2017 and all that

Some of you, if you are Facebookies, may have been inundated with ‘Year in Review’ videos which are, frankly, rubbish. Facebook is crap at picking the images that tell the story of your year and always end up with old, reposted pictures, your ex who just dumped you or that one from where you saw an old mattress dumped in the street. The only way to do it is to chose your own images and tell it your own way. So here’s mine.

Around the world

In 2017 I’ve mostly been interested in Northern Europe. I don’t know why, but that’s just the way it was. So, here’s a whistlestop tour through my whistlestop tours.

Boom!! Cologne

Bang!! Paris

Wowee!! Rome, with The Couple Formerly Known As Trowelsworthy (TCFKAT).

Kablammo!! Orvieto

  

Crash!! Mainz

 

Kapow!! Bad Durkheim

Badabing!! Frankfurt

Bazinga!! Bavay

Wow!! Paris (again). Thanks for the cheapo tickets Eurostar.

Bang!! Senlis

Crash!! Leiden

 

Whoopee!! Amsterdam

Other places are available.

Tourists at home

It’s fantastic to visit far, or not so far away places, but home is best and being a tourist in your own home is great fun. On many of my touristic days out, Craig has been my travelling companion but I started the year, in traditional style, at the Twelfth Night celebrations on Bankside.

Then nose-hunting with Craig

And I also visited the London Lumiere with Pete and Dayna.

Me and Craig went to Freemason’s Hall.

And to the ‘Glad to be Gay: the struggle for legal equality’ exhibition at LSE. This celebrated 50 year since the decriminalization of homosexuality in Britain.

The City of London Police Museum.

 

We went to Banqueting House for ‘Long Live Queen James’, an evening exploring LGBT stories from the court of King James I/VI.

And we had a poke around the restoration works at Ally Pally.

 

The Supreme Court, with Jeremy

I went to Highgate Cemetery with Sacha and Stuart.

And with Craig and Jeremy to the London Transport Museum.

(“Exchange stations shewn thus”)

Plus loads more. Seriously, London is very cool. Go and look at it.

Moosic, moosic, moosic

There have been some stonking gigs this year. This isn’t all of them, but it is some of them. How many can you name?*

 

Random Romans

There are always more Romans about, so I went to have a look for some. I popped up for a quick visit to Newcastle and Carlisle to see some of the Hadrian’s Cavalry exhibitions.

 

I went to Hull! I’ve never been to Hull before but they have a fantastic Roman mosaic collection so I decided to make the effort and go and have a look. Well worth it.

I managed a couple of short trips up to Glasgow and Edinburgh, taking in Bothwellhaugh Roman bathhouse in Strathclyde Country Park with Ellen and Simon,

 

the bathouse and Antonine Wall remains at Bearsden,

and finally made it to Eagle Rock at Cramond.

 

Back in town, the eagerly awaited opening of the London Mithraeum didn’t disappoint.

When I was in Germany, I popped down to Speyer to see the Roman Collection at  Das Historische Museum der Pfalz (The Historical Museum of the Palatinate).

What else? What else? Volunteering on a schools’ project at the Museum of London’s Archaeological Archive (Me! Working with children!!), and I spent half the year working at Tower Bridge (actual paid employment!). This is surely enough to pack into 12 short months.

So that’s 2017 from me, and from my boys, Archie and Bertie. I hope you’ve had a good year and roll on 2018.

 

Oh, and here’s that one from where I saw an old mattress dumped in the street.

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Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia 2017

And so finally, after more than a week, here’s my little round-up of this year’s Liverpool Psych Fest.

The Good

Loop.


Obviously.
There was a little bit of kerfuffle at the beginning of the set with Loop’s traditional ‘shot with a diamond’ intro drone and it was quickly abandoned for a fairly full on, slightly aggressive set.
There wasn’t really much of a lightshow going on as the ‘Psych Colony’ canopy had been removed before they started playing so, for some of the set, at least, the band was basically silhouetted against the background projections. This prompted the (now classic) quip from Robert, “these lights are about as psychedelic as my cat” (obviously this has now lead to a number of discussions about the levels of psychedelia in the feline brain. Cats can actually be pretty psychedelic at times).

