London Saturday July 20th.
Louder Than War check out the latest all dayer put together by one of London’s better promotions outfit Bad Vibrations. “Eight bands … all fantastic”.
I’m seriously beginning to get my TEMPLES, TEMPLE SONGS, DEEP SEA ARCADE, TELEGRAM knickers (now there’s an idea) in a twist. There’s so much going on around here it’s ridiculous.
Another day and another collection of bands thrown together by those Bad Vibrations lot who must spend all their waking hours going through every band in the country with loud fuzzy guitars, weeding them out one by one then getting them all together under one roof to give us a bit of respite from the hot hot (East London) heat. The standard, as usual, is as high as a kite. The audience…well most people look as though they were at one point. You should see the state of some of these people. Blokes looking about nineteen / twenty with big hair, big moustaches, loud guitars, a couple of hats, high hats, yes those ones, lots of pointy shoes, packets of Marlboro, tapping their mobile’s like they’re trying to contact the Starship Enterprise (We half expect them to dissolve any minute in a bad ’70s wobbly graphic).
And it’s summertime ….
Just like it was when Cliff nicked that bus and copped off with Una Stubbs (bloody ‘ell did you see ‘er on the telly this week!) Hey ho…let’s go …bring ’em to us , one at a time please, and I’ll start with a pint please barman…..
OSCAR SUAVE – 3 piece London band with that all too familiar twanging, Birds, Stone Roses charm and Sixties feel about their songs that grab you the minute the first note reverberates around the room. Dual vocals that go AAAaaahhh and WHOOOooooo simultaneously, and a bit of la la la la’ing and a reminder that we have to get one of those early pre 70’s Status Quo albums out of the cupboard one day.
CROWS follow next (pic by Keira Cullinane to the right) and we say Blimey!, Cor! and Gallon Drunk. We’re open mouthed at this lot. Crows have one of the most naturally flamboyant front men we’ve come across in recent times. A bit Cave, a bit Cocker, a lovely smile that beams with confidence and every move the right one. More twangy guitar, a lot of ace riffs and some ace songs that grab your attention and we begin imagining if today’s Nick Cave sang for the Fall (late 80’s version) it’d be a bit like this. Isn’t this the sort of stuff bands like the STROKES should be doing now? If this was the STROKES we’d be applauding until our hands were sore.
In big stadiums.
About 70 feet up in the air.
We stagger back outside to breath some Malboro flavoured fresh air … staggered.
Two fantastic bands already that would certainly be worth seeing on a night out alone….we now feel the need to calm down I think.
Third up we have RACECAR (pic by Keira Cullinane to the right). Stirling Roswell (Rosco) from Spaceman Three with a Japanese harp which looks like a typewriter mashed up with with my Mum’s old knitting machine, the man with the hat from Oscar Suave and a guitarist who we may or may not have seen before (either on stage or smoking fags outside) * This instrument makes all the right noises and we sense a spot of improvisation going on here. Rosco knows when to change things around though, carefully obliterating any potential boredom threshold we fear might be approaching. At one point he’s looking around and probably thinking “This bit could do with a bit of drums on it – oh look…..there’s some behind me…”, he activates the loop button by his foot and slides over to end the song on the drums himself. It’s as though there’s a missing drummer stuck in traffic or something. Who knows? Anyway this is good. He’s dressed in a glamorous pink shirt, purple suit and tie, the three piece swims with the droning psychedelia tide as we are all sent into dreamland and head nodding territory. Towards the end we get a cameo from CuT’s Luis Love (stick twiddling and gentle beats) it goes on and on and on until they are asked politely to stop…a cool way to end the set or did Louis just miss the bus to the venue, missing 90% of the gig? Were there five other bands waiting in the wings still to go on? Too many questions we can’t be bothered to get answers for.
I suggest to Rosco that he could do with some puppets to for a better visual effect. He punches me on the nose and smiles, gives me a CD he’s on containing lots of people from the mighty SWELL MAPS who really ruined / changed my life when I was 15. We’ll be bestest mates (hic!) by the end of the year.
* Syd Kemp from Neils Children apparently.
