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Blog: Sixties Dust In The Desk

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I went to see Plans & Apologies the other night, they were GRATE. The evening started well for me, as I got to say "Hi! I'm from the record company!" although, as i was saying it to the band themselves, it probably didn't need saying. Still, we then had a quick excitable chat (both parties) about hopefully putting their new EP out in October (ZANG!), and then I went in where I met the delightful Mr & Mrs Carsmile Steve, who'd come to see the other band. Being grown-ups we discussed the possibility of having CATS when you've got your own house, and beauty shone around.

I'm on the V Plan Diet this month (instead of beer, drink Vine, Vodka & Vhiskey), so a couple of RUM & Cokes later ... er... VRUM & Cokes, I mean, it was time for Plans & Apologies, and BY GOLLY they were GRATE. There's seven of them on stage, and somehow it always looks like more, but once they get going they make ONE single HUGE sound that's just beautiful. You sort of get used to seeing bands play who are quite Good Live, but not particularly tuneful or melodic, so it's a SHOCK to the system when you hear a band a MUSICAL as they are - there's LOADS of different things going on, but it all combines into something which, honestly, is quite beautiful. INDEED, there were moments in the set when it was like a door had been opened slightly into quite another room of LIGHT and wonderfulness, those moments in music that make you GASP at how great it all is. Yes, I thought they were BRILLIANT!

Imagine my surprise then, afterwards, to talk to a couple of other people who thought it was "all right, a bit shambolic - they need to be tighter, too much faffing." This was in reference to the fact that the snare drum BROKE, and one song had to be restarted. DISASTER. I was rather non-plussed at this - who cares if there's a one minute gap between songs, especially when it's dealt with in good humour by the band? Isn't the BEAUTY of the songs, and, i haven't mentioned this yet, the GRATEness of the lyrics, just a little bit more important? Apparently not, as they then complained about how many people there were in the band. "They should shave a couple off." Eh?!?!

BEMUSED i Made My Excuses And Left, and it was only on my way home that I realised what was actually being said - Plans & Apologies main ERROR was not to be exactly like all the one-trick PUB ROCK dullards that are around at the moment. Yeah! Shave off three members, over rehearse every single song until there's no life in it, and hey! Whilst you're at it - change your name, how about The Plans? That sounds better doesn't it?

It still STUNS me when I come across this sort of attitude, however many times I run into it - and over the years, i have run into it a LOT. It strikes me as a lack of IMAGINATION in people seeing bands, that they have CLOSED OFF their hearts to anything which - HORRORS - other people might not like as much as they do, which might make them look - TERROR - out of fashion, or something. Surely the spirit of ROCK, the spirit of POP, AND the spirit of PUNK and every other type of valid music, really, is about FREEING your mind from what everyone says you SHOULD do, and playing what you FEEL inside you? That's what every truly GRATE band ever have done, simply opened themselves to what they FEEL and ignored Current Accepted Wisdom on what's "hip" or what's "real".

Of course, this will always lead to Emotionally Constipated people trying to analyse it to boil it down and copy it, to find the body parts without realising it needs the SPARK OF LIFE to make them all move, and we get these ZOMBIE bands that the NME et al seem to love so much. These READY MEAL acts are so much easier to understand because they have a full list of ingredients and a serving suggestion on the packet. I was just a little surprised to hear otherwise nice enough, extremely INDIE valid, people talking that way.

Anyway, to get back to the point, Plans & Apologies were ACE, and the NEW stuff I heard made me GAG even MORE to hear that new EP - get it finished kids, GIMME!

posted 29/7/2004 by MJ Hibbett

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