Friday 29 February 2008

Endispiece - Alperton

Its been over a year since Steff mailed me about doing a music webzine, and now twelve months since I started reviewing gigs here.

289 bands
130 gigs
6 cities
4 writers

12,000 page views
7,000 unique visitors
£700 paid on the door

I'm done.
There'll be one fewer gig review website the internet, one less quiet chap stood at the back scribbling. One less relevant link on the google search for your band.

Bands what I saw most
The Plimptons - 10 times (kind of predictable really)
The Just Joans - 7 times
MJ Hibbett - 5 times
Pete Green - 5 times
Pocketbooks - 5 times
The School - 5 times
Ally Kerr - 4 times
Deep Fried Wolfknuckles - 4 times
My Sad Captains - 4 times
Roy Moller - 4 times
The Hermit Crabs - 4 times
Tom Snowball - 4 times

Most popular posts appeared to be The Gresham Flyers at Indietracks and Abi Makes Music at The Good Ship, which kind of suggests that being incendiary is the way forward. Other things that could be the way forward in this sort of venture include:-
Getting on guestlists for gigs
Talking to the more familiar faces at gigs
Putting up downloady tunes from the bands
Having a buy now button for merchy from the bands
Beating other people with sticks to write reviews
Plimptons writing reviews of their own shows
Arguing with other reviews

It was 1995, July. Me and the boy who'd become Pnos Love, out in Manchester the first gig I ever went to, at The Boardwalk, Cast with The Longpigs as support. There were other kids from my class at school in the crowd, we nodded recognition in the sweaty haze. I got mugged on the way home, bleeding in the back of Pnos's mum's car.

October 1995, Boo Radleys and Electrafixion at Manchester Academy, I met the girl who became the first girl I kissed.

It was a long time ago.

Glasgow Indie Eyespy was a game I came up with in the middle of the decade, after some drunken discussion with Gav from Camera Obscura about doing Glasgow Indie Top Trumps. I realised there were too many people, so instead it was just a list of everyone, you got points for spotting them at gigs. I came up with a convoluted method of ranking the bands, based on google, technorati and Last.Fm, it was a bit jolly for the bands involved to check how they fared each week.

Last Night From Glasgow was a daily video webcast thing, I got bands to come and play in my bedroom and slung up the videos on YouTube. It kept me occupied when my girlfriend moved hundreds of miles away, it kept me distracted. I ran out of bands I could persuade to come round, and it was too much hassle pimping it on hundreds of messageboards for the ten people who actually tuned in to watch. Good idea, mind.

Now what
Until I come up with something more wholesome to do online, I devote my time with the pen to my graphic novel / webcomic / personal blog
ill Theatre
and office based erotic art
Naked Chicks on Post-it Notes


and thanks

That was Last Night From Glasgow Indie Eyespy and it was great, I know, cos I was there.


Sunday 24 February 2008

Pete Green, Pocketbooks, The Parallelograms, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Betsey Trotwood

Nowt to do for a Saturday so I wandered into town for a bit of exercise and trekked along to Farringdon. Of course, I got to the venue about three hours early, so I wandered up the Road to Kings Cross and picked up a Flashman novel to read over a beer.

I'd forgotten how much I love George MacDonald Fraser, Flashy's a bit of a role model I guess. Some West Ham-based trouble breaks out in the pub, I slip out just as four police minibuses and half a dozen police cars arrive. They send in a pack of police dogs, I'm sure that'll diffuse the situation.

Time passes and I head along to the gig. Its a quaint looking place, Thor and Ladybug from Not Quite Rocket Science outside, we say hey, and inside its even more of a who's who. Trev Lost and Tom SoundsXP at the bar, the word is its going to be a bit crowded downstairs. Atomic Beat folk wandering about, MJ Hibbett materialises, beer is consumed. Topical ales include Bishop's Finger, which was nice, Kent's Best, which was okay, and Spitfire which is bogging or it could have been the Red Bull I'd been guzzling all day in lieu of food, its turned my tastebuds.

Lo! It is crowded downstairs, I get in earlish and find myself near the front. The basement is like catacombs, it is The Bards Tale, sunken booths, whitewashed walled and zombies.

Pete Green on first, it takes a few songs to get the levels right, and his guitar, tonight without layers of gaffertape sounds different to usual. Its a friendly performance in a room full of friends.

Hearing "Best British Band Supported by Shockwaves" for the first time was pretty neat, incrowd references and stuff made it. Maybe there are important questions about the nature of sponsorship in popular music which need to be addressed, not now mind. Its warm and gentle tonight.

Gah, no photies from me for this review, whilst my camera is nestled in my pocket, its battery is many miles away become charged. There are plenty of other folk with cameras and I think a chap from Dandelion Radio is taping the show for the internet.

Atomic Beat have the stage times pinned to the walls all over the place which is nice. At some point in the future it'll be square and too formal and not punk enough, but right now, its neat and appreciated. Fag break? Sure, plenty of time.

Pocketbooks on next, sounds better than last time, that show at the Enterprise. Birthday girl singer Emma fluffs her lines a few times, but they pull it off with good grace, Andy nodding to the Dandelion Radio guy he can edit it out later.

