Singing along to Why? is like reading along to a short story. Nobody told that to pockets of devout fans in Andrew’s Lane last night though. While it’s a little awkward to see people pumping fists and shouting “I’LL SUCK THE MARROW OUT AND RAPE YOUR HOLLOW BONES YONI!” in any situation, never mind at a gig, the rock show contingent made things a little exciting if nothign else. It took Yoni about six songs to break out of his ultra-serious face, but once he acknowledged the several hundred people working themselves into a frenzy in front of him, the whole thing took on a sort of a personal colour.
Apart from the energy of the room, the gig itself was surprisingly excellent. I was expecting something much more lo-fi and… white-boy hip hop. It wasn’t like that at all, for better or for worse. They stuck mostly to Alopecia and played all the prominent songs from it. A Sky For Shoeing Horses Under was particularly impressive for Josiah’s ability to play breakneck vibraphone and drums at the same time. The Vowels allowed a bit of bobbing and was probably a highlight, though I have to say that they’re such a tight live band that the best songs on the night were just the best songs from the albums.
Which would mean Gemini obviously, being the aural proof that MOR can be good if it has great lyrics. Catching unconnected sentences of those great lyrics was the best part about seeing Why?. Even though the hair-cutted masses did their best to half-rap along, Why? is in essence the stream of consciousness of one guy from Cincinnati. It’s immune to outside circumstances, because it’s so self-absorbed. It’s like a diary. That’s why he’s so good.
They promised to come back soon, like everyone does. I’ll practice my words and my fist-pumping in the interim. I’ll definitely be there though, because this was deadly.
Last night I saw someone I’ve been listening to since the year I did my Junior Cert for the first time. The Streets blew up too early for me I think. There was never a chance of me shelling out for tickets to a big outdoor gig, really, so I was so resigned to never seeing Mike Skinner in the flesh that it just never really entered my mind.
Then Budweiser stepped in. Say what you will about corporate sponsorships, any nice-ish beer that’s willing to subsidise a gig in a tent on a fake island in a dock in April is well worthy of my thanks. I also enjoyed the six tubes of orange jelly beans Nokia gave me, so help me God.
I was surprised by how much fun it was, actually. Mike Skinner, complete with diamond-encrusted in-ear monitor, was exactly as charming as he seems, even when he was calling the crowd a pack of wankers. I pogoed at a gig for the first time since Radiohead in Marlay Park, and I wasn’t madly put off by having two or three strangers on my lap at various points when Mike decided everyone had to hunker down.
Like LCD Soundsystem, The Streets manage to transpose non-rock music to a rock-show environment pretty well. The set was weighted towards older songs, from Original Pirate Material or A Grand Don’t Come For Free. The opener, Turn The Page, as well as Let’s Push Things Forward and Could Well Be In got me on a nostalgic Junior Cert-studying kick, and obviously Fit But You Know It was deadly. Everything was good actually, even Let It Be-sampling Never Went To Church which is a terrible song under normal circumstances. I had a lot of fun, fuck credibility.
Credit to my lovely girlfriend Katharine for the photograph.
On Thursday, I went to see Holy Fuck in Whelans. I’ve been an unlikely fan of theirs ever since Analogue dropped their LP into my bag for review purposes in October some time. Thing is, I’m a little non-plussed with the current trend for beeps, bleeps and beats. So I reckon if I wasn’t made to listen to it, I never would have. It was lucky I did. It landed in the top 20 of my overblown three-month attempt at an end of year list for 2007, and I reckon in retrospect it could have been higher. There’s something really frantic and tense about them that I really like. So I went along, as I said.
I don’t know whether it was the impending economic recession weighing on people’s minds, or the fact that forty-year-olds somehow infiltrated the front row, but the buzz was not as great as could have been hoped. Nonetheless, they came out with two wooden boards decked with toy keyboards, effects pedals, melodicas, mini-microphones, curious red buttons which may have been kill switches and an even more curious device along the lines of an enigma-machine which seemed to be a tape loop instrument of some description. They ran through most if not all of their LP, and some interesting new songs too.
Lovely Allen was the best song on the night, probably because it is their best song full stop. Everything else was good enough too. There was something a touch lacking though. If you go to see Holy Fuck, you want it loud and dirty. Not Holy F*ck, as the posters compromisingly rendered it, but the full-blown, psychotic, scuzzy, thumpy, breakneck, dirt-encrusted semi-electronica band. There was a sense that some of their noise-play was just washing over the audience rather than properly getting in under their nails. I can’t think of a good metaphor, but there was something they forgot to bring.
No complaints here, for €13.50, but the energy their music carries never quite transferred to the room, to the chagrin of myself, my friend Kearnsey, Nialler9 and Aoife Mc and Ian. Could have been worse, but also could have been better.
Credit to Cáit for the photo, she has more too.