Gigging for old people.
So I actually went out of the studio for a bit the other night.
It’s been so full-on for so long I forgot that people do this kind of thing. In particular, to go watch music being made live, in front of your eyes. No tricks. Just odd-shaped gizmos called ‘instruments’ to help the people on stage all make this music at the same time.
Thursday was John Peel day and it coincided with a monthly new music event at our pretty-much-only live music venue in Bournemouth and Poole – Mr Kyps. Three bands entertained: Sancho, The Hats and Acoustic Ladyland. And the joyous thing was that all three were comfortably creative. Or even uncomfortably by the end of AL’s set.
Sancho were pleased to wheel in as many people, influences and musical machines as they could think of, creating a playful, carefully erratic performance full of theatrical vocals, medicated posturing by the front chap and gleefully confident tune-making. Fun. Silly-cool.
The Hat seemed every inch a Brighton band; spoken word coolness over creative music scapes, all done very simply with guitar, double bass and one or two xylophones. The sort of thing you appreciated someone creating live, but that you knew you really needed to here in headphones afterwards to get what the hell they were actually on about. Nice stuff.
Acoustic Ladyland, on the other hand, were very immediate. Demonstrating a very singular musical vision, they hit you straight in the face with their energetic stomp which quickly began to convince you they were extremely qualified to show off. A kind of Ska-jazz soundtrack to a Tarantino movie, by the end I felt medically mezmerised, and somehow bitch-slapped intellectually – like they knew most of us were convincing ourselves we enjoyed it to feel clever. Still, I may have been craving an actual melody in a deeply musically-immature way by the end, but enjoy it I did – the frenetic and masterful sax lead and the syncopated but effectively simply keyboard work created a genuinely mature music pallet that gave real qualification to an in-your-unprepared-face energetic show. Genuinely impressed and humbled.
But, at the end of the evening, though there had been a laudable selection of ages mixing amiably around the obvious love of music in the air, I couldn’t help feeling that we really need a music venue with sofas and coffee. We may all be getting old, but standing around nodding for three hours isn’t what it used to be.