Magnetix


Not new, but new to me. I walked into Camp, heard 3 seconds of music and sprinted to the front for a bop. This French band has the drummer-guitarist, 2 piece configuration, making fun, boppy, hilarious garage music. The guitarist looks like your square uncle, trying to act like he’s down with the cool kids. The drummer looks like the ‘way-out-of-his-league’ cool girl who somehow manages to make him cool, geek-style. This is fun 😀

Ex-Easter Island Head Large Ensemble


The Large Ensemble played on Saturday afternoon and was well worth arriving in time for. About 30 or so musicians on stage, all with guitars (laid out on tables), little hand bells, drums, tappy things, plucky things and I-know-not-what. And clapping. All together creating a varied and absorbing, almost orchestral sound. I liked this a lot and would like to see them again. Maybe in a space like a theatre or concert hall, or somewhere like the Union Chapel, perhaps. They did actually play in London recently but I couldn’t go on that date and just thought “oh well, I’ll see them in Liverpool”. I’ll try very hard not to miss them next time.

The Telescopes


The question with The Telescopes is always “how many guitars?” They’re a band that can sound really quite different every time you see them and the guitar ratio is a major factor in this. I’ve seen them with from 1 to 6 guitars onstage, at Psych Fest, it was 4 (unless I’ve missed any out), so fairly guitary.
If you’re thinking of going to see them out of nostalgia, expecting There is No Floor and Seventh Sharp Disaster, forget it. They’ve moved on a long time ago, although they do still sometimes play Perfect Needle (not at Psych Fest), and that song works in the context of their more recent material. I like The Telescopes. I like their newest 5-track album, and I liked this set. I particularly like the Captain Caveman drumming 😀

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs


AKA, Pigs x7.
The venue where Pigs x7 were playing, District, can be a bit of a faff to get into at times, and doesn’t have the best views, especially if you’re short-ish, like me. So, wanting to make sure that I could get to see Pigs x7, I got to the venue nice and early. The band were setting up and soundchecking and a polite, tidy-looking fellow in a smart black shirt was tweaking his mic and requesting some pretty specific levels of echo and reverb.
The lights dimmed.
This polite, tidy-looking fellow then proceeded to tear off his shirt, roaring, leering, wrapping the the mic cord round his neck, elbow-bashing his keyboard, speaker-stack climbing. There was an incident with a sparkly pink cowboy hat. Buckfast. Oh, and some music too. Fun 😀

The Bug vs Dylan Carlson


The Bug vs Dylan Carlson played the late night spot after Loop. I had though that I was going to miss at least some of the set (see below) but late running meant that I was in Camp in time for the start. I think that they were struggling with some technical issues which, unfortunately, meant that much of the audience had wandered off by the time they got started. This was a shame because once it did get going, the sound was great. Loud, super bassy, and slllllooooooowwwww. This isn’t exactly music to bop to but has a really power and uncompromising intensity that makes it riveting ( and sometimes, frankly, hilarious). No psychedelic lightshows here, just a single red spot and billowing clouds of smoke. And that’s how you do heavy.

Sex Swing


After a battle-royale getting into Camp (see below), we managed get a good spot to see Sex Swing. I saw Sex Swing at the Transformer day over in Manchester and rather liked them. They play heavy, very rhythmic music. With a sax, so there’s also some honking. They played a new song (not that I’d know), which was really good.

Steve Davis and Kavus Torabi (DJ set)

Again there seemed to be a little bit of technical trouble (this year’s theme?) but once they got going, Steve Davis and Kavus Torabi provided all the bounce you need to stay later than you had intended. Lots of jazz hands, finger pointy, speaker-stack climbing and charging about the stage, particularly by Torabi. I stayed as long as I could, for the fun, and then had to head off to bed (seriously, I’d had 4 hours sleep the night before and was cream crackered).

