Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Bourgeois Four / Ill Ease / Fade To Sepia The Actress & Bishop Saturday 13th October 2007

In the true spirit of GDFAF I decided to follow my regular Friday night at Kamikaze! with a irregular Saturday at a new (to me anyway) venue, The Actress & Bishop. I've been meaning to go for ages but, in the same way that I've been meaning to read more, drink less and generally be a cheerier person, it just never happened. Turns out it's my kinda venue. Whilst the downstairs is very St Pauls Square, the upstairs is small and a bit scruffy. Perfect. No idea who was promoting tonight's gig ('s Skeleton Crew) but they put on a pretty eclectic bill starting with Pete Heywood, lead or ex-lead (I'm sure the poster said ex-lead) singer of local indie-rocksters My Dad Hitla. I like band names with the word dad in the title, especially Ken Dodd's Dad's Dog's Dead...a band I've never seen 'cos surely no one could be quite as good as the name suggests. The obvious exception to this rule (the bands with cool names not being as cool as the name suggests rule or BWCNNBACATNS for short) being David Devant and His Spirit Wife (who were truly great). Anyway, whether Pete's dad is still Hitla or not, tonight he was on his lonesome, playing a few tunes that once more bore the hallmark of a certain Mr Jeff Buckley. Before taking a misguided paddle in the Mississippi (if that's the correct spelling I'll be amazed) Jeff was a bit of a cult figure, now he's probably the most influential artist singer songwriters from here to just outside Kidderminster. Of course there's nowt wrong with being inspired by others. I for one take great inspiration from things I see carved on bus shelters. Who can fail to be moved by the beauty of 'Trish 4 Ash 4 Eva' or 'Shazza Suk Cock'. There's nothing wrong with this and Pete, like many solo artists I've seen recently, certainly has a strong voice and good material but, personally, I think it's a shame if their true self doesn't come through. I can't find a solo link, so I'll direct you to the My Dad Hitla we go...they sound (ed) quite good.

Next up were one of those lovely GDFAF type surprises - Fade To Sepia. Taking inspiration from The Fall, Gang of Four and Joy Division (and co-fronted by a chap who bore a slight resemblance to Lofty from Eastenders) they are the kind of band that trendy music critics will write about in 25 years time when they've split up (the band, not the critics) then reformed to play a gig in London that's full of celebrity fans...and Kate Moss...who will, by then, be forced to fuck, snort and wear anything that moves in order to keep her sorry ass in the papers (whoops...feel the love everyone). Right. The music then. Distorted guitars, drone rock bits, Hooky style bass lines, mad shouty bloke vocals and lyrics about sniffing glue, the futility of modern life, civil war battles, mental illness...some of my favourite things in fact. Co-vocalists David and James threw themselves around the 'stage' like men possessed (which they may well be). I particularly liked David's shuffling along the floor on his back routine near the end of the set. That is a performance. That is music. That is passion. that.

No sooner had the dust settled I noticed a woman busily humping bits of kit around the stage. S'funny thought I, nursing a glass of 'red' 'wine', a female roadie at a small gig. Turns out she was the next act, Ill Ease, from Brooklyn, Noo Yawk. Imagine a one woman White Stripes on speed who eats KT Tunstall, mates with Polly Harvey then brings up the offspring on a diet of punk and thrash metal. The result would be the full on, frankly awesome, Ill Ease experience. She plays guitar, loops it with one of those loopy machines, plays another guitar, loops that, then goes round to the drum kit and bashes 7 flavours of shite out of it. If you only do one thing today, have a listen to Too Much Sucky at full volume. I really must stop giving my musical heart away but, from now on, a little bit of it (part of the left ventricle in fact) will always belong to Ill Ease.

Tonight was rapidly turning out to be well worth the £4 it cost to get in (hell, they could've charged £40 and it would've been worth it) even before the Bourgeois (why is that damn word so hard to spell?) Four took to the stage. I can take no credit for knowing about the B4 before tonight. That belongs to the Silver Footed Gig Slut (RIP) who is now blogging about all manner of stuff under the name the careless gene. She got it right though. They are chuffingly good. The kind of spikey, fast paced intellectual indie that thrived back in the late 70's / early 80's before the musical landscape was wrecked by 'dance' music, rubbish rap (as opposed to good rap, which is good) and talent shows for ordinary people who can sing a bit. Fuck that. We don't want our musical heroes to be ordinary people. We want them to shoot heroin into rabbits and have sex with dead postmen. I'm sure the B4 don't do that, but with tracks like She's So Ghetto one could forgive them pretty much anything. Lead B4, Tristan, is clearly a sharper tool than your average frontperson and has the voice of an angel combined with the spleen of...someone with a very big spleen. I'm pretty sure he spends hours on the bus watching people and muttering about the decline and fall of western civilisation. Thanks to bands like the B4 at least there's still hope for us all.


Andy said...

Thanks for the ace review of The Bourge.

You're so right about our singer. He doesn't half mumble on the bus a lot!

Take it easy,


The Baron said...

Cheers for your comment Andy! Great set, great band. Hope to see you all again soon (buy some ear plugs if he mumbles too much!).

The Baron