april 3rd, 2006
Current level of conviction in own genius: 8
Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 1
Hair day: not looking as snappy as it should for a £40 chop in an organic hairdresser’s in Shoreditch
Have upped the live music stakes this week, having been to four gigs so wildly varying they might well have taken place in opposing corners of the globe – well, not everyone can say that in 6 days they’ve taken in a Canadian post-artrock outfit, a harpsichord in a club, a beatboxer who can perform entire Daft Punk songs and a MOR sub-Radio 2 country singer in Driffield.
1) Bell Orchestre at the ULU was a wondrous, ear-glowing experience. Comprising octopus-like drummer, double bass, violin, horn and trumpet, the brass started by disorientating us completely by playing acoustically amidst the audience, and the band swiftly followed with a set of innovative, jazz/folk/rock-inflected genius. The use of melodeon through a hosepipe, bass knocks on the wood and almost entirely col legno bowing, percussive typewriter and whooping horn harmonics lent a quirkily avant-garde edge, and the build-up of Reich-esque riffs, angular time signatures, the blurred virtuosity of the players and some kick-ass rocking out sent me to heaven and back. Euphoric. I am viciously anti-illegal drugs at the best of times, but seriously people, the best music does it all for you…
2) Jane Chapman at Cargo. In the second of the Sound Source series, which aims to bring contemporary music into funkier venues, we were greeted with the bizarrely innocuous sight of seeing a harpsichord perched primly on the stage of Cargo in Shoreditch. It was a mildly odd night, with some very cute and funky pieces in there; however, some of them seemed very slight and the audience was a mixture of subdued harpsichord enthusiasts (glaring at me for laughing very loudly at a genuinely funny number) and your usual 20-somethings. Still, it gives juice a few more ideas as to how to make ours work for yes! We are the next in the series on May 30th!!!
3) Mr Mouth and 7 Seconds of Love at Cargo. Again. We were there to see friend Ed do his dancing-drummer thing in previously-blogged about comedy ska-punk band 7 Seconds, but were wowed by the 3-mouths-in-one beatboxer, a self-consciously styled geek who could sing Michael Jackson songs whilst chewing over the beats, used a loopstation and then upped the stakes by accompanying his jazzy keyboard riffs with a mouthy beat. Gift of the gab indeed.
4) Up in York for juice’s second recording session for Roger Marsh’s Pierrot Lunaire on NMC, I put up only mild resistance to go see Mum’s favourite singer, John Wright, with her in Driffield. It was Phoenix Nights, East Riding style, all the way here – crammed into the back room of the Blue Bell pub, last decorated in 1959, I was surrounded by septuagenarians sipping half-pints of Tetley’s, all swooning at the boxy-suited, mullet-haired sleazemeister up front. Wright, delivering trite covers of country, folk and soul numbers, makes my old student Katie Melua look on the teetering edge of avant-garde. Granted, he had a lovely fiddle player, I quite enjoyed the bagpipe-wielding support act who sang comedy songs about women golfers with large breasts, and appreciated the light buffet of cheese-and-onion sandwiches and sausage rolls handed round in the interval by buxom lasses. Still, I think I prefer the capital’s offerings to gigs accompanied by the sound of the fly-zapper on the ceiling snapping and crackling at regular intervals….
Have been whipped up in a whirlwind of creative activity, what with working on our websites, succumbing to the Murdoch-lorded myspace.com (cue sound of bandwagon screeching to a halt to let juice and I clamber on), embarking on a new career using a covert identity that shall maybe revealed later, and being creative consultant and assistant model for the new art/fashion venture UP YOUR ART taking place under our E1 roof. I am currently sporting an apple-green t-shirt emblazoned with ‘AVANT-HARD’. Oh yes. Well, in these East London parts, you have to create new identity as fashion-designing/DJ-ing/artzine Shoho type to avoid getting trampled underfoot by pairs of Victoriana-heeled poetry punks whilst being beaten to bits with piles of obscure 1960s underground-country-disco records.