in the music, they play each moment like they
really mean it!
'Nightingale' is a song of exquisite beauty, a little like
their earlier 'Sunflower' (from the band's epic 2001 album Things
We Lost In The Fire), which they also played tonight; the duo's
close harmonies hang heavily around the hall among all 'spaces'
Sparhawk's playing creates. The guitarist generally takes lead
vocal, with notable exceptions like 'Especially Me' where you
can almost hear a pin drop next to Mimi Parker! Another surprising
highlight was 'The Great Destroyer' from the misfiring 2005
album of the same name. In this setting, the song sounds almost
U2-like with its euphoric chorus (although the lyrics contain
a salutary warning to a world gone crazy!). The crackly 'Dragonfly'
(from Drums And Guns), with its references to anti-depressants
and finding a way out of the world's madness, was another standout,
and I was pleased they included 'Canada' in the encore, giving
the band chance to rock out like Neil Young (it's not as odd
as it sounds when you listen to Sparhawk's latest side-project
Retribution Gospel Choir, and also a reminder of his punk-rock
A pity they didn't feature anything from 1995 Joy Division-inspired
sophomore Long Division, but with 9 studio albums and countless
ep's along the way you can't have everything I suppose! They
will have certainly won more friends here in Santiago, a city
steeped in history and one of the wettest places in Spain, its
dank misty atmosphere providing an amazing setting for this
band! The world may or may not be in meltdown, but Low continue
to widen their influence with their gentle insistence that less
is indeed more!
13.4.12 – Manchester Academy 1
What I really wanted to do was write down two hours of laughter.
I once got told off for writing a review for a band called Shark
Attack, my review was two words long and ripped off a Spinal
Tap joke. I would love nothing more than to post “Partied, Hard!”
as my review, but I can't. If I wanted to say more, but not
much more, I'd say “Nothing at all was wrong with anything that
Andrew WK, playing I Get Wet start to finish could not have
I can tell you that every single thing about the night was amazing.
I was front and centre for all of I Get Wet and some of the
other songs from other albums. I shouted, I partied, I took
part in one of the most excellent nights in a long time and
it was all orchestrated by Andrew WK and backed by his excellent
band, which apparently includes his wife now.
Please accept the following in the context of everything I
have written above: There is one thing that could have made
the night better. The whole thing would have been better if,
once the band had got to the end, they'd have started again.
Now, you could look at that and remember that It's Time To Party
and Party Hard open the album that the night celebrated, or
you could look at it the way it is intended – I had so much
fun, I could have done it all again.
For the record, Party Hard remains one of the most fun songs
in the history of songs and Andrew WK, live, remains one of
the best things to do with any of your time, and the best choice
in most situations. Fact.
Honourable mention goes to my friend John, who got hit in
the face during the first song and got a nosebleed. Which no
one noticed because so many people had fake nosebleeds. Amazing.
5.2.12 – The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
The Brudenell is one of the best venues in the country. This
is a true fact and if you disagree you're wrong.
I got a text on the morning of the gig, saying that the band
were stuck in snow. I hoped they'd be OK, and I also hoped that
they'd get to Leeds, from Inverness. When their singer called
later, things didn't bode well. They would be arriving just
in time to walk on stage. I expected to be told that nothing
was going on. I still went down to the Brudenell though. Why
That meant I got to see La Machine's metal riffs, heavy electronic
beats and (I'm sorry, I am) Karen O singing. Until their guitar
player broke his string and knocked everything out of tune,
they were all sorts of sexy. I want to see more of La Machine.
They should keep the beats, but they need a drummer. Hard.
Then, as promised, at gig time, Dead Wolf Club bustled through
the back door, set up their gear and then started playing. If
you could, that'd be a great way to start a gig on purpose.
It'll keep you lean, it'll make you play faster.
A dimly lit gig-room at The Brude, not full by a long way but
there are enough people here to suggest interest and Dead Wolf
Club sound great. Better live than on record (and I like the
record a lot), my friend reckons the drummer drums like Nico
MacBrain (I think he means she smiles a lot and her whole body
moves with the drumming. It certainly is an arresting sight.)
I hate the term angular when it comes to describing music.
Almost as much as I hate comparing bands with other bands (sorry
La Machine) but if you would, for a moment, understand that
I am having that monologue internally, maybe you can understand
a little of how Dead Wolf Club sound.
I suppose that would make reviews easier. I would show you pictures
of my face and you could figure out the rest.
Dead Wolf Club play the songs off their very good début
very well. The fact that they are stoked to be on tour shows
clearly and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them. I hope they get
to have a room full of fans because they'd kill, everything
would sound better. I'd like to be there. The other thing is
that they made me remember that I like being in a band. It's
fun. It should be fun. It's always great when it looks like
it is fun.