Thursday 24 January 2008

Cuckoo's Nest, Kaputt, Abi Makes Music - The Good Ship

Hell of a day at work, work's okay if its a proper job, but today there was tons of legwork and I got home knackered, fell asleep as soon as I got in, until the pressure on my bladder or hunger got too much, then spent hours trying to surf the internet to find the tide had gone out and was nothing left online. Except for a dark and sinister mob emailing each other about my other websites whenever I clicked refresh on statcounter.

Hibbett speaks:-
You might think your time's spent better
Doing "research" in your room
But you are not Mr Fantastic, you're Doctor Doom

I've never been a going to the pub person, if invited, sure, but usually it takes so much fucking planning. I lived miles away from my friends back in my formative years, hours on buses to the middle of nowhere and going to the pub on my own in the hope of meeting people has been a soul-crushing experience for fifteen years now.

Gigs on my own, thats less awkward, preferable even, I get to listen to the music and move about in the mosh pit without being tied to my droogi, hence the nodding recognition and curt "fine, how are you?" conversations if I see anyone I know.

So I head out at 9pm to a random gig I'd seen on Facebook. The Good Ship in Kilburn, nightmare trying to find a cash machine, but got into the show two hours after the advertised doors time, not caring if I'd missed any bands.

There was no change in the door girl's tub so I had to head to the bar before paying or stealing any of their glittering array of cupcakes, ooh cupcakes.

On stage, in Buffalo Bill's sunken pit, is a four piece, mostly wearing black, two guitars, a stack of keyboards, bass guit and drums. A healthy dose of reverb pn the vox, easy comparison to Elastica in places, possibly informed by the post-rock movement. I think the reverb became a rope round the singer's neck by the final song.


Second act I saw was Abi Makes Music, she had her name on coloured pst it notes on the front of her keyboard.


It was awkward pish, I've seen quirky girls doing badly written arty poetry to backing tapes before, that George Pringle bird at Twee Ass-Fuck, it took me a few songs to get into, but was ultimately pretty satisfying. Abi Makes Music, on stage tonight, not so good. The lyrics were juvenile, the music was ropey, she forgets the words, repeats verses, misses cues and forgets the order of her songs.

I feel that the current crisis in the banking would is caused by a large part cos powerful bankers are inherently greedy and evil people, not all of them mind, but just enough so that when someone suggests taking crazy risks using other people's money in order to become crazy rich, there's not enouh people in the room to say "Chaps, you ought not to do that", general the majority of people in the room say "Fucken aye, lets make shit loads of money!!"

Even more so if there's just one greedy evil banker on his own in the room, there's no one to say no. But he ought to try and think about the negative consequences of his actions.

Likewise, I can't just sag off Abi, I have to find something positive. I'll get back to you on that.

"Ooh, was that the last track on the backing tape? Oh, I'd forgotten, I only put it together last night ad I forgot what's on it, like a slut," says she.

Such misuse of the term 'slut' makes me wonder about the rest of her lyrics. Not much though, they're just shite.

Okay, the one positive thing, her keyboard playing, it was okay, and would fit as the perfect accompanyment to an amateur dramatic society's annual musical.

If she practiced a bit more.

It was quite an alienating experience really. Maybe I should fuck off home, if anyone else at the gig 'got' Abi, it's not the gig for me. Then again, the first act were okay, maybe the last band would be too.

Hmm, last band? and the first band were playing at 9:30pm, this suggests that unless that first band played a really long set, then the doors to first band time is in excess of an hour. I was tracking this in earlier gigs this year and I did a bit of research into how long people expect to wait before the band comes on by posting polls on a handful of music messageboard. My findings neatly visualised in the graph below.

Expected to actual doors to first band on time

People expect the first band to be on stage around half an hour after the doors open, but in real life its always over an hour. Whilst self-righteous indignation and frustration at promoters is knocking on my door, I think Freakonomic style reasoning ought to be used. The punters are pretty smart, I think they're already coming to the gig half an hour after the doors open, and then end up waiting half an hour until the band comes on. They don't count the first half hour, its invisible, they weren't in the venue waiting then. They only expect to wait half an hour, even though the eager beaver early doors types wait the whole hour for the first band.

Last band of the night, Cuckoo's Nest, a two piece, drummer chap and guitar/vox lady making loud dark end of the world music.

Kind of like a dinosaur scraping at the souls of the living, there are rumbled words and yelps and neat bass work coming from that guitar. And I loved them, they made my evening. Sadly the kids who'd been dragged to the front for Abi had deserted them.

Cuckoo's Nest
Abi Makes Music

Tuesday 22 January 2008

MJ Hibbett, Sunny Intervals - The Lamb

Back at the Empire Theatre, MJ Hibbett at the front, I've claimed my usual seat at the back. Nodding recogition to the Spiral Scratch folk in the corner and Wee Pop somewhere in the middle. Not quite sure if its a tradition yet, but Mark starts with a ukulele set.
Informative introductions to each song, a Morrissey / Smiths medley in the middle, a few breaks in songs where he forgets the words and rather than dishonestly covering, he admits his mistakes.