 

Musings in Drone – AUDiNT : A Century of Zombie Sound


On the other occasions that I’ve been to Psych Fest, I haven’t managed to get to any of the Saturday afternoon talkie sessions, but his time I was keen to, especially the talk entitled ‘ A Century of Zombie Sound’. I’m glad that I managed to get there because it did cover some really intriguing developments, theories and uses of different kinds of audio and visual recording technology since WW2.
These included such jiggery-pokery as the US military’s WW2 ‘ghost army’; the positing of ‘Stone Tape Theory’ as an explanation for ghosts; the uses and abuses (real and imagined) of ‘backmasking’; and, more recently the resurrection of dead rappers as holograms. It alos looked forward to future developments, although not too far into the future, just to about 2050, so this was extensions and developments of existing technology.

The Bad
Trad, Gras och Stenar
OK, I know that these are on a lot of people’s ‘good’ lists but they were just way too prog for me. My bad.

Dirty Fences
Lordy-lord. Me and my pal walked into Camp and were confronted with what sounded like the Tweenies playing the Foo Fighters. This was not good. We left soon after.

KVB
I’ve seen KVB a couple of times before and found them a bit lifeless. It’s like they want to be all ‘pumped-up-power-pop-duo’ but they’re just so weak. In the biggish space of Camp they sounded even more weak and tinny. They just don’t excite me at all.

The food
What happened? A half-hour queue for chips? This is daft. The food offering was pretty limited and just not worth the wait. We learned our lesson on Friday and, on Saturday, we went out for an early dinner.

The crazy bouncer at Camp
Picture the scene: a band finishes playing and Camp empties out as people go off to catch other bands, buy drinks, have their brain scanned etc. A large crowd has formed outside Furness, as the venue is full with people seeing W.I.T.C.H and wanting to see Black Angels. People wanting to see Sex Swing start to make their way to the virtually empty Camp but are stopped by the bouncer who tells us that we have to go in via Furness. “But Furness is full!” we say. “They’re not letting anyone in because it’s full!”. The bouncer insists that we must go to Furness and then enter Camp via the little narrow corridor between the two venues. The crowd outside Camp grows a little larger. “Let us in!” people shout. “Furness is full” people shout. The bouncer become increasingly agitated, shouting, lunging at people, waving his arms around, adamant that no-one will pass. After about 10 minutes of this, there is quite a bit of a crowd outside, the almost completely empty, Camp when, suddenly, the bouncer just goes off in a strop. “He’s gone. Quick! We can go in” someone shouts. And so we all bundle in and disaster is averted. Sex Swing play to a decent sized audience rather than just the bar staff.
Random.

Need to see more

Acid Arab
I had really wanted to see Acid Arab, enough to sacrifice some of The Bug’s set for them, but didn’t really work out very well. They were playing in District, which is a tricky venue and, having got past the door security which was enforcing 1-in-1-out, I couldn’t see them at all (really, not even a bit); I was surrounded by very tall people who insisted on carrying out very loud conversations, so I could hardly hear them either; I seemed to be on the route to everywhere so I spent the whole time being pushed this way and that, not by people dancing but by people going to the bar, going to the door, going to have a chat with the other very tall people, so I couldn’t even just have a dance. In the end I gave up and went back to Camp for The Bug (who were late getting started so I didn’t miss anything). I think I’d like to try again somewhere with a bit more of a conducive atmosphere and (hopefully) audience.

Nonn
Nonn are a Fuzz Club signing from Sweden. I like Fuzz Club and, although I’ve never actually been to Sweden, I’m quite prepared to say that I like it too. I was a little bit conflicted about Nonn though. On the one hand, I rather liked their electro-y New-Order-Lite set. On the other hand, I felt that they seemed to be in serious need of a bit of oomph. Maybe it was because I could barely hear the guitar (seriously, get some pedals on it and turn it up!). If only they would pump it up a bit I think that I’d quite like this band.

Didn’t get to see, dammit!

Gnod, WH Lung, Duds, Container. You’re on my list. I am (eventually) coming to getcha.

Right. So that’s Psych Fest for 2017. Good? Or rubbish?

