Various - Tsunami Relief Week Tour Pt 2
Peter Radford 20/02/2005
Thursday 17 February
There had been a general buzz radiating from Central London to the suburbs all through Wednesday. Well there was in my world. Tuesday had been an amazing success. The dust had settled and the 100 Club had proved to be as accommodating as a kindly aunt, whilst a little more rock n rock than any of my parents siblings. The performances, and hence the reaction to the gig were electric. The adrenaline would
still be flowing for Thursday.
I was brought down to earth by the sheer lack of numbers at 93 Feet East. I had arrived early to set up the merchandise stall, an enterprise which turned me into an obsessive compulsive CD arranger. By the end of Lucifer Star Machine's set the venue started to fill. Whether there were ten or a hundred people in the room. This was a band fronted by a showman. Whilst The Bravery earlier in the week hoped to entertain by running around a stage whilst forgetting to
provide any form of connection with the audience, the unglamourous glamour of the band entertained immensely. The tunes weren't bad either. It was The Damned inspired punk all the way. Nothing surprising immaculately executed.
Salvo were victims of Lucifer's mic tossing, with technical problems hampering the opening of their set. That said, a big looping bass and guitar riffs and powerful harmonised vocals meant that these lads instantly appealed to my sensibilities. Looking like clean cut college boys, they purvey loud, intelligent punk. Strangely, they reminded me of Mogwai, yet a Mogwai that like to sing and a Mogwai that doesn't want to come across as sanctimonious. Cannot wait to see them again.
After the second particularly good Rhesus set of the week which again was played to an increasingly appreciative appearance, we were treated to Corporation: Blend. C:B have never really grabbed me by the balls the couple of times I had seen them, yet this time, their headline slot made sure that I stepped away from my shop for half an hour. My
gravitation towards the stage was proof that I was started to see why this brand of rock was so accessible and should be reaching the bedrooms of teenage girls and the Porsches of midlife crisians throughout the land. It almost takes by numbers the elements of what has made great British rock over the past 25 years; dark melodies tinged with hope ; crescendo building songs; sense of immersion for the audience and, like the other three bands performing tonight, a
true commitment to entertainment. It is chewed up, made palatable and those that like it will swallow it whole.
Saturday 19 February
Bloody student loan. Leaves me skint. Can't get to the Metro
Clu! unless I walk. I don't. It's 15 miles away.
Sunday 20 February
Getting the money owed to me was easy, yet it involved going to watch Forest play Spurs. In my alternative life, I waved a tinfoil facsimile of the FA Cup in the faces of dejected Spurs fans. Hotfooting it to the Windmill, Brixton after the game got me there just in time to hear Ciccone firing up.
I live with Ciccone. Not literally, obviously. Eversholt Street, their album, is almost constantly playing in my head. Catchy beyond belief. I can close your eyes and remember the good old days of Britpop and some of the best female led bands that saw me through those difficult adolescent years. If I were a 15-year-old boy again, I would be worshipping the ground that this band walked on. They are not simply an update of something that was done well 10 years ago though. Lead vocals dual-layered with Mickey and Rebekah sharing. They are accompanied by possibly the greatest drummer working in London, whose falsetto backing vocals defy his Animal style skinbeating. Reliable as ever, with their electric set rocking the joint. Anything that can get me, the most stoic of giggoers, singing along deserves to sell a million copies.
Hands up if you remember CarterUSM? Considered a Marmite band, I have yet to meet anyone in London that has screwed up their face at the mention of their name. My first distant encounter with them was simply being aware of their presence. On the terraces in Nottingham, it seemed football fans were either wearing a Carter T-Shirt or a "Psycho
Unstoppable Scoring Machine" bootleg in recognition of both their musical and footballing heroes. I then heard Worry Bomb. As a 15 year old, this was the most intelligent record I had ever heard, yet incredibly light-hearted in its delivery.
Jim Bob still delivers Carter's songs with incredible gusto. The one man and guitar set up ensures that the gravity of the subject matter is heightened. You can't get a darker subject than soiled childhoods and an industrial dispute involving angels, though the great songwriters want us to take what we want from their music and not ram emotion down our throats. They want us to feel that we can swing our tankards and singalong rather than wallow in despair, and we do sing (although my tankard is empty remember). Thank you Jim Bob for continuing to deliver some of the greatest songs of the late 20th Century to a whole new audience.
The other primary half of Carter USM continues to deliver his gospel too. Despite the ever-changing line up, Abdoujaparov (named after a cyclist I reliably informed by my housemate) have a sound that make the card players at the back of this venue/community centre stand up and stare. Every gig they play could be to a stadium full of people, you can definitely tell that Fruity has "been there, done that" and loves to perform his songs to an appreciative audience. Relishing
playing their new EP in its punchy entirety, it is not hard to see why a good number of fanatics crave Abdoujaparov releases. I just want to tell the world. That's why Jim Rhesus' copy of Well Oiled has been in more bedrooms than an erotic masseuse.
Well, if playing the 100 Club wasn't enough, Rhesus now had to follow these three on stage. Personal highlight for me was Paul, joining them on stage for Hole. He used to play bass for Rhesus and delivered some of the most impassioned backing vocals ever heard. Tonight he did his utmost to upstage the band for those three minutes. His larynx had clearly missed its Rhesus workout. Brilliant.
As Eat Your Own Young drew to a close, I slinked out of the venue. I came away knowing that over the course of the week (and the GSpot Festival in Bethnall Green) close to £5000 must have been raised. I thought about how I thought I had given what I could afford. We are driven my our own finances that some of us take that easier option. Jim, Paul, Caffy and the bands put in true graft, with all the reward going to the audience and most importantly those communities affected by the Tsunami. Suddenly I don't feel so skint and sober.