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Blog: Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Nights

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Off to Herne Hill last night, an area of London I'd not been to before, so I looked at the railway station on Google Street View to work my way out to the station. This is a DEAD GOOD bit of living in The Future, although it has to be said that Street View CAN be a little misleading. It told me Herne Hill was a sunny place full of people BREEZING around nonchalantly, but actually it was dark, rainy, and RAMMED with junkies begging and Very Very Nervous Lady Drivers. Honestly, everywhere I looked there were LOADS of them - Slightly Posh Ladies in HUGE cars shunting onto pedestrian crossings, screeching to halts, and doing U-Turns in busy streets. Maybe they'd just come out of a MEETING and were SCARED?

Anyway, I got to The Half Moon which as a dead nice, PROPER, Gig Pub. Instead of an A5 listings flyer there was a free FANZINE, The Stool Pigeon was available and the back room LOOKED like the sort of place where they did lots of gigs but weren't trying to show off about it - you know how some venues go "This is a VENUE! We are keeping MUSIC ALIVE! We do MOSHING and EVERYTHING!" like they've read about it in a Sunday Supplement? NOT like that, like a PROPER gig pub.

There was even a hairy soundman, who I had a chat with - he'd just got back from going on tour in Germany with Sad Day For Puppets. "Oh, me too" i said. "We played The Bang Bang Club." "So did we!" he said. EVERYBODY, it seems, plays The Bang Bang Club.

I set my guitar up but didn't do a linecheck - it seemed to be working and everybody was busy setting up - so just LURKED AROUND a bit, briefly speaking to a huge Rasta guy who introduced himself as General ... something. I could only understand about half of what he was saying, but that was fine as he could only understand about a quarter of my FENLAND BURR. In the end we worked out that he was looking for Texas Bob, and that I didn't know who he was.

I was due on at 8pm but Marcio (a lovely chap - we had our picture taken together later because apparently his brother is my "biggest fan in Brazil"! COOL!) said to wait a bit for some more people, so it was at quarter past that I went on and did THIS:
  • The Gay Train
  • The Peterborough All-Saints' Wide Game Team (Group B)
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • It Only Works Because You're Here
  • I Did A Gig In New York
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • Clubbing In The Week
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths

  • I REALLY enjoyed myself - to be honest I was in a slight grump, largely due to missing The Vlads (this ALWAYS happens at my first solo gig after a tour), but I got RIGHT into it, helped along by the sound being GRATE. The Gay Train is NOT the best song to start with when you need a linecheck (no guitar at ALL to start with then varying volumes throughout) but the sound guy (who was a totally different one to the one I'd spoken to earlier, for some reason) got it sorted out easily and, from my end at least, it felt BRILLIANT. HOORAH!

    I changed my shirt and went for a wee, and whilst in there a young Spanish gentleman came in (stop it) and said "You have a great voice." "No I don't", i thought, but said "Thank you!" His band were on next and sounded, as Mr N Grunshaw later pointed, a LOT like Orange Juice. His assessment is better than mine - I thought it was like a Spanish Guitar Group (like you see busking) doing Los Libertines, but with VIM and EXCITEMENT. It was all so ENTHUSIASTIC and JUMPING ABOUT and CONFIDENT and also STRANGE - WHY were these super Spanish Guitarists trying to be ... well, INDIE?

    There was more Indie to follow, with the lovely Kabeedies who I've played with, and enjoyed watching, before. Again tho it seemed a bit strange - in my head I still expect The Indie Bands to be a bit shambolic, a bit ramshackle and unsure, but they were EFFICIENT and TIGHT and HONED, with proper DANCE MOVES. It was all very good and exciting and the many PALS they had brought with them really enjoyed it - there were loads of them down the front singing along and DANCING!

    It did, however, make me think how much i miss seeing old-fashioned indie bands - it used to be that it was the funk bands, the rock bands, the Local Bands With A Coachload Of Friends who'd be COMPETENT and CHOREOGRAPHED and full of confidence, while the indie bands were people who were a bit hopeless but did it because they ABSOLUTELY HAD TO. Now everybody seems to be doing it properly!

    Well, nearly everybody, for LO! Next came The Television Personalities. Whilst in Germany I'd heard all sorts of reports about what it'd be like, with claims that they'd start songs halfway through and finish them in the middle of verses, and that is INDEED what happened. Mr Treacy came on, shouted "We're all going to die, let's get on with it!" and launched into a wobbly version of "The Kids Are All Right" - tho it took a little while for the audience to realise it. The band hadn't finished getting set up and they DASHED to plug things in, joining in three quarters of the way through. It sort of went on like that - a song would suddenly finish and Mr Treacy would start playing something else. The band would work out what it was, where in the song he'd begun, and LEAP straight in. They were AMAZING - they've obviously played like this before and it was incredible to watch.

    The gig itself, however, made me feel a bit uneasy - he seemed very fragile and a bit unwell and though, as I say, the band sounded GRATE it didn't seem entirely right to me, and so after half an hour I cleared off to get my train home. Apparently after I left the aforesaid General (who, it now appears, is Best Pals with Mr P Doherty) got up and - possibly unasked - did some TOASTING over one of the songs!

    I went to get my train, found I'd just missed it, so went back to the venue for a pre-train WEE. On the way back into the pub I upset some Spanish Teenagers who'd arranged loads of empty Pint Glasses... on the floor, in the dark, in front of the entrance. They seemed AGHAST that I hadn't seen and kicked one over! A bit perplexed I next went in search of a FLAPJACK, and eventually found a deserted supermarket - ENTIRELY deserted. I walked up and down the aisles looking for members of staff, called out several times, but all to no avail, so wandered out again. WEIRD.

    It was ll, in fact, VERY STRANGE INDEED! It felt a BIT like when I used to play the multi-band gigs at The Bull & Gate where you'd get a huge variety of different sorts of acts, but never as VARIED as this night had been. I got home PERPLEXED!

    posted 20/11/2009 by MJ Hibbett

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    Deserted supermarkets make me think of Dawn OfThe Dead...
    posted 22/11/2009 by The Gresham Flyers

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