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Archive for August, 2002

Corporate indie

Posted: August 28th, 2002, by Chris H

Just back from seeing [a corporate indie band] and oh deary me. Big bus, more crew than band members, laminate passes. And guess what? They were acting like dicks! Ninety minutes for them to soundcheck, zero minutes for the support bands. We’ll have this area here for our merchandise and you’ll have to stay out of the dressing room all night, boys, the bass player is female. You need to borrow a plug? Spares! Re-mem-ber Spares! And finally, they parked their van where it blocked the other bands from getting out.

Were they worth it though? Must have been, they had ‘AAA’ on their passes and lots of shiny posters. Their badges come in sets in plastic bags. No, they were crap. So inoffensive I was offended and so slick I wanted to sandpaper their faces. But The Kids loved their airbrushed angst and jumped up and down like there really was meaning and passion in the songs. They might become big enough that the shitty behaviour of them / their crew doesn’t stand out so badly but right now they look ridiculous and fake to me. Escort offstage and two bouncers on the door of the dressing room? Please.

Gig on the Green

Posted: August 27th, 2002, by Marceline Smith

Boo, commenting is broke so I can’t add snidey comments to Chris’s post there. I’ll just have to post my own ramblings instead. Got a couple of hours to spare til I have to go catch a plane. so, aye, Gig on the Green. I think the general consensus was that it was pish. Generally speaking. There were some good bands playing and I like it being in the town and the weather was perfect but all the general festivalness of it and the smallness just made it a bit of a disappointment. Main whine would be that the New Bands stage was hidden away, not publicised and finished hours earlier than the other stages. Oh yeah, and 90% of the new bands were rubbish too. The Silver Pill were indeed quite good, especially for their amusing mud diving, security baiting friends. I’d have liked to see RAAR as well but it was rather a lot of fun just watching them arse about backstage. Which is more than can be said for Trail of Dead: swotty Conrad Keely was sat translating French novels in the sunshine. And after making us break their fiendishly tricky guest list code to get there in the first place! They had tales of Axl Rose and Slipknot and the making of their very good new video though. Trail of Dead were ace by the way. Small kids going mental, much crowd jumping, rock styling, security guard tussling and happy upbeat songs about killing people. Who else did I see? Death Cab For Cutie were lovely and cuddly kitten emo jumper good, The Streets were kinda fun in a ‘look, it’s not a guitar band’ way but they weren’t anywhere near as good as Jason Reece seemed to think they were. Spiritualized were exactly as expected. No surprises but satisfactory despite the booming of the Prodigy seeping into the tent. And Slipknot were weak ass. Very disappointing but their crazed hyper-enthused fans almost made up for it.

Sunday was both less and more fun. The Bellrays I thought were just okay. Without her they’d be nothing and, idiotic though it sounds, I’ve never been that keen on people who can sing well. I liked the White Stripes better, doing a similar retro thing but with more pop and the kind of style branding that should have won someone an award by now. I left to see Guided By Voices only to discover they’d swapped sets with…..Leaves! So I made a hasty retreat back to the main stage. Would have liked to see the Reindeer Section but not more than seeing Jane’s Addiction who were total rawk frenzy. Perry Farrel set about proving his A+ loon credentials, wearing a huge feathered hat and prancing and posing all over the stage. They were funny as hell and preaching streams of nonsense. I got bored after that, having no wish to see Stereo MCs or Feeder and only a vague wish to see Pulp. I might have liked to see how The Strokes were getting on but then I’d have seen them live four times which is three times too many.

So, to sum up: I hate festivals but I like Trail of Dead.

Mmm, Gig on the Green freeloading all weekend

Posted: August 26th, 2002, by Chris H

Beats shopping…

On Saturday: Offspring sucked while NOFX were surprisingly OK (“Idiot son of an asshole…” hohoho), if pseudo-punk is your thing. Slipknot were a bunch of wusses. Saying “godamn motherfucker” doesn’t scare anyone and there was more moshing going on at …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead. They win for liberating cans of juice from backstage and throwing them to the audience. I saw Silver Pill at the new band stage, they were interesting. I can’t remember who else played that day, they must have sucked.

Sunday I was more in the mood for. The Bellrays kicked off, rocking indecently hard for so early in the afternoon. They’re like music from an alternate past, where rock moved towards soul instead of virtuosity in the early 70s. Ow it was intense. Have to be seen live. Most of the other bands I saw were crap: Vines, Leaves, piss off. However, Zuba, on the new bands stage were in the right weather for their summery African-styled tunes. Them I liked.

So that’s the White Stripes then? OK I see the appeal. They sounded much better with just two people than all the overstaffed rock bands I saw over the weekend (Jane’s Addiction, Reindeer Section, I’m looking at you). And they’re charismatic enough to hold an audience (Pulp and Stereo MCs scored highly here too, despite my lowish expectations).