Good 😀

There was lots of other stuff too; popping in and out of the venues to see a bit of this and a bit of that; the coffee tent; the drinks token system which worked well, I thought; upstairs at Furness is a nice place to just hang out. Some people have mithered a bit about headliners – are they psych? Are they big enough to headline a festival? Are they any good? I think that for me, Pysch Fest is a festival where the headliners don’t necessarily make or break it. They don’t have to be the main draw (for me). There are so many other bands to see, things to do, VR to play with etc, that the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts. It’s a good way to spend a weekend.

Fin

Music makes me lose control

Frankfurt’s Museum für Kommunikation, on the Main riverbank, was founded in 1958 as the Federal Postal Museum (Bundespostmuseum) and its remit covers a pretty broad spectrum of all modes of communication. It’s currently undergoing a major refurbishment so much of the museum, including the permanent collection is currently off limits, but while I was in Frankfurt, I spotted a poster for a very tempting exhibition that I just couldn’t resist.

It’s ‘‘ Oh Yeah! Pop Music in Germany’, charting the history of popular music in Germany from the 1920s to the present. 😀

On entering the expo, I was giving a pair of headphones and directed to the first lot of listening stations for some modern German pop. This was pretty awful, but I’m not deterred by such things as it’s in the nature of pop for a lot of it to be pretty awful.

This was one of those exhibitions that’s a lot of fun, as well as being informative. There were loads of listening points to plug into, going back in time from the present to the 1920s, with cases of pop-star outfits and memorabilia, instruments, films, pop videos and posters.

 

The displays are grouped by genre/subculture as well as time period and there’s a whole section on Goths, with a handy guide showing images and detailing the key characteristics of the various sub-groups.

 

The stories of some of the musical movement are told in relation to the political and social upheavals of the 20th century and, clearly, Germany in the 20th century had some pretty notable political and social shifts. Some of the displays you can’t help but think of seriously. Nazi pop anyone?

With others, it’s a little more difficult to get past the terrible hairstyles and over-acted pop videos in order the reach any serious commentary on the politics of the day lurking beneath the froth.

I think that my favourite sections were the ‘build-up to the-fall-of-the-berlin-wall’ 1980s, the section on electronic music and the Krautrock. These included artists and songs that you just couldn’t leave out of an exhibition on pop music in Germany. Who could forget the time when nuclear armageddon was triggered by accident?

And here’s Nena is a slightly frothier guise.

Ahhh, the eighties *snigger*.

pop11

The section on electronic music had some great artefacts on display, and the most obvious exponents on the screen.

 

And then there was Can.

This was a very fuzzy film of them performing ‘Spoon’ in 1972, with Damo dancing around in a red catsuit 😀

I was having such a good time listening to all the good, and terrible, music, that I ended up having to run like the wind to catch my train 😀 The exhibition runs until 25th February 2018, so if you happen to be in Frankfurt with an hour or two to spare, give it a whirl.

 

The Cupboard of Indie Nonsense: Bangers’n’mosh

P1030425Back in the day, the yummy mummy heartland of Hampstead was the scene of some rather less-than-yummy activities. Hampstead Heath was, and is, known for racy nocturnal activities and not-very-twee cottages frequented by such illustrious figures as Joe Orton.

Still fairly messy, but less illegal, was the fantastic indie night club called Sausage Machine, held in the titchy basement of the White Horse Pub (on the corner next to the bus terminus by the Royal Free Hospital). Put on by Paul Cox, from Too Pure record label, all kinds of cool bands played; Gallon Drunk, PJ Harvey, Therapy, Silverfish, Th’ Faith Healers, The Keatons, Teenage Fanclub, Pram, Moonshake. Lots of Riot Grrrl, and proto Riot Grrrl bands like Huggy Bear, Mambo Taxi and Bikini Kill. They also had the best, and messiest, New Year’s Eve parties.

p1690545

Some gigs featured pretty big names.

p1690542

Ok, Suede weren’t that big in 1992, but they were bigger than the White Horse.

There was always lots of ‘Camden lurching’ going on and the room was so small that there was always a crush and people falling over the front of the, very low, stage. The basement room was reached by a treacherous spiral staircase; the scene of many a tumble.

