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MAGIK MARKERS – Nottingham Social Liars Club

Posted: April 29th, 2005, by Chris S

Behind me, a man wearing an Australian Rugby shirt cut down into a sleeveless vest as a fashion item is yelling
His friend has a quite nice two-tone dye job on his hair and is wearing a blazer with a military vibe to it. He is yelling far more random outbursts but in a similar vein:
‘LEARN HOW TO PLAY!’ are two of them.
There is a girl standing behind me with her back to me and she is punctuating everything she says with weird muscle spasms of either her cigarette hand or the hand clutching a glass of white wine, which is pissing down my back every time she says anything.
Despite this I am grinning like a fool.
Just an hour earlier all these people were dancing to the opening band. I don’t remember what they were called which is sort of stupid because I am reviewing this. They had guitar, vocals and drums. The female singer had an amazing voice.
Amazing because it was Siouxie Sioux’s and she must have stolen it. It made me hope Siouxie was having a quiet night in and not out at a party where she was supposed to be the life and soul, as without her voice it would have been hard for her. I hope she has called the authorities. Anyway, people were dancing in a sort of robotic way with fag hand outstretched, occasionally stopping to pull out a camera phone and record the moment.
This is Liars Club and despite the overwhelming sensation of being someone’s Dad at a disco, I always have a decent time.
Everyone is dressed in a way that proves they must have some disposable income. Not because their clothes are expensive but if you’re wearing a lemon golf sweater with matching visor, a Columbo rain mac and spats then you best not be getting public transport back to Bulwell.
So anyway, if I was going to create a band that best typified the worst parts of Liars Club then it would be the first band, name not known. One girl in particular who always reminds me of Princess Di for some reason, strutted back and forth in front of the stage so often checking herself out, I couldn’t even deal with being in the room.
When they finished, there was a sudden influx of not-quite-so-well-dressed folks waiting for the second band. NYC’s Magik Markers. Not often a band on Ecstatic Peace gets to play Liars Club.
Even when they were setting up there seemed to be a gulf between them and the environment. I mean; they look sharper than I do (not hard) but they seem out of place. It endears them to me. As does the roadie for the last band (name not known) who is so obnoxiously in-their-face when they are setting up that I can physically feel the tension between them.
He brushes the bassist aside to search for something he dropped with about 6 Maglites and prevents them from starting playing. It’s a pretty weird scenario.
The DJs were still playing as they started up but they didn’t f*ck about. They are immediately amazing. I don’t know how much of that is to do with the band and how much of my enjoyment they engineer or how much comes from the sheer weirdness of the situation. My favourite gigs have so little to do with the band and if they’re on form and so much to do with surroundings and little coincidences and events that transpire. This is the perfect example.
The change that has come over the singer is empowering in itself. She has her foot on the monitor, glowering at the crowd and spouting forth fast jabber preaching while punctuating this with tons and tons of guitar noise’ less played, more wrestled. I spend the first 10 mins crouched down at her feet before feeling supremely uncomfortable and having to move back a bit. They deal less in the build up and more in the total crescendo in immediate form. The guitar and bass are set up to give no time to notes and everything they do on them spews forth differing tones and noises (but never notes). It’s hard to tell whether they are unschooled or if they’ve managed to liberate themselves from any knowledge they might have had. Or if they are just plain furious.
They clear the back of the room pretty quickly and as I move back myself to get a good view the gig gets better and better as their howling and slashing mixes with people’s heckles and utter confusion. I can’t stress this enough. Magik Markers are f*cking BREAKING some of these kids. They don’t know what to do ‘ I don’t know what to do either except just laugh my ass off. It just serves to highlight how much of a ritual most of what passes as alternative culture has become that something can baffle so easily.
It just keeps getting better, reaching a peak where the guitar breaks down, leading to impassioned ad lib lyrics about guitarists with no hands but a big heart. Princess Di stands up in this part and in some kind of drug induced stupor begins trying to catch her own tail and latch onto a beat or something familiar, clutching at the singers face and feet and her own camera phone. It’s ghoulish and perfect. At times it’s like she’s about to cry and she looks really lost. I am caught between horror and crippling laughter. She is looking back at us all, not sure what to do, looking completely vacant and behind her the singer from MMs is going absolutely apeshit on her twenty dollar guitar with an electric toothbrush.
The drummer seems to want a better vantage point and climbs onto the bass drum leading uber male roadie man to rush onstage mid song and physically pull him off. It looks for a moment like a fight is going to happen between them but roadie dude is a mountain of a man and the howling noise continues to soundtrack blank shrugs and ‘what the f*ck is going down?’ expressions from the band.
Finally the bassist takes off her bass and lies it down to begin pounding it with any available object. I genuinely feel this is on the verge of getting properly out there and uncontrolled and that Magik Markers will play all night when the tech dude runs on and turns the bass amp off ‘ obviously borrowed gear. It’s a perfect end. I am moved to heckle the roadie without even thinking and the whole thing leaves me feeling super energised.
I missed the last band but nothing was going to top that, it was incredible. Half of the people I went with hated it and half loved it. I don’t know ifI loved the band but as a gig it was unbelievable.
The only thing that could have made it better was to find out the roadie and Princess Di girl were part of Magik Markers all along thus making it the best piece of theatre ever acted.

Addition! March 2006 – James Smith proves himself to be a god amongst men by putting footage of this show on You Tube. Click here!!!

Chris S

Chris lives for the rock and can often be seen stumbling drunkenly on (and off) stages far and wide. Other hobbies include wearing jumpers, arsing about with Photoshop and trying to beat the world record for the number of offensive comments made in any 24 hour period. He has been married twice but his heart really belongs to his guitars. All 436 of them.


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