Sunday, 15 July 2012

GRAHAM COXON/ THE MEN THEY COULDN'T HANG/ DAMO SUZUKI (GIG-GOING ADVENTURES IN MINIATURE)



This weekend seems shorter of hours than usual, so there's only time to record in dispatches a few gigs that have previously gone unmentioned. I'll try to have something more substantive next time. A modernist art exhibition that shook up art over a century ago or a Hollywood movie that doesn't really make much sense, something like that. (Disclaimer: “more substantive” doesn't imply more up-to-date.)

Graham Coxon (seen here saying “ooh yeh yeh”) was of course instrumental in turning Blur from a godawful Britpop act into a pretty decent band. (I'd say at that point “before going solo” but, unbeknownst to me, he actually recorded three solo albums before that.) I don't normally like guitarists going solo as they tend to... well, solo, but Coxon's a great songwriter and even when he went for guitar breaks it felt right rather than indulgent. It's too far back to say anything clever or insightful about this gig now (23rd April at the Concorde) but it was a great night. (No YouTube clips seem to capture a whole number, alas.)



Sometimes you need to see a gig outside of Brighton to get back that sense of an occasion. That it's more about everyone getting together for a knees-up, and less about seeing some band, going home and writing a clever blog post about it afterwards. In such a spirit I once more trusted myself to the 2A bus to see The Men They Couldn't Hang at the Ropetackle Arts Centre, in Shoreham-by-Sea (Saturday 12th May 2012). Insofar as I can recall, the first time I've seen them since the late Eighties.

The Number One cool thing about this band (you know, apart from their music) is that they're such a motley array. Spy them separately and you'd never guess that bunch of people were in a band together. And only the banjo player (on the left) looks like he should actually be in a folk-punk band.

This great gig was only mildly marred by guitarist Cush (to the right) endlessly admonishing the crowd and treating us to harangues about not reading the Murdoch press and the like, including during songs. (Example here.)



This may well be the fifth time I've seen the inimitable Damo Suzuki and the second time I've seen him both with AK/DK and at the Green Door Store (on Tuesday 19th June). Though the line-up was rejigged, and instead of a violinist Anne Shenton (off Add N to X) brought along her theremin.

I may have liked this night more than the last (as spoken of here.) My only caveat would be that AK/DK are already quite a Krautrock-influenced unit, so (despite being entirely improvised) it's still the sort of thing you might expect everyone assembled to do. Of course I love circular drum patterns as much as the next man, in fact considerably more so. But when I've seen Damo with other musicians (or in his parlance “sound carriers”) there's been more a sense of bold new adventures., of new styles being hit on out of sheer extemporisation. Randomness = results. (Check out this random YouTube clip I came across.)

No-one seems to have uploaded any vids of that particular night, so here's the self-same clip I posted over it's predecessor. Still, a good cast is worth repeating and you can hear some of it here.


Since you asked (okay you didn't), I'm mostly listening to Current 93's 'Thunder Perfect Mind', Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man's 'Out of Season', At the Drive-In's 'Relationship of Command' and, inevitably enough, Can. (But not as yet the fabled Lost Tapes. I'm still figuring out how I'm going to afford getting those. Any suggestions? I'm currently trying to limit my options to legal ones...)

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