I don’t have any photos from the Sausage Machine, just a  few flyers and posters.

p1690531

This poster for the 2-day 4th Birthday party in 1992 (?) has clues about which four bands were playing.

p1690535

Can  you guess?*

p1690539

If I find any more posters or flyers in the course of my rummagings, I’ll post those later.

TTFN

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*It was Gallon Drunk, PJ Harvey, Moose and  Stereolab.

The Cupboard of Indie Nonsense: Sexless things

P1030425

Older readers may remember one of Madonna’s (many) memorable moments. One that saw her letting it all hang out all over the shop.

cover_of_madonnas_sex_book*

In 1992, Madonna released her coffee tables tome entitled ‘Sex’. It consisted mostly of Madonna hanging about the place in the scud, with famous snappers taking photos of her. The tabloids were horrified and a reviewer in Spin magazine declare that Madonna was “…becoming the human equivalent of the  Energizer Bunny”*

Most of the people I knew were mildly amused for about 5 minutes but not especially bothered one way or another.  One person I knew, Sean Forbes from Rough Trade, AKA Big Sean, and his band of merry men, responded with a style and panache rarely seen in indie-land.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Wat Tyler’s ‘Sexless’.

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Wat Tyler was one of those eighties/nineties punk bands that played crusty places like Club Dog at the George Robey and bounced about on various labels releasing whatever they fancied, without seeming to bother their heads about what the rest of he music biz was doing.

Released in 1993, ‘Sexless’ saw Wat Tyler picking up the gauntlet thrown down by Madge, giving it a sniff, and wiping their bums with it. And then, probably, giving it another sniff. It consists of a booklet of ‘erotic’ images paying homage to her Madge, and a 7″ single.

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Madonna’s original was made with aluminium covers with the name stamped in the centre, giving it a high end, hard edged, somewhat fetishistic feel.  Each book reportedly utilised a pound of aluminium resulting in a $100+ price tag.

Indie bands, and indie fans, just can’t run to that kind of money so, as a token, each release contained a little piece of tin foil with a hand-written message. Mine says “Brown love”. I’m just going to assume that that’s rude.

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So what’s inside?

Madonna’s book featured the lady herself in a state of undress and in a range of increasingly provocative poses. Working fetish looks, exploring erotic fantasies, and simulating sexual acts of all kinds. Madge was joined by her, then, beau, Vanilla Ice and a cast of famous supermodels, socialites, porn stars, and other assorted publicity-hungry types. But where were the Wat Tyler lads going to find models willing to strip off and stand about in the street having their pictures taken? For no money?

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Oh!

Where Madonna’s publication revelled in shiny, stylish, stylized erotica, Wat Tyler were a bit more…earthy.

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One of the images was later released on a picture disc so you could watch it going round and round, but I don’t have that (I don’t think so anyway).

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I don’t know how Sean feels about this now, but I think it’s a masterpiece from a Master Piss-taker.

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*This image is from the Wiki entry for Madonna’s Sex. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_(book)

The Cupboard of Indie Nonsense: 7″ of fun

The Cupboard of Indie Nonsense is being reopened following a special request from my pal Dave.

P1030425

As the core business of Indie Nonsense is indie music, I’m going to put on display a few of the oddities and rarities that The Cupboard contains.

I was having a chat with a couple of pals a while back about, among other things, the silly money that some records and band memorabilia go for on ebay. I haven’t looked up prices for any of these because it just makes me roll my eyes but I do know that collectors can get a bit ‘keen’ for some of this sort of stuff. These are not for sale.

Anyone who has ever read this blog will know that I’m a bit of a Loop fan, so I’m starting with a little bit of Loop-related nonsense. First up, The Field Mice.

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This vinyl flexi-disc (BULL 4-0) is The Field Mice’s celebrated cover version of Loop’s ‘Burning World’. A classic.

Being a flexi-disc puts it in the category of REALLY indie nonsense. Flexi-discs are, unsurprisingly, thin, flexible little 7″ records* which were often given away with magazines and fanzines or sold for about 50p at gigs.

This one is extra-indie because it’s clear vinyl.

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Incidentally, in the making of this post, I’ve discovered that I’ve actually got three of these! Random.