Then I got bored with guitars (Where were the electronic artists?) and went to the dance tent (sponsored by Grant’s Vodka). Carl Cox was there, with 100s of monged Weegies and their kids, all counting up to four over and over again. I left when it got too crowded out of a misguided notion that I should see the Strokes. NO! The Wanks more like. The singer’s too pissed to stand or speak and I’m supposed to applaud? All Your Songs Sound The Same, you could at least make an effort to gloss over it. If they are style over substance they forgot the style today and there’s not much there. Hey, it’s Glasgow, last date of the festivals, lets just do it drunk. Don’t let Butlins fuck you over on the way down you arrogant prick. Ugh. 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, I should have stayed in the dance tent. No-one there was half as incoherent and they could all still move.

But yeah, Sunday was fun. A whole sunny weekend in Glasgow! Rock.


Posted: August 21st, 2002, by Ollie

we went to see filthy sludge fuckers eyehategod the other night. it was quite a good evening all in all, but then it’s hard not to enjoy yourself when surrounded by lots of behemoth looking men going “grraaaaarrggghh” and hitting each other. the highpoint for me was probably the white trash between-song banter; “we hate everyone”, “fuck everyone” and “you got a pretty mouth”. for the uninitiated i recommend you check out “southern discomfort”, a singles and rareties compilation, and an old album called “dopesick” both on century media.

A few things from me

Posted: August 20th, 2002, by Marceline Smith

First Pretty Girls Make Graves stayed at our house last night and were very nice so go see ’em if you get the chance. They’re doing London and Reading this week.

Finally, I got the new issue of Tasty fanzine in the post. I should snub it like how Sam snubbed our housewarming party but hey [hoho]. Unfortunately my copy was printed by a photocopier with Impressionist ambitions meaning it’s a bit of a struggle to read. At least it wasn’t into Abstract Expressionism I suppose. Anyway, it’s in honour of the forthcoming Tasty gig in Nottingham next Monday [featuring The Lollies, Darren Hanlon, The Liberty Ship, Kosmonaut and Dallas Burn if you’re interested, which you should be] and gives you a run down of who they all are. The Lollies kick in a UK tour diary which is good fun and good reading and there’s interviews with Ant, Chumbawamba and The Reverse [who feature a certain diskant columnist] as well as the usual stack of reviews and the political article [Immigration this issue]. Tasty’s getting reliable now so if you want indie pop and politics you know where to go. Free as always from the website or the gig.

Edinburgh’s a veritable Festival-Fest this month

Posted: August 19th, 2002, by Chris H

I went and saw a couple of films and a couple of authors and managed to not see any comedians except the ones who hang around in bars waiting to be recognised. Baader is easily more entertaining than you’d think a film about Marxist-Leninist terrorists could be. It focuses more on Andreas Baader than the RAF as a whole and it’s a mix. There’s funny scenes like in the courtroom where they all say “ich bin Baader,” Spartacus-style, but the director doesn’t (entirely) shy away from the violent spiral the group got into by following their rhetoric through. The opening scene is proper rousing stuff though, a montage of 60s moments set to “Kick Out The Jams”. An hour after the film had finished I wanted to see it again, there’s depth there as well as the cute art student-types with AKs.

The other film I saw was very different (and not just to Baader but to just about everything ever). The Happiness of the Katakuris is like if the Addams Family ran a guesthouse with the von Trapps. It’s Bollywood-esque in its eagerness to break into song at variously appropriate times (falling in love, dying of a knife wound, whatever). All their guests die despite the family’s best efforts but through disposing of the bodies as a family, they grow closer together and find happiness. Probably a film people will love or hate, but it earnt a round of applause at the festival and I think it deserved it for the opening animation alone. It’s what Jan Svankmeyer would have done if he wasn’t sweeping floodwater out of his cellar.

Hello from Crete

Posted: August 14th, 2002, by Adrian Errol

Well it’s been a while again but I do have excuses. Besides considering I’m sitting in an internet cafe in Crete writing this I feel that any previous non-blogging action should be forgiven. Last night I spent the early hours half cut sitting on my balcony and enjoying the Hot Snakes; Explosions in the Sky; Tarentel; Codeine and Jet Johnson. It was shall we say as close to heaven as it was possible to get. Anyhow with a veritable glut of tours coming up like Explosions in the Sky for example and also Fugazi things are looking pretty rosy. Plus Audioscope in Oxford sometime in early September looks good and with many diskant staff turning out iyt should be a laugh. Anyhow got to go buy some nail clippers before another day on the beach. Ahhhhhhh…

Lapsus Linguae, Cat on Form, Foe, Glasgow

Posted: August 10th, 2002, by Chris H

Well then. In Glasgow on a friday there was none of your fey East Coast acoustic nonsense. We’re Hard Men and we like our Rock to not be pink and crumbly. Triple bill of aft-rock bands and for the first time in ages I wasn’t bored by any of them.

There was FOE, apparently related to Rothko in some way, who did the instrumental rock thing. They had short songs with flashy / virtuosic / wanky guitar playing that made me think of the catchy bits of King Crimson. Funkier and more foot tappier than that makes them sound. Good and with grooves and things.