"I'm never sure if its out of tune or just supposed to sound like that."

Finishing with A Million Ukuleles, the blissful tale of schools replacing recorders with ukes cos they're more fun, and the refrain that it just takes a few people infectiously playing to make the world a better place. When unexpectedly in the final chorus, half the audience pull out their own ukuleles and start playing along. Hibbett's almost overcome with emotion, falling over when he realises its not just some crazies in thr corner, but the chap sat next to him too.

I think I heard a cry of "Ukulele flash mob!"

Next up, Sunny Intervals, the keyboard chap from Pocketbooks cos MJ Hibbett never manages to see them play live, so its almost the same. He's stood along centre stage with an acoustic guitar.
There had always been suspicions that he was the secret powerhouse behind the Pocketbooks, but on his own its clear that he'd the 21st century's answer to Ian McCulloch. Imagine the Lightning Seeds solo.

Sweet and kinda funny. Some guy to my right who was providing a laughter track for Hibbett, he chuckles a few times. I'm ordering the debut release on Wee Pop.

Kind of friendly atmosphere after ther interval, MJ Hibbett with guitar, imaginary campfire aburning, familiar songs to which everyone knows the words, well, a couple of new ones and less familiar ones from themists of time.
Audience participation abounds and hints about what the new album's going to sound like - live favourites recorded using the bosa nova rhythm preset.

Its weird, every song gets me right there, hairs stand on end, I gazing into the middle-distance pondering the mistakes I've made and how to put things right. Its like one of those once a season Doctor Who stories where there's some kind of paradox or time loop, where yoy can't change the past, but with the twin benefits of hindsight and Hibbett lyrics.

He's heard the future and it sounds suspiciously like modestly played ukulele.

Bands & MP3
MJ Hibbett - Lesson of the Smiths
Sunny Intervals - Sixty Seconds to fall in Love

Other reviews

Wednesday 9 January 2008

White Heat: One More Grain, My Sad Captains, Mixedcases - Madame JoJo's

Crap, I'm here a little early, I can just about count the number of people here on the stumps of one paw. Not only that, but whilst last time I was here at Madame JoJo's I was so impressed with the coolness of the DJ's moustache, that I figured I'd acquire one of my own, tonight about half the folk here have moustaches. I feel 17% chump.

Some girls wander in, take a seat next to me and wander off soon after. Stupid facial hair. Its like I've gatecrashed a secret society.

I think this year I shall keep a running tally of how late after the advertised doors time it is before the first band comes on. Maybe using the magic of the internog to sling up a poll somewhere to first gauge expectations.

I'd forgotten how dark it was in here, through the murk I spy a vaguely familiar face, 2 retro EyeSpy points. Apart from the internoggin, I haven't seen her in real life for years, the last vibe I recall was loathing, so I keep my head down and moustache proud.

Lone chap on stage first, dunno who he is, I thought there were only two bands on. He has a guitar, a keyboard, a lot of effects and an embarrassed smile. Usually I don't like tape loop acts who build up their own backing, I want to live in a house, I don't need to see it being built. But his first song seduces me, it sounds like The Postal Service.

It sounds like a small boy looking up in the snow, with a bloon.
All warm and droney with nice rock guitar layered in.

That girl who looks like Jef is here.

My Sad Captains have gone ace. This one time back in '94 I heard The Levellers at Glasto, they took one of their best songs, One Way, and stuck a long didgeridoo intro on it and it sounded brilliant. No didgeridoo for My Sad Captains, but they sounded different tonight, they sounded great, they sounded real.
In fact, I'd go so far to say they sounded better than I've heard them before, Indietracks and Windmill. Still could be tweaked a little more, like there's nothing wrong with their recorded output so far, its a little perfect poppish but the production is a little pedestrian. Listen to Bad Decisions here, and tell me it wouldn't be better if the drums were a little more explosive leading up to the chorus, when they play live you get a little more of that vitality coming through.

I'd never heard of One More Grain, they had a trumperter which shoogled my interest. But on listening, they seemed a bit like Half Man Half Biscuit up their arse, with Julian Cope solos tacked on and arguing with JamieC.
I was about to leave with a crap review of them in mind, when suddenly, out of no where, something drops, and One More Grain are wandering round Cumbria and the Peak District. My legs go all wibbly, my eyes well up and I go back to the mid-90s.

Later, a busker is playing Take Five and Angelo Badalamenti on the underground, which does a better job of taking me back.

Bands & MP3
Mixedcases - Boo be with you
My Sad Captains - Building Blocks
One More Grain - Down Roman Road
White Heat