Wow. Those of you who made it to the gig last night will know what I’m talking about.
Thanks to Ewan of the Voodoo Rooms for booking us and to Tom for producing one of the best onstage sound balances we’ve had in a wee while. We had a ball in our support slot and that was really enjoyable but, my God, what a band the Five Corners are! Effortlessly cool grooves and soaring horns! (‘Cool cries from the high blue’, as Virginia Woolf might have said, had she been into a bit of jazz.) The evening was a real joy. Nice guys, too.
No doubt Hugh will want to post on this, once he stops dribbling, so I’ll leave it at that.
‘The Drawing Room Sessions’ – a fitting name considering the surroundings. Thanks to everyone at the Graffiti Project (Kelburn Castle) for such a wonderful evening of music and food. I tried my best not to drop a stick during the proceedings so as not to give Moose the excuse to look at me with ‘where’s the beat’ in his eyes.
One of the best reactions I could hope for as a drummer in a groove trio is to see the crowd dancing. I was not disappointed at this gig. Thanks to everyone who shook their toosh and sang along with the band.
Also, a round of applause to David Donnelly and Pip Burnett who also played some great tunes on the night.
Not that it’s relevant to anything, but I went to see ‘Quantum of Solace’ this week. I was just thinking that it’s weird how every generation gets the Bond it deserves. Daniel Craig’s a great actor and is a good Bond, but the script can’t run to more than about twenty pages at the outside. Instead, what we get is a fetishisation of violence perpetrated on Criag’s body. Even the adverts have him being buffeted about by flying debris from explosions which seem to catch him even if they are not necessarily anything to do with him. This Bond is a symbol of how western democracy needs to perceive itself: smashed around but still standing and capable of maintaining a sense of purpose and commitment, despite the fact that the world is becoming increasingly set on its destruction. This Bond needs to be cut and bruised and suffering… er… for our sins?
It used to be said that Bond’s greatest victories were consistently over the Americans, but it turns out that the Americans now merely tolerate him. They’ve become more like another layer of complexity and duplicity than a friend to depend on when you need logistical expertise and a shed-load of cash (for the greater good of liberal capitalism, obviously.) They still have the decency to be beaten to the punch, though. The ‘real’ enemy now is some shadowy organisation which can hit you anywhere (erm, see ‘Casino Royale’…) and is the real power behind, amongst other things, the ecological movement – those well known evil people.
Smash the Greens! They’re the Russians/Chinese/North Koreans/Iranians/Libyans/Al Quaida in disguise… apparently. Let’s blow up those trees, deny the enemy a good hug and eliminate a possible base from which they could launch evil Green attacks on the surrounding area, arbitrarily reseeding ancient woodlands and cleaning the air without so much as a ‘by your leave’. I bet they nicked my floor slabs too – possibly they thought I was going to pave paradise and put up a parking lot. Dolphins are responsible for the coming global recession by controlling City computers. Ever noticed how the old ‘handshake’ on a dial up sounded uncannily like a dolphin’s voice that has been digitally altered to sound like a computer? Eh? Eh? And whales… Whales are submarines!
Hmm… It’s almost as if I’m putting off doing any proper writing myself. And what do you mean this blog’s supposed to be about music?
I’ll keep this short and sweet because if I write much more I’m likely to break into full rant, given that some kind people nicked about 55 massive slate floor tiles from outside my door last night. Thanks guys.
Anyway, if you are interested, there is a (wobbly) video clip from our support slot for Nizlopi up on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh82lu_9Eng Enjoy. And by the way, thanks to those of you who made it to Kelburn Castle last weekend. It was a great gig with a lovely, friendly vibe.
Right. I’ve been nice… I’m off to gnash my teeth and swear in a corner. If anyone offers you 11 boxes of slate floor tiles, let me know…
On a lighter note… At a few gigs recently, people have asked whose signature is on my acoustic guitar. I should explain that my guitar is made by Ayers, an Australian luthier. As soon as I saw that name inside the sound box, I christened my guitar ‘Roy’ after the legendary vibes player Roy Ayers. Anyway, last year, when I’d been playing my lovely acoustic for a couple of years, we got the support slot for Roy Ayers in the Liquid Rooms. That was a real privilege because not only is he an extraordinarily talented musician (who has worked with a string of greats including Stevie Wonder) but he is also a genuinely lovely guy. I knocked on his door after the show and explained the story about my guitar and asked him if he’d mind signing it. He was all for signing it on the back but I insisted he take pride of place on the front. I had even bought a CD marker pen for the occasion. Of course, the next day I opened my guitar case to look at it and thought it made my guitar even cooler so I couldn’t resist having a little play. That’s when I suddenly noticed my finger tips had gone blue and the ‘Peace & Music’ had become ‘ieace u iiiusic’. I covered the signature up for a year, intending to get it properly sealed, but then I found out I should have sanded the varnish off beforehand and all sorts of nonsense so the signature is now there for all to see until such times as it wears off. I love it. Thanks Roy!