Then Cat on Form played. As I am the only diskanteer to not know who the Oedipus were, believe me I’m taking an objective view. They Really Are Very Good Indeed. Fierce little pocket monster punk rock. Yuck no that makes them sound like pop punk. Oh I know you’re looking to us for wise words but you need to take my word for this because I am Never Unstinting in my praise of bands. All my thoughts about bands start with “I liked them but…” Not this one. I liked the songs the attitude the spasms the t-shirts the whole thing. I wanted an encore. I clapped fit to make my car-bruised hands throb. But because they are hosted here you won’t believe me. Damn cynics.

Non-credibly, this was (I think) only the second time I’ve seen Lapsus Linguae play. Remember that if you’re ever tempted to think I know about music. I should be ideally positioned to trace their path to stardom or comment on how their interaction with the home crowd has developed. Can’t do that. Sorry. You can read better about them elsewhere. All I can report is that no-one got their balls out, there was one spitting incident but it didn’t involve phlegm, they cantered around the audience for a bit and I liked it. Does that make them sound dull? They weren’t but you probably know that.

What’s worse than thousands of dawdling tourists?

Posted: August 10th, 2002, by Marceline Smith

Thousands of dawdling tourists WITH UMBRELLAS!

Hello, I’m back from a day in Festival frenzied Edinburgh. Can you tell? It was precisely while stumbling my way between people with umbrellas bigger than my house that I began to feel the beginnings of regret in choosing the acoustic niceness in Edinburgh over the crazy rock in Glasgow. But, hey, I got to eat pizza and watch Top of the Pops with Elizabeth. That was an experience in itself, not having a TV in diskant HQ and not having watched TOTP in a very long time. We were mostly struck by some new American boy band doing the live vocal acoustic slow number on stools thing and, astonishingly, being able to play instruments but not be able to sing in tune. What’s happening? In my day boy bands couldn’t sing or play any instruments and quite often they were quite ugly and couldn’t dance either. Then we got American boy bands who made a point of doing staggeringly dull acapella nonsense at every opportunity to prove that actually they could sing. If I could remember this new band’s name I’d be vaguely interested in whether their new boyband format actually works.

Anyway…fun though that was, I was over to see Chris Brokaw, James Orr Complex and the wee Stuart Mogwai. Except I’d been enjoying TOTP too much and having slight troubles finding the entrance to the venue and so missed most of Stuart’s set – booo! I did get to hear Cody though so I was happy enough. The whole night was one of those quick changeover and then kick out everyone so we can set up some crappy club night deals which annoy the hell out of me. The venue was really nice but give the promoters the time to spread the show out, give people time to arrive and enjoy the evening. So Stuart was quickly followed by the James Orr Complex aka Chris Mack who I’ve not seen for a while. He was damn lovely as always, intricate melodies tripping over themselves, the vocals translating emotion into poetry. And all honest, humble and friendly. Album out in a couple of months on Rock Action. You’d be an idiot not to buy it.

Another quicksmart stage swap and here we have Chris Brokaw, formerly of Come. I’ve not got anything by Come though so forgive me my viewpoint of ignorance. His presence was much more assured with more volume and power. The instrumental songs kept my attention in the main with the vocal tracks giving a helping jolt from the dreamy lull it was easy to slip into. The tracks I liked best were when he just riffed up some distorted noise in loops and waves. It was kind of like when Unwound hit the perfect riff and just keep at it and you wish they’d never stop, that the record would have one of those infinite grooves and it would go on forever. Yeah, it was like that. I could have done with way more from everyone. It should have been in a dark draped basement and carried on til dawn, taking shots and requests, making stuff up as it goes along. After felt too early, too wrong. I came home.

Stereo Sanctity

Posted: August 8th, 2002, by Marceline Smith

I spent a fantastically exciting day in the Housing Benefit offices today. No, actually, it was the most boring two hours of my life EVER. Luckily I had the foresight to bring along Stereo Sanctity, a fanzine that turned up in the post the other day so I didn’t quite go postal. What better literary companion culd you ask for really? Well, apart from one that took two hours to read I guess. Anyway, it promises “music, pop culture, politics and weirdness” on the cover and that’s pretty much what you get along with a hefty dollop of Sonic Youth worship.Which translates as an extensive write-up of the best bits of All Tomorrows Parties LA, articles on recommended comics and Melt-Banana, pretty funny cartoons featuring Sonic Youth and Steve Malkmus, some political rantings and a few record reviews. It’s well-written, friendly and enthusiastic and dotted throughout with good illustration. It’s making me really happy to see all these new fanzines springing out of odd places in the UK and hopefully this is just the beginning. Start supporting zines now and maybe we’ll be back up to 1995 levels again. Stereo Sanctity is definitely worth your cash so go buy so he can do #2. Not that he mentions how much it costs though. I shall endeavour to find out. In the meantime you can email him yourself.

Update: A word from the Editor

It costs 50p or a trade or a tape or something else nice, and the address is: Ben, 3 Ferry Cottages, Cosheston, Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, SA72 4TY