They still come over as the finely aimed bastard sons (and daughter) of Belle and Sebastian and Camera Obscura, with, I reckon, a sprinkling of the Lightning Seeds's perfect pop.

Ian the slightly new guitar player is settling into his role better, but they ought to prod the sound engineer a bit more.

As I sribble this review on the train home, a gentleman behind me says "His heart was as strong as an ox".

Last time I saw The Parallelograms was DSFAR in Nottingham just before Christmas, I was coming down with than flu that was going round and not in the best of moods. Some bloke I'd known for years barged me out of his way at the back of the crowd, and no one I knew saw me. I barely made it hom alive, let alone write up a coherent review of the bands that wouldn't get me banned from computer keyboards everywhere.

Ooh they have a standing up drummer, the guitar chap is a little drunk and the singing girl reminds me of Angelica when they're not rocking out. Its an awkward fit, teenage girl vocals and noisy guitar rock, but they pull it off with humour and single chord rock endings.

Single out on Atomic Beat Records, available in the foyer.

All the bands playing tonight roughly begin with the letter P. Its like Seasame Street, but with Anoraks instead of puppets.

I find myself stood at the back for the final band, mulling over ideas, ideas. For my final post here on LNFGIES I write about the first gig I ever went to, post all the songs I've ever recorded and I've got a few ideas for threads/indie concepts: cover version tennis, writing songs for other people, and never playing the same songs live twice.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, current doyennes of Anorak, they're very good, nice reverb on the vox and organy keyboards. Realy embracing stuff. I'm stood at the back, girl who looks familiar from Glasgow at 11 o'clock, names to faces all around, avoid eye contact. Avoid.

The Pains have this song with the refrain 'We will never die', the drums, maybe even the key, remind me of the mighty Roses' 'I am the Ressurrection'. The refrains have similar meanings.

As I trek home, I'm thinking More of that sort of thing.

Other reviews

Saturday 23 February 2008

Arthur and Martha, Elika, Eat Lights Become Lights - The Windmill

Well, it gets me out of the house on a Friday night, and I'm going to miss that when its all over. Took me over and hour and a half to get to Brixton this evening, I ought to go to more shows in Nottingham, its quicker.

Thought I'd missed tonight's opening act, Arthur and Martha, but they leapt to the stage a few minutes after I arrived. The first couple of songs were kind of like walkig alonga street where cars aren't allowed, but a few songs in, the one with the crackly speaker noise was was nice, and they found their groove.
Its a curved triangular gamut, with Saint Etienne, Younger Younger 28s, Stereolab nd Kraftwork at the points and Arthur and Martha wandering between.

Ooh, back track solo!

Sometimes cracking pop, edgy and new waveish, and sometimes dreary. I preferred them at the Buffalo.

My enjoyment of the next band was diminished by most people in the crowd talking during the songs. Mostly odd-shaped people, speccy twats and cunts with bags.

Imagine reader, you've paid five pounds to go to a gig, now arrange the following three things in order of priority:-
1. Listening to the bands on stage
2. Chatting to your mates
3. Getting pished
I'm not suggesting that these three things are mutually exclusive, just prioritise them considering when you do that you've paid five pounds to go to this gig. Now fuck off.

I've never killed anyone with a blade, but you know in the film Marathon Man, uncle Larry has that concealed knife up his sleeve so he can deftly slash an elderly jewish woman's throat when she recognises him in the street.

It would be a neat way to stop someone talking at at gig.
"This woman needs help, someone, please...."

So Elika, on stage, a little electro, Twin Peaksy Julee Cruise vocals, kind of droney.
The largest array of guitar effects pedals I've seen in months.

If I were drunker and the crowd quieter, it would be neatly hyponotic and overwealming and the sort of thing I'd listen to under smoke and multi-coloured lights.

Gah! I'd wandered outside to scribble between bands, and missed a little of the next band, Eat Lights Become Lights. The place is packed near the front, its dark and stark on stage, rock is happening, two guitars, a bass, drums and a synth, and no microphones. Yay.
Instrumental rock, throbbing basslines, squelchy effects. Warm, blissful darkness, rather happy looking lead guitar chappy, who seemed amused whenever the floppy haired bassplayer puts on his glasses to play specific lines.

They had a strobe light on stage.

Oh, I miss strobe lights.

Monday 18 February 2008

Fireworks Night, My Sad Captains - Hoxton Kitchen Bar and Grill

Missed the first band, having dinner with pa and driving over from the otherside of town. Why is Hoxton so difficult to get to? And parking, don't get me started, well, wasn't so bad really. Parked for free outside The MacBeth, haven't been there in a while.

Fireworks Night 03

So, the first band, I caught, the second on stage, sounded like the more bombastic Divine Comedy, and the same lilt as Ink Wilson's How To Swim, but with half as many people on stage. Two violins mind, which gave a rare depth. There was a banjo chap too, he switched to playing the wood saw for the final song.

Nice haunting wig out at the end, if I can find the name of the band, I'd check out their Myspace later.

Fireworks Night 02

Oh, Tom SoundsXP and Trev Lost in the crowd and that chap with the moustache from White Heat, three sets of bonus points.

