serious

Eight bands and a very small fire.

I picked up some gig tickets last week at Ripping. I was getting, it was pointed out, 3 good gigs for 20 quid, for which I could have got two-thirds of Razorlight, or half of the Foo Fighters. Not bad.

The first of these was Ballboy, on Saturday. I got to the the Cab a little late, as my mum had asked for a lift into town - we had the tail-end of the rain that caused all the floods in the north of England - and the first band - North Atlantic Oscillation - were already on. I could see a guy with a guitar, but there were obviously several other instruments including a theremin, and I was sure he wasn't going to be playing that with his toes. When I got closer I could see that there was also a drummer and a laptop. That's my only reservation - I'd rather it hadn't been the two of them playing along to a backing track. Apart from that, I was rather impressed. They reminded me a bit of Quinn, but less acoustic. They played with a certain confidence and authority, and they sounded good. The drummer was rather skilled, and the guitarist sang well. Definitely a band I'd like to see again.

Five Day Hemingway I wasn't quite as taken by, but more because they aren't as much my kind of thing than because of any failings. They're a more straightforward guitar band - four blokes with some good songs. I wouldn't stay in the bar if they were playing, but I'm not sure I'd come out in the rain just to see them. They do have some good songs, though.

Ballboy were ballboy. There were a couple of songs that they've come up with since the last time I saw them - notably A (Relatively) Famous Victory, as Gordon called it. Nick the bassist suffered equipment failure at the beginning (becoming a running trend, that) and Gordon, on noticing that people for some reason were mainly watching Alexa on the other side of the stage, suggested that maybe people were blanking Nick as revenge. No song about leaving notes on lesbian sex in a corridor at work this time.

They're playing next Saturday in London, should any of you benighted southrons wish to indulge.

After that I went to the Southern to see Lara, Seth, Sandy and Sellotape. Sellotape were quite a mixed bag - some of the songs were good, but others weren't, and the sound can only be described as ropy, even for a pub gig. I wouldn't advise them to give up the day jobs, but I certainly wouldn't advise them to give up and go home either. Apparently they had a last-minute replacement keyboard player, which can't have helped.

Many of you will already have seen the textual version of this YouTube video. It's the one with Bush and Condi discussing who's leading China. I've been told it's an update of an Abbot and Costello joke, but I've no idea if that's true. Well worth a look if you've not come across it before.

Fringe show faces the wrath of ElRon : "Instead of putting together a straight satire we decided to create a kitsch rock'n'roll musical based on the science-fiction mythology on which Scientology is based." If that hadn't included the words Kitsch and Musical, I'd be tempted.

On Sunday I went to see Abdoujaparov (plus three) at Henry's, just off Lothian Road. This, it turns out, is a tiny little place. The only time I'd seen Abdoujaparov before it had been in the LA2, so this was an especially intimate gig - especially in terms of turnout. There was never much above a dozen people in the room all night. I hope the organisers didn't take too much of a hit on it.

The first band were called something involving black, rats, and death, and they were actually very good - solid, tight and involving - until they blew it. They started to sing. They really, really can't sing - and I don't mean that in a good way. Mark Smith and Beefheart I like. Butthole Surfers and Napalm Death I like. I paid to see rock bands, though, not Daffy Duck impersonators. They have obvious potential, but should consider either a different vocal style or (considering the hammer-horror levels of reverb on the guitars) taking a lead from Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet.

The second band were Schrödinger's Beard, who were four blokes with an iPod messing about. Some of it was good - in particular, the song about dogging is genuinely funny and should definitely be kept in the set - but I thought it all went on for far too long. Obviously their mates had turned up and enjoyed it, but I'd had enough way before the end.1

After that there was a bloke called (I think) Ben, with a reddish semi. He could sing, and sounded pleasant in a strummy kind of way. After the previous two bands, I wasn't feeling very enthusiastic, but he was OK. It'd be nice to see him when I could be bothered.

I picked myself off the chair at the back of the room for Abdoujaparov, and didn't regret it. Post-Carter, Mr Fruitbat isn't producing songs based on so many London puns, but their songs are still damn good, musical, bouncy, and often funny too. The low turnout was anything but deserved. "Beer Scooter" was particularly good. Next time they play, I will expect you all to turn up. Mr Carter even seemed to make a point of hanging around to see all the other acts and chatting to them after. What a gent.

Oddly, one band had pulled out and had a last-minute replacement. The first band were the replacement, which I wouldn't have expected. Irritating though I found them, they were very competent.

Today I went round to pick up Ed's mail and have a look at his PC. New readers may not be aware of the state he left it in - let me just say that it was left in a state. I put a few bits back in (including the motherboard battery - he's nothing if not thorough) and plugged it in. Before I got round to turning it on, I noticed a thin wisp of smoke coming from the power supply. I guess that's shagged, then.

And tomorrow, The Crimea, back at the Cab.

[1] : Critics, eh? Eunuchs in a harem, and in any case humour's subjective you miserable bastard.
  • Current Location: the boxroom
  • Current Mood: uncharitable
  • Current Music: Abdoujaparov - Beer Scooter
They're playing next Saturday in London, should any of you benighted southrons wish to indulge.

Except I managed to get the last two tickets on sale last night. Sorry about that, everyone.
I've been told it's an update of an Abbot and Costello joke, but I've no idea if that's true.

Oh, yes. This is supposed to be the best version, there are others.
I'd say further to any benighted southerners that Ballboy are playing one of the nicest venues in London, so the effort should really be made to see them.

Only I can't because I'm away at Glastonbury.