Here’s another Loop-related disc, only this time, it’s the boys themselves.

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This hard vinyl disc, Sniffin Rock #8 (SR005A7), was given away with Sniffin Rock magazine in 1989 and contains 3 tracks; ‘Pulse’ by Loop, ‘For Dude’ by Gaye Bykers On Acid and the delightfully entitled  ‘Wanking In The Bog’ by The Abs.

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As the wonderful Teenage Fanclub are currently on tour, wowing audiences up and down the country, I’d decided to include a few little nuggets of Fanny nonsense here but then I realized that I’ve got loads of TFC 7″, so I might do a whole separate post of those. Here is just one goodie to finish with.

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This song, ‘Everybody’s Fool’ is the final track on the Fannies’ first album ‘A Catholic Education’ (PAPLP004) and it contains the classic lyrics “‘I don’t fucking care, what clothes you wear, you’re still fucking square”.

It was also released as a 7″ in 1990, backed with ‘Primary Education’ and ‘Speeder’ (OLE 007-7).

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In late 1990, Teenage Fanclub were touring with Gumball and did this hilariously good fun free gig on a Saturday afternoon at Rough Trade, Covent Garden. So I had my record signed by the band and by BMX Bandits guru Duglas T Stewart.  I actually have a photo of this historic moment.

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But wait, there’s one signature missing. Where’s Raymond? I’ve no idea. Maybe he wasn’t there that afternoon (he isn’t in any of my photos).

Still, this is a prized possession and the splodgy-evil-grin-Norman-face in the top right of the front cover, and across the back cover, was replicated on another prized possession; the corresponding badge.

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If I ever lost these badges, I would cry so hard.

More nonsense indie records next time.

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*other sizes are available.

Sound and Vision

This weekend I’ve been at the Hackney-based multi-venue festival, Visions.

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You know the sort of thing; see a band, run down the road, see another band, spend 10 minutes studying the schedule, run back to the  first venue, see a band, grab a sandwich, see a band…

Now, I’m pretty lazy, so all that running sounds less like fun than I’d like, but I did get to see the usual mix of hits and misses.

The day didn’t start too well. I aimed to get to the wristband pick up point in time to get my wristband and then see at least some of the set by Oscar @ The Laundry before my ‘must see’ for the festival, Girl Band. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astry, especially when they come up against the monster that was The Great Wristband Queue of 2015. Honestly, I’ve been in some monster queues before but this was ridiculous. Stretching away into the distance, round the corner, stretching away into the distance again, round the corner, oh! I can see the end of it. Starting off a festival like this is a little disheartening, to say the least, as I really thought that despite being there over an hour before Girl Band were due on, the queue situation would probably mean that I was going to miss them (one of the security people was actually telling people to go away and come back in a hour!).

I’m pleased to report that the process didn’t take as long as I had feared it would and I was able to get the necessary wristband and get to the venue just in time to bag a spot for the Girl Band set. Phew! Disaster averted.

So, to Girl Band @ The Laundry. I’ve written a little about this Dublin 4-piece before. They haven’t played in London for a little while and have new material, so I was keen to see them.

Girl Band 1

They started their set with their fun cover of Blawan’s Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage. This is always pretty  popular at gigs and the gruesome video has gone down a storm 😀

Girl Band 4  Girl Band 3

The set wasn’t that long, but it did include the new single and album track, Paul. The vocalist, Dara sounded like he’d been gargling with gravel, but, as always it was good fun. I’m looking forward to the new album.

Girl Band 2

After a fortifying cup of coffee, I went back into The Laundry to see Merchandise. I don’t know this band and so didn’t really know what to expect, but I have since seen them described as “meat ‘n’ potatoes indie rock” and I’d say that sounds about right. To be honest, there was a bit too much of the U2s about this band for my liking, so I only stayed for about three songs and then skipped over the road to The Brewhouse to catch a bit of Torn Hawk. This is a one-man project using laptop and guitar, with visuals, samples, spoken work clips and beats. It was ok but I found myself movie-spotting his samples and film clips and the whole thing didn’t hold my interest enough to compensate for the extreme sweatiness of the venue.