I don't think I've been here since Architecture In Helsinki, its still got that annoying lighting where you can't see where you're going, and save the indiekids, its a bit too Shoreditchy in the crowd, all stubble and the Mighty Boosh.

My Sad Captains 03

My Sad Captains, getting into my top three favourite bands right now. Still like last time, when they play live, they sound different what's on my iPod, more stadiummy, epic even, extended play versions, with more depth and flourish. It caught me off guard, I thought it was just where I was standing that sounded different, but no, they're on fire tonight.

My Sad Captains 01

I like them in the same way, with the same passion I loved Ash in '95/'96, the way the set flows, not so much with hits, but with the ones I know, all neatly slotting in. Couple of new songs, a little different from their more familiar stuff, remember the difference between Trailer and 1977. Its a step change in the more commercial mainstream direction.

New single out at the end of March on White Heat Records. I hope they have some festival dates lined up.

My Sad Captains
Fireworks Night

Other Reviews

Sunday 17 February 2008

Antifolk Winter Festival - 12 Bar

12 Bar, Suzy Almond doing bluesy folksy music on her own with a big acoustic guitar in a drafty but crowded backroom that reminds me of some crumbling barn in Toledo.

At least 50% of the women here have the same hairstyle as an ex-girlfriend I had called Jax.

Suzy Almond

Its the Antifolk Winter Festival, dunno how this one sneaked under the anorak indiepop radar, but half the bands here are Indietracks favourites, and I've just had to text AJ Smith when I found out that The Television Personalities are headlining.

The band times are pinned to the wals all over the place. I've missed a day's worth of bands yesterday and one band today already.

Stuart James

Next on stage is Stuart James, so subtle the folk in the crowd hardly notice when he starts. What he's playing is awesome, just him and his guitar, but its almost spoken word, quickfire, mumbles, hardly pausing for breath, guitar hardly strummed.

I was listening to Nislopi the other night, this chap has the same accent. I think the subject matter is more Just Joansy, but more intense, dense, tightly packed. Maybe if The Streets weren't hip-hop.

He wears blue t-shit and brown jeans, that's what I wore last time I played a gig in London.

The Bobby McGees 02

Thee Assassins 02

Simon Breed

The Sways 01

Joe Fuzbuz

The Lovely Eggs 01

Other Photies

Friday 8 February 2008

Twee As Fuck: Ipso Facto, Liechtenstein, The Winter Club - Buffalo Bar

I fucken hate queues. I hate them so much.

You know queues at cash machines, thats a load of people who really want to spend money, but have been stopped from doing so. Some would say we're heading for a recession here in the 21st century, banks could boost the economy in seconds by making their machines give out money quick. Fuck fraud. The government hand out our personal details at every opportunity and banks already charge us through the nose, so fuck so that. When we want to spend money, don't make up wait for it.

Queuing up outside the Buffalo Bar for Twee As Fuck presents Ipso Facto, Liechtenstein, The Winter Club. Its cold and the queues not moving, its kind of stationary. It only moves very slowly, not because they are letting people in slowly, but because guestlist folk are escorted to another queue or people give up and fuck off to some other gig. Every so often the queue moves backward as folk push in, spotting their friends nearer the front. "Its not what you know, its who you know".
Listen to this

*jingle jangle*

that is the sound of my pockets full of cash, I want to pay the girl on the door to let me in, I want to buy a few drinks, I want to watch some bands, maybe I want to buy some merchandise.

But I can't because I'm stood outside in the cold in a queue that isn't moving.

Imagine, hypothetically, in some crazy fucked up world, that I didn't go to gigs out of a rabid obsession with seeing as many bands as possible and then spewing my own vitriol and agenda online, but as some kind of social event, and rather than just seeing people at gigs socially, I'd seek to swell the size of the scene by bringing along my own, still hypothetical, friends.

"Aw man, you'd love this band" Sayeth me to hypothetical friend
"Ach, but we'd have to stand around for hours" quoth said hypothetical friend
"No no no, look at this graph..."
Expected to actual doors to first band on time
"... which clearly shows people expect bands to start half an hour after the Facebook quoted doors time, but actually the bands start an hour after the Facebook quoted doors time. (months of research went into this graph)"
"Wow Chris, you've convinced us. We ought to invite you out to the pub and parties and stuff more often, and I'm going to put a good word in about you to that girl you're scared of talking to."

Quick scene change to queuing up outside the fucking Buffalo Bar in the cold for ages. Hypothetical friends would turn to me and say something like "Chris, I'm going to stamp on your throat for this" and they'd be completely justified.
Twenty minutes outside in the queue without it actually moving, almost an hour after the doors time, and I give up and head home, musing briefly about the bands I've missed...

Liechtenstein, I saw them once before, at the Albany, thought they sounded like a girl-fronted Specials, kind of cute too. No idea about the other bands, The Winter Club and Ipso Facto, maybe I never will.

So apart from my cold getting a wee bit worse, the best thing about tonight's gig was that when I got home, I had thirty quid in my pocket! Fucken aye!!

Twee As Fuck
Ipso Facto
The Winter Club

Other photies