Pendulum, Party Shank, Goldielocks, Glamour for better, The Mysterons
Terry Butchery 18/01/2008
Tired of the spoilt Londoner's gig indifference? Of the arm-folded, non-plussed, chin-stroking non-actions of the casual punter?
Attention Twentyplussomethings: Maybe it's time to look up to our youngers, to take the life advice of some thrill-hungry fourteen year-olds, aching and frustrated at the lack of choice on offer to a huge (and hugely important) demographic.
I have no expectations with a Friday night in Deptford, other than to make merry and have a good time. What I walked away with on that Friday night was an insight into the magical buzz that first turned me onto the live experience. Are you experienced?? Coming home, aged twelve or thirteen, soaked in sound - alien sound - that felt at once both so wrong and so right. My naive first fumblings into a drug that changed EVERYTHING. Welcome to the live arena - be it a school organised band bash, a friend's birthday accommodated by tolerant parents, a freak appearance in your home town by a so-called name band that you HAVE to see regardless of your tastes - or... a 14+ event - tailor made and engineered to fuel the fantasy end result; TEENAGE PALPITATIONS OF THE NEWBORN DECIBEL JUNKIE.
Welcome Sir/Madam - life has taken an inexplicable/immeasurable turn. Everything has changed.
I am a camera shutter, pinned back into the shadowy depths of the music hall, stunned and envigorated by the animal response - drinking all the response deep in. Reconnecting, feeling grateful for the effervescent wake-up. The bands? Cool... but it doesnt matter. As it goes, Party Shank were on it, bang on it - if ever there was a soundsystem designed for adolescents off their faces on E numbers, then this Fisher-Price molesting duo had it covered months before you even realised. They are my deepest fears of a Nathan Barley nightmare distilled into righteous perfection - and before I have time to register the thoughts, my molecules are seduced to their chaos pulse frequencies. Priceless and effortless - witness the fitness. Evidently, their relentless touring hasn't tarnished their fresh faced passions, as they add MCing to their chaos and salute the fervent faithful.
Undoubtedly, the bigtop attraction came in the form of Antipodean D'n'B collective Pendulum - stripped down to a DJ/MC set, they took to the stage to a hardcore of fluffed and frothing teens, launching into their tried and tested to a rapturous, evangelical response. Kicking back into the peripherals, I am in awe of the crowd and the electrifying carnal linguistics traded between stage and dancefloor. The defining image of frozen ice euphoric fists pumped into the air is solidly burned onto my retinas.
What percentage of London 18+ gigs does one see this exchange? How many of the numerous week-in week-out London shows explicitly illustrate this level of unadulterated, uncooled, passion?
In an ever-claustrophobic metropolis suffocating in it's own fever-induced boredom-swelling knife-toting paranoia, we would do well to witness and learn from the effects of a focused channelled teen spirit - the many positives of such an energy. The scenes bring to mind the mighty ESG, and Mama Scroggins keeping her girls away from the destructions, with the distractions of the powers of sound.
I'm drunk - maybe too drunk - too many Red Stripe Easy Vibes like they're a passport to good times, and effortlessly, I'm surrounded by an alcohol-free higher proof. Youthful passionate naivety in excelsis. Maybe you're on for a similar chemically induced pilgrimage, searching out for that bigger musical high. Truth is, with every misjudged hedonistic step we're further and further from our Nirvana. So-called adulthood privilege? Just forget it. In essence.
WE NEED MORE OF THIS - more promoters willing to at least bravely attempt to satiate the teen needs. Screw the bar takings, slowly the matinee show is taking off. Smart bands and DJs have been paying close attention to the lazily oft-overlooked audience of thirsty under18s for months now - and this rise is exponential. And those that knuckle down and pay their dues are repaid with the most refreshingly honest passionate response. The true spirit of rock n'roll.
Photo : (Str8 Necklin DJs, Pendulum, Glamour For Better) is by Mackenzie Hodge.