We are playing a wee private gig in Kelburn Castle next weekend (www.kelburnestate.com). It’ll be the third time we’ve played there and we’ve had a great time on each occasion. Some of you may remember that we were due to play at their ‘Garden Party’ last year but the event had to be cancelled due to difficulties put up by the police (that’s not a reference to outrageous rider demands by Sting, but to the kind with caps, high visibility jackets and apparently in some cases, a dislike of live music.) It was really disappointing because it would have been a sensational event – and also because I had to help my mother-in-law move house instead. Talk about a double-whammy.
For those of you unfamiliar with Kelburn and the fantastically enthusiastic and innovative people that run it, check out the video of the graffiti project on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwPK4W1SXBw. The castle itself, as you will see, is now partially covered by graffiti in an effort to raise its profile and some much needed cash to fund the re-rendering of the outer skin. It’s well worth a trip.
The positive hits just keep on coming. How many hits? ‘More hits than Barry Bonds playing slow pitch in the disabled seniors league,’ as Abdominal would put it. Gecko 3 are delighted to announce that we will be playing the midnight set at the Departure Lounge Hogmanay party. The event also features live sets from Orkestra del Sol and Mungo’s HiFi plus DJ Astroboy and others.
So, it seems that our big November support slot has now been confirmed! We’re supporting The Five Corners Quintet (www.thefivecornersquintet.com) on Sunday November 16th, 8pm, in the Voodoo Rooms. Since this is also the Moose’s birthday, and we may get a chance to play some of the jazzier numbers (which means my new guitar ‘Mr Wibble’ can make an outing and Hugh’s new cymbal – more of a tong than a ting – can be played), plus it’s one of Hugh’s favourite bands… you’d be a hard hearted individual not to be excited!
And we’re supporting Nizlopi (www.nizlopi.com) this Tuesday evening in Caberet Voltaire at 7pm! Damn!
I don’t think I’ve ever used so many exclamation marks in one post! …!
Thanks to everyone who was listening so attentively last night and a special thanks to those of you who bought CDs – we hope you enjoy them! I thoroughly enjoyed the gig and the set by Cibelle was great: some really novel ideas on how to use loops and some lovely grooves.
For those of you who couldn’t make it, Cibelle was accompanied by a guitarist and a drummer. She played a variety of instruments, including a guitar, a keyboard (with various digi-weirdness) and a stylophone. Though they had a pretty full sound, there were times when the music was pumping and I couldn’t help wondering why they’d chosen to omit a bass player. It’s not that I felt the bass would be crucial – it sounded great as it was – but when establishing a groove (as the Moose never tires of pointing out) a bass can give you that push over the cliff to ultimate ‘phatness’. I know the absence of a bass isn’t exactly new in music, but it is an interesting phenomenon as it moves to a more mainstream position.
So anyway, I was thinking about that, and it occurred to me that the effect of missing out a range of bottom end tones gives the music a certain rawness (again, not news) but also – to my ears – a certain ‘provisional’ sound. By that I mean it’s interesting to listen to because it sounds incomplete (to ears like mine that are used to bass-drenched funk.) And then I started wondering if this is popular music finally reflecting postmodern suspicion of grand – or meta – narratives. Stay with me. If, as Francois Lyotard asserted, we no longer believe that it is possible to express truth in a complete way – say, the Western myth of history as unending progress – and in fact we are now inately suspicious of anything that seems to assert the possibility of such completeness, then maybe provisional grooves are the logical correlative of that. So the power of something like the White Stripes or Cibelle last night incorporates a (largely unconscious) refusal to express any piece as a closed, completed system. The growth of live improvisation within the realms of digital manipulation is a similar thing, but I might blab on about that another time. So, provisional grooves as postmodern statement? It’s just a thought. On the other hand, maybe last night the bass player was sick.