Thursday, March 22, 2007


Just popped indoors at 10:00, after tidying-up the post below, to watch the season finale of Skins (truly, the best thing on telly recently, I reckon), only to find (jeez: weird coincidence!) that a sizable part of the episode was set in Seymours Family Club: there was even a punch-up on the dance-floor exactly where Raccoo-oo-oon were playing last week. Heh, and the DJ was playing Lethal Bizzle. And then Sid walked out into the front carpark in a night-time camera-shot v. similar to my own blurry farewell photo.

Anyways, an excellent end to an excellent series with the entire cast miming to "It's a Wild World" and a totally fabulous and well-deserved looking-out-over-Bristol fairytale ending for Sid, tho not for Tony. Bring on season two, I say.


Ha! Photos finally back from the chemists, soooo, gig last wednesday at Seymours in Bristol. Great, as ever, to hook up with Cloudboy and the Swindon Kru. First on were the mighty Hunting Lodge, who I've mentioned before, and who seem to exist at some blurred Venn Diagram overlap betwn Punk, Post-Punk, Noise, Metal and Psycho-Scattershot Hedonia. My first time with these lads, but surely won't be my last.

(Usual crap Tesco disposable camera made worse by Blogspot decomissioning Hello...(these pictures were fine in photoshop after I cleaned 'em up, I swear!) click on them to get the gurning faces and the full, grainy torture-film glory of it all; you'll find there's actually a band in there somewhere! Kid Shirt, the Blog That Refuses To Go Digital...)

"I'd like to read their lyric-book," quipped Cloudboy, as the vocalist barked/yelped/snarled his way thru a twisty, stop-start mini-epileptic-fit dressed up as a song. The music sounded like a cross between hooping cough and carburetor trouble: Stump-era Kev Hopper attacked by red-necks armed with electric sanders. It lurches and surges forward, then stalls; bits suddenly explode and fall off it like a clown-car driving through a mine-field.

The guitarist jumped on his pedals (and off again) with both feet as if he was bouncing on a pogo-stick, while the bassist bent his spine into a crouch-cum-exagerated bow, so that his bass randomly dragged and bounced its way along the floor. Drummer raises merry hell in a pair of pink boxers with anti-war manifesto written in biro on his bum; pulling hairy retard-o shapes, stacatto rim-shotting bits of metallic salvage, then suddenly leaping to his feet as if he had Tourettes or had left the cooker on in Southampton. Niiiice.

Had a cool chat w/ Shawn of Raccoo-oo-oon (he's an art-lecturer who does, I think, most of their amazing cover-art and was skivving off college to tour the UK!) and I scored some wicked merch from him, wh/ I'll talk about anudder day. Shawn then pointed me at Daren, who I've briefly corresponded with off n on: Daren is a man of staggering musical taste, and has to be the only guy in Iowa who's into Dubstep. He DJs in his hometown, playing a wide variety of stuff from Psych to Beats, using cassette-decks and an effectz-pedal to provide Bashment-style cover for his mixes. We chatted about the micro-economics of cassette-culture, $1 vinyl bargain-bins and Baltimore Club. He wants to score some Dubstep vinyl while he's over here, so I give him directions to Rooted Records, but the band have gotta leave for Brighton early-ish the next day.

No photos of Tight Meat Duo, I'm afraid; I went all kinda reverential while they were playing. David Keenan was blowing seven bales of shit out of his sax and was physically blown-away after each track (having to take a couple minute breather while he and Alex Neilson chatted informally to the audience), so it felt kinda churlish to hit 'em with a camera-flash while they were a-skronkin' and a-clatterin' their way through a spiritedly fierce and snakily lithsome set of Post-Skronk Fire Music ('Jazz' feels waaaaaay too tame a term. I think Anthony woulda liked their shit. I did.)...there's some proper pictures here, or over on Cloudboy's blog, if you'll all form an orderly queue and follow me...ssssssh: don't wake the children.

Hadda v. quick chat w/ a knackered-looking Dave Keenan afterwards; I really love his writing - his recent piece in The Wire on Matt Valentine and Erika Elder was great, I reckon...he mentioned to me that he was huge fans of theirs and had really wanted to get the piece 'right' to do them justice...I know exactly what he means.

I'm a total fan-boy where Raccoo-oo-oon are concerned and had been really looking forward to checking them live, so don't expect anything even resembling objectivity, okay? They certainly didn't disappoint, ushering the crowd in nice n close for maximum intimacy before they let riiiip...

A two-drum line-up with Shawn and Daren on bass and gtr, but also switching to n fro on assorted keys, samplers, fx-pedals, etc. A sax appeared at one point too. They started w/ some free-ish textural stuff, but quickly cut loooose with heavy, descending gtr n noise wiiiiig-outs that highlighted the more muscular, Space-Rock/Acid-Rock side of their repertoire w/ howling, echoplex'd vocals and bursts of electronic statik.

The drummers locked into some pounding Boredoms meet Hawkwind drumthuggery with an exploding nebulae of multicoloured noise swirling behind them like a backdrop of superheavy collapsing stars wh/ broke down into Casio synth-piano micro-nocturns that tinkled off into the distance, just as drone-loops and rattling percussives prepared for another twin-drum gtr take-off. At one point: something that sounded like Faust playing Free Jazz wandered past. Warped samples crackled and hooted; Shaun screams and the band freefall downwards into a grinding psych-rawk riff behind him.

(Drummer abandons drums and reports for electronics duty.)

Props to the guys from Qu-Junctions for putting this on...a triffik bill, which had the audience willing/cheering on each of the acts. Fabulous stuff, and a great note to end on...

For, sad to relate, this was the last ever gig at Seymore's Family Club, which is due to close its doors at the end of March while this part of Bristol (Barton Hill aka "The Dings") undergoes "renewal" (ie gentrification).

("Sorry, we're not immortal": man, that's fucking beautiful. While Tight Meat Duo were skronkily high-volume sound-checking, Richard yelled from the kitchen out into the bar: "Bloody 'ell! It's the end of the flippin' world!")

I confess I had a lump in my throat as I wandered out and took one last photo of the old place, just as Hunting Lodge's guitarist jumped on his bike and pedalled past (hopefully, not to Southampton!)...

Farewell, then:

(Post-script: on a lighter note, loitering in Rooted Records the next day and having a chat w/ Tom, when the Raccoo-oo-oon boys walk in just as I say the magic words: "This guy was telling me about Baltimore Club last night..." Hopefully, Tom sorted Daren out for some choice toons.)