Archive for September, 2009

The Joy Formidable, Twin Atlantic, Little Death – The Garage, Highbury and Islington, 30th September 2009

September 30, 2009

Fuck it.

This blog was gonna be about quality, but with the quantity this low I just have to write.

Little Death played first. They were very average and I did not know why they were there. Their bass player was not amazingly competent. I suppose my review of this pile of shite could be longer, but if it was I’d probably end up slagging them off. I could pay them a complement, on the assumption that saying you want to fuck the only female member of the band is a complement. This could come across as sexist shit, but to be honest it is the fact that she is clearly in the band because either (1) she is fucking one of the band or (2) one of the band wants to fuck her or (3) the band think that having a girl who half the audience will want to fuck will make them more popular. Any of these options is a worse reflection on this steaming pile than it is on me. The flipside to all this is that at least she was clearly there because someone persuaded her to get on stage with a cheap bass and follow the guitar lines – the rest of them were actually more directly responsible for the sonic drivel so should actually take the vast majority of the blame and abuse.

Twin Atlantic (or TWAT as they are known to their fans) have a Scottish singer who sounds like Brian Molko. They have a bass player who looks like he’s in the world’s worst band ever. No, not Radiohead, Fleet Fucking Foxes. [To be fair to them at least they came up with a name that allowed ‘fucking’ in the middle whilst keeping perfect alliteration.] TWAT were quite good as it goes, in a ‘great band to listen to when you are 19 and going through your dullard indie phase in advance to turning 22 and reverting to listening to mainstream dog turd like Radiohead and Fleet Foxes and U2’, kinda way. Cello is cool, I’ll grant ya. Electric cello, replacing a perfectly good distorted guitar, is not. Jerkier than Little Death, and I thank them for that. Amish beards are cool, not American folkie beards.

Fuck you TWAT. If I wanted 5/10 I’d go and listen to the fucking Cribs not you.

On to the Joy Formidable. Yeah, why not? Their myspace page gives the impression that their raison d’etre is to stop Little Death sounding bland. Live they are almost a revelation. I like the drummer’s spot at the side looking across to the other two. I like their energy. I like their singing guitarist’s vitality, energy, attitude and guitar abusing. But, sorry Joy, I want more. You might make it. You’ve got your fans, you rock, you’re engaging and you care. But why should I care? To be fair there is one reason. Girls fronting decent noisy rock bands are a rarity, and for that you deserve high praise indeed. But you ain’t getting it from me. 6. 1 better than TWAT and about 4.5 better than Little Death. Yeah, when 20 bands on myspace have Little Death in their name, did you not think “an original thought, that is what we need!”. Clearly not. Numb nuts.

Tonight featured far too many Strats. Ditch your fucking Strats. There is only one thing worse than a cheap guitar, and that’s a Strat. Fuck Strats.

Monday 14th September 2009 19:00 to 24:00.

September 15, 2009

A couple of days back I get an email from Winnebago Deal saying that they are supporting Andrew WK at the Kings College London Student Union on Monday 14th September.  I decide to go, but can’t be arsed to get a ticket – I’ll get one on the door.

7pm and I turn up.  Practically no-one there, but the doorman says that the doors don’t open until 8pm .  I ask if there’s tickets on the door, and he says yes.  Tariq pipes up and – despite not knowing me from Adam – shoves a free ticket into my hand.  I am happy.

With time to kill I walk west, cross the river over Waterloo Bridge, head east along the south bank, and return to KCLSU via Blackfriars Bridge.  I join the queue at 7.45 in front of a couple of lovely, if slightly posh, kids.

Walk in and get a pint of over-priced Red Stripe.

Some utter wank-shite gets on stage with a plant pot on his head and combines distortion, feedback and cheap drum and bass breaks, with shitey vocals.  There is a chance that half the audience have lived such pathetic and sheltered lives that they have never heard experimental music.  If so they might have learnt something.  My gut feeling is, however, that he was an utter cockbucket with no talent and the imagination of my right bollock.  A straw poll indicated I was not in the minority.

The reason I came.  Winnebago Deal.  Awesome, as to be expected.  Seriously, are you a fuck knuckle or are you a massive WD fan?  The question is simple, the answer is simpler.

[By the way, if you’re reading this Ben and Ben, the twat who pissed on the drivers side door of your van is a greasy little bearded shit called Josh.  He nearly got thrown out during your set for picking a fight with a guy who – entirely justifiably – thought a pint on Josh’s head was a reasonable response to Josh careering into some girl standing miles from the stage trying to watch the band.  Josh, I ain’t got a problem with moshing, but it really doesn’t have to take up an area 15 ft by 15 ft in a fairly small venue and still endanger the people who are stood back from the pit.  You are a cock.]

Andrew WK.  Kinda know the name, but I can honestly say that this guy meant nothing to me before tonight.  I understand he used to have a band and can play piano.

Anyway, speaking to a few people beforehand the consensus seemed to be that he is a God.  Tariq and his mate Far were about to leave (they feared that he would be a let-down in comparison to the awesomeness of the last time they saw him) but a couple of drinks persuaded them to stay.  Some Irish guy told me his mate had flown from Ireland especially.  Some other guy told me he’d seen Andrew WK do a solo set and had been entirely non-plussed for a couple of songs before it all came together and he was blown away.

He starts.

I live in East London and am entirely used to East European men aged 18-32 driving unnecessarily large BMWs playing utter crap at loud volumes at 7am on a Sunday morning.  Think Basshunter.  Think knobcheese.

Think Dave Grohl.

Think happy hardcore tempos.  Think party music in excelsis.

Similes are tricky.  There are two options –

(1)  The backing track is a turd.  A sprinkle of surprisingly listenable piano noodling is the sunshine which hardens the turd.  Andrew WK is the polish which rubs the turd so good and proper that the turd becomes a diamond having a party.

(2) The backing track is a turd which is being used as the basis of a very unappetising sounding cake.  A sprinkle of surprisingly listenable piano noodling is the yeast.  Andrew WK is the magic oven which turns the shit – via the yeast – into the best carrot cake ever eaten.

OK, both similes are toss.  But the point is that I would not consider listening to Andrew WK at home in a million years.  Yet live he takes a cheesy backing track, adds some unnecessarily showy piano, and combines it with a stage act and vocal performance that grabs the audience by the scruff of the neck and says “have fucking fun or fuck right off, but don’t fuck right off.”

I genuinely was speechless for two or three songs before realising that there was no point fighting it, it was all about feeling it.  The guy puts on a show like next to no-one I have ever seen.  And the show isn’t about him, it’s about the crowd, who he encourages onstage for long periods of utterly bonkers, bouncer-baiting carnage.

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Don’t bother with his records.  I’m sure they’re crap.

But for fuck sake, see the guy live, and if you don’t leave the venue invigorated and happy then do yourself a favour and seek psychiatric help.

I leave the venue.  I get a tube a meet yet another guy who thought Andrew WK is a genius.  I switch tubes and end up with an orange essex girl, her slightly pudgy Alan Carr-a-like mate, Tim Minchin’s Doppleganger and a rather small guy with little feet in rather feminine shoes.  I do poppers for the first time in 10 years and plot the cocktails I’ll drink when writing this.

I’ve written this quickly, with practically no research.  The one thing I have seen however is that “in 2005, Andrew announced that he would begin performing as a self-help, new age motivational speaker.”  That makes sense.