DEEP SEA ARCADE (pic by Keira Cullinane to the right). A bit too OASIS at times, which is an education as well as a disappointment. You can imagine when the Gallagher brothers began that this stuff was their imaginary blue print (See also Temples). OK, maybe it wasn’t but whatever it was they now drive around in big cars and I don’t. Deep Sea Arcade have drifted into our lives running in the outside lane a bit. Not many people have seen these coming and I’m not too sure if they’re being noticed now. This band have songs that are a catchy as those ones by TEMPLES we’ve watched flutter by on various occasions recently but they also, as previously mentioned go a bit close to that early Oasis sound that is all a bit too familiar. They’ll be OK though I reckon.
Songs…you know, those things that a lot of people usually judge bands by nowadays. They’ve got some very good ones floating around and have a great name that’s EASY TO GOOGLE (unlike, Crows, Theme Park, Joyland, Story Books, Tall Stories, Tall Ships, Holy Fuck, Fucked Up, Fuck Buttons, Grandmother Porn, Guards, Boats, War and Peace … you know what i’m on about). So go to that website that shows all those videos and stuff and search Deep Sea Arcade….you’ll like what you hear.
THE CULT OF DOM KELLER (pic by Keith Goldhangar to the right) The soundtrack to the next half an hour is based around a big Yamaha organ driven by a vocalist and tambourine player who plays along with his three other band members. A guitarist making swathes of noise, a couple of two chord songs that hypnotise us a little and a mighty One chord tune that reminds us again of those old LOOP gigs (they’re coming back y’know) of yesteryear. I’ll show you what chord the bass player was playing. It was this one.
It sounded great, so great I’m struggling to describe it. You’ll have to work this bit out yourself. At one point they slow it down so much it’s like hearing an old (when they were good) version of (metal box era) PIL.
TELEGRAM (pic by Keira Cullinane below). Winner of the days best pressed trousers competition and best caterpillar moustache. They too sound like the Quo. They sound like they really have a lot to offer and they could have a lot to offer the mainstream. Creators of some ‘good on first listen songs’, they’re being shown rather a lot of interest in the capital at the moment.
In the front bar just before Telegram, the bar staff were playing “Never trust a man with egg on his face” by Adam and the Ants. Another band that went from being a brilliant creative individual and influential beat combo to throwing it all away by writing the ridiculous songs called called “Goody Two Shoes” and “Ant Music” – see also Status Quo’s “Rocking all over the world” & “In the Army now” amongst many many others.
They ruined it for everyone. The good die young some say. Adam Ant or Quo didn’t die. They were good, stayed alive and got crap – look at them now….
Never put your trust in these band’s kids…you never know what they’ll end up doing one day.
They’d look great on Top Of the Pops and they’d have everyone talking about them on the bus the next day, they’d crack the top ten and be driving mini’s into swimming pools if this was 1970…but it’s not. There’s a big queue out there of ace bands waiting to knock on our doors…over to one side for the moment please…but not too far away’ cos I want to keep an eye on you lot.
DIGNAN PORCH seem to have filled the stage with guitarists that all seem to be thrashing away in good time and attacking us from all indie angles, a little bit of a big tambourine, a bit of synth, a bit indie, a bit Dinosaur Jr, a bit jangly and a bit good.
However seven bands into the day we’re beginning to flag a little.
Barman!!!! – Chips please!
TRIPWIRES end the day and we’re transported into the late eighties / early nineties sound of people playing hard and fast whist being accused of staring at their shoes. An idiotic term for a gender of music as everyone who has ever played guitar will confirm, it’s the fuckin strings they’re looking at. These people are not looking at their shoes. Tripwires singer / guitarist escapes this comparison by not wearing any shoes so to keep some of us on our toes (so to speak) who like to think up these genders of music, I will avoid mentioning “sock gazing”.
I reckon he did that on purpose you know.
Tripwires throw sounds made of multilayered, loud, distorted, anthemic guitars with repetitive tunes that get louder and louder & remind us of the nice bits that “My Bloody Valentine” used to do and the sad bits that “Blur” used to throw at us. To end the evening with a brilliant version of Bowies “China Girl” was magic.
So there we go again, stumbling for our night buses and refusing to handle further flyers being thrust our way, probably advertising even more of these events.
But we have homes to go to, a fridge full of food and a late night offy down the road.
Eight bands … all fantastic.
Forthcoming events by Bad Vibrations can be found on Bad Vibrations Facebook page. Try one.
Facebook pages for the bands:
All words & pics by Keith Goldhanger. More of Keith’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.