The Only Ones, a legendary band, £18 on the door. Their magnum opus Another Girl Another Planet was merely a half-decent track on a cover CD until some girl on the internet mailed me a complete works compilation tape in 2003. I'd forgotten preceisly who'd sent me the tape until relatively recently, the usual problem of identifying online folk in real life. There was a girl at a party talking about The Only Ones reforming for some festivals and a few gigs and how she'd once sent a compilation tape to someone on the internet but forgotten who.
This mutual realisation didn't quite bring us closer together, 400 miles and David Kitchen put pay to that, but it did reveal a datum of kinship.
The tape was full of great great tunes, straddling punk, blues, new wave and psychedelia, The Only Ones deserving of their legendary status.
But what the fuck is happening tonight? The gig has been bumped down from The ABC to a smaller venue, The Garage and right now, before any bands, this place is mostly empty. The doors have been open for twenty minutes and I count 12 paying punters. Mostly old folk and a couple of kids.
The quiet, the space and the time lets my mind drift and I try to chart the last twelve years of my love life in my notebook.
By the time the support act come on the audience has swelled to maybe 150 and still nmroe people are flocking in, dispersing my fears of small crowds. The band are called The Haze, from Glasgow although I've never heard of them. A soaring and throbbing rock band. For the first song the singer usues a megaphone, rendering the lyrics as unintelligible sharp barks, even when he abandons the megaphone I stillc an't make out what he's saying, but they're very jolly.
Mid-song tempo changes, Will Sergeant-esque lead guitar. Neat pounding melodies that drag you in, whoops from the crowd and inbetween song feedback howls and distortion. Hmm, I think they sound a little like The Music.
The place seems mostly full when The Only Ones arrive on stage. Crikey they ook old, forgivable for the 25 years since they last play live (apart from the festivals earlier this summer). Peter Perrett is a gaunt stick insect of a man, big sunglasses, big hair, matchstick thin arms. The rest of the band look great, smug John Perry on lead guitar, like a bald Dave Gilmour, Mike on drums, old but steady.
On bass, there were problems, Alan Mair managed to snap a string two songs intot he set, and there, there was just problems with amps and DIs for the rest of the set, brief moments of the bass drowning out everything else, before coming back on line.
Peter Perrett's voice, what is it? Its liks this creaky whiney thing. He looks like an alien.
Luckily Another Girl Another Planet was perfect, slipped in second from the end. I saw Europe play the Garage the other year and they saved their Final Countdown for the encore to keep the crowd guess, but none of that for the Only Ones.
Shakey old men, who've seen better days, but cracking tunes and nice that they've not dead yet.
Ooh, I saw Stevie from Belle and Sebastian on my way out