serious

Eat your own dogfood, guitarboy.

Well, it seems that Mr Sulu's gonna get hitched. Excellent news, and my congratulations both to the prospective happy couple and to the Californian Supreme Court.

The Captain's Rest is a pub in Glasgow, on the Great Western Road. It's not an especially big pub; about averagely sized, I'd say. On asking the bar staff, I was told that the bands play downstairs.

Downstairs isn't very big. In fact, my first thought was that it was going to be quite brutal. It's bigger then my living room, but not by as much as I'd expected. Cambuggers will probably be able to identify with it being roughly the same size as the Portland Arms back room. Is this really a suitable - or safe - place to be seeing the loudest band in New York? I was suddenly very glad I'd sourced earplugs. I've never bothered with them before, but at that moment I was extremely happy to have 29dB of protection in my pocket.

The stage is small. Not quite everything seemed to fit on it. Not only were amps moved on and off between bands, during their sets things were sitting on the floor next to it - things like monitor wedges and effects boxes, that you'd usually expect to be with the performers rather than in the audience. There was a light. There was a projector, too, but that didn't get used until the end. For most of the night, there was a single can pointing partly at the ceiling and partly in my eyes. There was a bar there, but it was about two feet long and only sold cans and bottles. It was a little bit poky down there. The merch stall was mostly stuff sitting on a bench along a wall, although there was a small table at one end. It was monopolised by APTBS things, so I am suspicious that they'd brought it with them.

The first band on was three Americans, who announced that they were a special surprise extra as they were playing Glasgow the next night (tonight, as it happens) anyway. Ex-Models (for it were they) had two guitarists and a drummer, and played intricate and repetitive guitar riffs with someone having a fit with sticks somewhere behind them. Moderately loud, and rather bouncy. It was the Chrome Panthers lineup (he said, having now read the article) and afterwards Kid Millions sold me a copy of that album. I don't think I'd heard anything by them before (could be wrong) but I liked it a lot. On paper it probably sounds a bit prog, but it was all about structure, dynamics and lunatic percussion. A lot of fun. Involving. I liked.

On the way to the Captain's rest, I'd stopped in a Scotmid along the road to get some money out of a bank machine. Behind me in the queue was a guy who got talking to a mate who was just going past. The one in the queue mentioned that he was on the way to a gig. I wondered briefly if it was the same one, but decided that it probably wasn't when he said he was playing. Anyway . . .

The second band were the official support, Larmousse. They claimed - and documentary sources confirm this - that they actually put an album out eight years ago but have only now got round to having their first gig. Actually it's a bit more complex than that, but those basic facts are true. Again, it was two guitarists and a drummer, but much quieter - one guitar was acoustic, and the other - blasphemy! - was hardly loud and distorted at all. Indeed, I'd have to say that they were downright tuneful, and almost acoustic. I don't know what their record's like. Apparently they're really after a bassist and keyboard player, which would enliven the sound a lot, I think. As it was, they reminded me slightly of a less countryish Hobotalk (not that that'll help most of you, I'm sure). Maybe I'll see them again when they've a full lineup. It was a little difficult to get into them straight after something a lot more rocking, but overall I got a good impression.

And the drummer was the guy from the Co-op bank machine queue, so I'd been right the first time.

APTBS are also a three-piece, but with a bassist. And quite a lot of effects - enough in itself to identify a shoegazy influence. Two half-unit Boss boxes, a wah and (at a guess) volume pedal and about six stomp-boxes for the guitar, and several stomp-boxes for the bass. Certain of them looked familiar, which didn't surprise me. In volume terms . . . I don't think they were actually the loudest band I've seen. They didn't strike me as being the loudest. I couldn't actually think of any specific band who outdid them, though, and they had a wonderfully powerful sound. They were definitely the noisiest band I've seen in many years, and if it weren't for the MBV ticket I'm expecting to get in the post I would confidently predict I wouldn't see as noisy a band this year or probably next either.

Unless (as is possible) they were too distorted for me to recognise them, a lot of the songs weren't on the album. This would be good news, of course. I don't think Don't Think Lover turned up, which was a slight shame as it's my favourite. That's was OK, though, because there were several I knew, some I didn't and they finished with an appallingly brilliant Ocean that started as, finished as, and partly consisted of, a pulsing wall of sheet noise. The projector I mentioned came on during their first couple of songs and the single onstage light went off shortly afterwards. I wish I'd taken my camera,because the grids and graphics they were using made lovely patterns in the air over the audience. The first couple of songs could have done with more bass, but then it turned up and everything was lovely. Enveloping. Womblike, provided you grew up in a particularly apocalyptic womb. It was a terrific concert. I'm not going to forget in a hurry, and I'm already waiting for their next British tour (even if it will almost certainly mean seeing them in a venue larger than a shoebox). Highly recommended to any fans of My Bloody Valentine, Curve, Psychocandy, industrial accidents, steam-hammers or trainwrecks.

Today I picked up some bike lights and went to give blood, having sat out the quarantine after my cruel rebuff of the other week. It was quite busy, so I read a book ("I'm member and preacher to that church where the blind don't see and the lame don't walk and what's dead stays that way.") for half an hour or so until I got to do the formfilling, question-answering and preliminary bleed. When I'd gone through to the back and was waiting to be punctured, another man walked in - about 60 - and sat down. Slightly later one of the nurses said "Graham?" and he looked up and started to rise. I obviously looked puzzled, because she then said "Graham Clark?"

He stood right up. I said "That's me." The nurse looked puzzled, peered down at the forms on her desk and started to laugh.

I don't need to tell you the rest, do I?

Anyway, she made sure that she had us right by address and date of birth and the rest went predictably. I was finished before him and when he came out for his cuppa we chatted briefly. Nice bloke. I've been aware of various other Graham Clarks over the years, but I don't ever remember actually meeting one. I don't know why not. It's a fairly common name.
  • Current Location: the boxroom
  • Current Mood: pleased and fed
  • Current Music: A place to bury strangers - Missing you
I need to find one for every day of the year and one duplicate, and we can move into a giant flat together - then we all go give blood.
I used to live in a flat above the Captain's Rest. I don't know if they had bands on then, it seemed a typical Glasgow old man's pub then.
I get the impression they started very recently. I overheard someone saying that they put bands on these days, so they probably didn't not long ago.
I was given antibiotics recently cos a butcher badly removed my last wisdom tooth... The name on the prescription label on the tablet bottle was mine, but I have no idea why I appeared to be living in a town 40mins away. Makes you wonder about the pharmacy's database! Maybe there is another me here. But I doubt it.

I think there's a Captain's Rest in East Fife somewhere too. Oh dark memories.

My loudest gigs were probably Placebo (Cam CornX 1997) or David Lee Roth (Playhoose 1984, poor mix from sound guy, it hurt for a month).
The first time I went to vote, I gave my first and last names. The scrutineer said "oh, this middle name or that one?" The amusing thing is, that the other middle name was the other one my mother was considering giving me...

Edited at 2008-05-21 05:46 am (UTC)
I had that happen in a restaurant recently - there was another person with my name with a reservation on the same night.

I only wish I'd got there first, since she got a better table than me!
Just listening to the APTBS MySpace page just now. No bad.

My loudest gig ever would have been the Rollercoaster tour at the Brixton Academy. Blur, Dinosaur Jr, MBV & J&MC (in that order). I remember reading that MBV agreed to do the tour as long as they could book the PA, and they booked one that was 25% (maybe 50%) more powerful than the J&MC would have chosen.

Loudest in a non-gigantic venue would probably be Hüsker Dü at the Potterrow (I just like to drop that one in to conversation as often as possible).