This post for London spans shows in the city across November.
We’ve just arrived in the UK from Italy. We land at Stansted and slip into London on the train. We wheel the gear across the park known as London Fields to Chrissie’s sisters. It’s a familiar route and feels a bit like coming home. We know a few folk here from previous visits and an invitation onto The Other Rock show, a weekly radio show hosted by Marina Organ on the independent station Resonance FM, is gratefully accepted. It’s a chance to promote the first London show in 2 days time.
Before that though, we squeeze in a quick trip to Brighton to catch an exhilarating Sleaford Mods show before heading back to London for our own.
This first show was booked by Metal Postcards. Metal Postcards is a USA based independent distro who has recently included our back catalogue to their collection. The booked venue is the Vegbar, in Brixton, a vegan/vegetarian restaurant that also hosts noisy shows fairly frequently.
Also on the bill are two other groups promoted by Metal Postcards. The first is Dream Herbs, a young group that draws influences from psychedelic music, Syd Barrett, and a desire for volume. Daij VHS is the third representation from Metal Postcards. His songs against backing tracks seem dark and deeply personal. The fourth act is a solo performer called Danny Trash. A fifth group was advertised to play but simply didn’t arrive, no one seemed to know who they were.
It’s a night of organisational improvisation. There is some confusion around equipment. One act expect a laptop. When it isn’t there, they improv an accapella set. Though this could have been very stressful we’re impressed by the lack of fluster this seems to generate.
Dream Herbs kick off the night and they deliver on what they say they will do, a number of swirling entertaining tunes, the influence of Syd Barrett is obvious to discern. The group is a three piece with guitarist front and centre, but the rhythm section flys between loose and free play to held, considered and solid sections.
Danny Trash set is second, performing unaccompanied and with guitar. Then Daij VHS plays a short set to preprogrammed backing beats. Both performers deliver lyric in a free rap-styled format in a very raw, personal, unmediated impression on their local world.
Then it’s our turn to play. The audience, which seems to be predominantly the friends of the other three acts gets swept up in the energy of the event. Granted what we bring is quite different to the others, but it still feels like it has a real sense of collegiality and continuity. The night turns out to be a lot of fun despite the shaky organisational start. Vegbar is a sweet wee venue, and Assad who drives the sound desk was super helpful.
Fast forward to end of November. Our next two shows are back to back and organised by the Club Integral folk. They helped us out last time we were in London. They also host a regular radio show on Resonance FM.
The first show is at The Others in Stoke Newington. Remarkably easy to get to from the train, a short five minute walk past a tiny Caribbean fast food joint, some accommodation then turn right up the stairs above a snooker hall. The Others is one of those wonderful committed and dedicated venues that puts music front and foremost ahead of alcohol and profits. Spaces like these are essential to the nurturing and development of new music, skills of performers and provide opportunities for ideas to be explored. Venues such as these are well worth supporting and essential for keeping the parameters of music wide open.
There are two acts at The Others, ourselves and a trio called Knock Knock.
Knock Knock is a three piece – drums, saxophone, and mask/broken cup/cymbal. Reminiscent of a sped up Bhutto dance, Wayang puppetry with out puppets, a theatre show without a script, with some sounds, some music, and a bit of fisticuffs. Somewhere and somehow in this trio there are connections with the Tiger Lilies. Knock Knock is a frantic energy that is thoroughly entertaining.
Our spin on the floor and is a delightfully intimate affair. A lovely show that generates a load of conversations afterwards.
For the second show we head to Lambeth to play in a creative enclave, the venue in this space is called I’Klectik, another music-first space with a ear for invention. It’s a large room, with the feel of a small hall or a large wooden classroom. The space has a bar, zine display and music selection for sale focusing on what looks like experimental and improvisational music. Again tonight there are only two acts. We share the floor with a trio called the Honey Hahs, three sisters playing original music. The quirk is that they are aged between 9 and 15 maybe, they come with an entourage of family members. It is perhaps our most incongruous show to date. The trio perform with skill and it’s really very sweet.
We take our turn adding our our contrasting sounds to the innocent tones of the Honey Hahs. The show marks the end though of the northern hemisphere section of this tour. It’s a mixed sensation, a sense of completion of the bulk of the tour, there are only two shows after this, mixed with a sense of not wanting to be completed yet, it’s too fun to be finished yet…
But what unfolds unfolds and the night comes to the end. This time around there seemed to be more potential to do more here, there were several shows we had to decline when organizing. It would be nice to return and devote a decent amount of time to exploring and playing the UK, the north looks attractive. Till next time…
December 7, 2016 | Categories: It's All Over[parts of] the World Tour, shows | Tags: Daij VHS, Dream Herbs, I'Klectik, Knock Knock, Marina Organ, Metal Postcards, Resonance Fm, The Other Rock Show, The Others, Vegbar | 1 Comment