For the next bit of the early evening, I had to make a big decision; Son Lux or Gazelle Twin. They were playing at venues that were about a mile apart, Oval Space and the new, not even open yet, Moth Club, so there was no possibility of skipping between the two. In the end I opted for Gazelle Twin @ Moth Club but as I had a little bit of a wait before they were due on, I went for a cuppa. In retrospect this probably wasn’t the best idea because when I got back to The Moth Club, there was a queue and it was ‘one-in, one-out’. So I  waited. By this time I couldn’t go to Son Lux as it was too far away to be able to get there in time to see anything (and, of courses, with no guarantee of being able to get in there), so I just waited.

I did get in eventually and the venue was rammed. It was really good though.

Gazelle Twin

Two faceless hooded figures pumping out quite sparce but relentless beats, and chanted vocals. It’s actually a bit creepy despite the cool danceability. There’s a lot of dark energy in this.

Gazelle Twin 2

For the rest of the evening, there was a variety of choices, but most of the ones I might have been interested in were either in the Moth Club where I already was, or in venues all the way back down past London Fields, so I decide to just stay put. Due to the threat of more queuing, I didn’t even go back outside, I just took up residence at The Moth Club and this proved to be a good move (or non-move).

The next act was Blanck Mass, another solo project, this time by one half of the Fuck Buttons.

Blanck Mass 1

The first part of the set was essentially soundscapes, arrhythmic and meandering, but this also kept morphing imperceptibly into rocking beats that had the crowd whooping like a dance crowd. This felt to me like a cross between music production and DJing where the DJ works the crowd and builds different moods throughout the set without anything as obvious as a break between tracks. Put together with some great abstract visuals, this was a real treat of a set.

For the end of the evening, I’d had a choice between Holy Fuck @ Oval Space and H09909 @ Moth Club as I’d decided to end the night on something fairly fierce. H09909 it was.

HO99O9 3   HO99O9 4

I also rather liked the Moth Club, despite the fact that, by now, it was pretty sweaty, so it seemed like a good place to end the night. Good choice.

HO99O9

I’ve seen H09909 described as hip hop and I can more or less understand why, but this was really hardcore. The whole this reminded me strongly of some of the old school hardcore gigs that I used to go to at the end of the ’80s. They don’t play the same kinds of instruments, these days it’s a laptop and samples, but they also had a live drummer and, overall, the set had a air of unpredictability and, at times, more than a touch of chaos.

HO99O9 2

This was enormous fun. There was a proper mosh-pit and I’m afraid that The Moth Club may have to do some repairs, as revellers were hanging off the lighting  track and may have trashed the projector. I hope that the people at the club think that it was worth it to be christened in such a joyful and memorable fashion.

So this proved  a fine ending to a mixed day.

I’ll start with the not so good. The queues. I didn’t get it too badly, overall I probably spent about an hour or so queuing, but I’ve seen a lot of frustration being expressed on Twitter about being completely unable to get into gigs. Last year’s festival really didn’t have this problem, so it must be because of the increased capacity brought by adding St. John Church to the list of venues.

The other problem that this caused was that the venues are now quite a long way apart. There’s a little cluster near-ish to London Fields and then two more and the food/beer market up at Hackney Central. This is about a 20 minute walk, making it far more difficult to flit between venues, perhaps checking out unfamiliar bands. It became more necessary to plan every move and try to get to the appropriate venue well before the bands were due on.

Talking of the food market, the Visions-affiliated food outlets involved a bit too much ‘pulled-porkery’ for my tastes. There is definitely an American influence running through hipster food. It’s very meat’n’cheese-heavy and everything has to be ‘pulled’. I gave it a miss.

The good? The music, of course. For me it was Girl Band, Gazelle Twin, Blanck Mass and Ho99o9, who were all cracking. A lot of Tweeps clearly had a good time despite the odd hiccup. For me, the quality and range of music on offer outweighed the negative points outlined above.

And then there’s the brand new Moth Club.

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How could I not love a new club that has a golden ceiling? Golden ceiling!! 😀

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I look forward to spending more evenings there.