Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Led Bib surprise

Monday 16th September 2019
Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury

I only found out about this a couple of days before.

Brilliant gig, perhaps the most enjoyable LB performance I've seen. Eliot Galvin on keys now. And it was only when drummer Marc Holub introduced the band at the end that I realised it had been Sharron Fortnam on vocals (from North Sea Radio Orchestra), so that was another surprise. I'd been wondering if it was the singer from Pram, Rosie Cuckston I hadn't been expecting to enjoy Led Bib with sung vocals, but they fit incredibly well. Local VJ Oli Chilton was on live film manipulation, the usual Free Range Crowd and a couple of the Magill brothers in attendance.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Canterbury Sans Frontières: episode 75

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 75

Soft Machine in the studio '71, Caravan live in 2017, Didier Malherbe accompanying Nico in 1978, Kevin Ayers live with Robert Wyatt in '74, Lindsay Cooper et al.'s Feminist Improvising Group live in '79, the other Lindsay Cooper on record with Keith Tippett and friends in '75 and a wonderfully remastered live recording of Gong live in '74. From the Canterbury of today, an acoustic live set from a trio version of Arlet, new electronica from Raven Bush and Josh Magill, and something from The Miserichords (three former members of The Happy Accidents, as featured last episode). Also, some mid-70's German jazz-fusion, late 60's Brazilian Tropicália and a Palestrina choral piece recorded live in Canterbury Cathedral.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Free Range returns

Thursday 12th September 2019
Garage Coffee, Canterbury

The season actually started the previous Thursday with a photographic exhibition based on the previous season (wonderful black and white and photos by FR archivist Kamila Lobuzinska, including a couple of excellent Tim Hodgkinson portraits from the Lindsay Cooper Songbook event I curated). I had to miss that due to post-Smugglers 'flu, but saw the pictures a week later.

Orphy Robinson (who I mainly know from his work with Robert Wyatt) was on xylophone and electronics, Pat Thomas on electronics + a little keyboard, some grand piano and a bit of chair-scraping. Quite abrasive at times, with some curious samples of jungle/dubstep thrown in (like distant echoes of Jamaica filtered through the chaos of modern London). One long piece and one short piece. Keyboard/dance support from organiser with movement artist Kristin Fredrickson.

Smugglers Festival 2019

Thursday 29th August—Sunday 1st September 2019
Little Mongeham, near Deal, Kent

I headed over on the Wednesday afternoon to help with a few last-minute bits of the setup. The night before I'd been hosting Leonie Evans and Gina Leslie (a friend from Colorado who she knows from New Orleans) at a secret woodland gig near Canterbury — two sets of jazz-blues-country-gospel and some originals, just gorgeous.

This was the ninth Smugglers Festival and arguably the best yet. I had a continuously good time from the moment I arrived until I left, and the music was an almost overwhelming feast for the ears and brain.

Thursday: Life of Birds (Natasha from Cocos, backed by sister Poggy, brother-in-law James, niece Mimi O'Halloran and others); Martha Tilston (Matt Tweed in the band, I got to introduce them); Lunatraktors (perhaps their best set yet, including a warped version of "Feeding the Birds" from Mary Poppins); Cocos Lovers (ripping it up on the end stage, featuring Lord Richard Armstrong on theremin!); Starfish Men (Charlie Hannah and friend Xav's hilarious, surreal, duo, featuring beautifully crafted but utterly ridiculous songs)

Friday: Joshua (aka Josh Magill — I was only half-able to watch, from a distance, attending to a friend in need); Lazy Pilgrims (young Margate heads bringing MBV-type vibes and sounding great on an open stage on a sunny afternoon); a storyteller performing "The Ballad of Tam Lin" in the Nomadsland forest; Flying Ibex; Dubi Dolczek reading from his extraordinary novel-in-progress The Omnizoid, suffixed with an extraordinary surprise doo-wop rendition of "Bad Boy" by the Jive Bombers (featuring members of the Fantasy Orchestra); The Scorpios (WOW!! That was my musical highlight...had no idea who this London-Sudanese collective was... a visually extraordinary band, looked like a randomly selected bunch of humans from around Planet Earth had been put in a band together, but musically pure "swooning cyclical ecstasy"... I ended up a the front having a religious experience...special props to the keyboard player who was getting quite Rateledge-y at timee); Lunch Money Life (stage manager Bruno gently plucked me out of the front of the Scorpios' crowd to remind me I was compering...this was formerly just Lunch Money, Stewy's band from SOAS days, evolved into something truly MONSTROUS...free jazz horns, skewed rhythms, banging beats, edgy urban vibes); Kikagaku Moyo (Japanese psych warriors looking and sounding fantastic on the mainstage, felt really generous and inclusive, what they were offering musically); Big Ben Jorge (basically Flying Ibex souped up into a global covers band, great dance tunes throughout)

Saturday: Once and Future Band (West Coast psych prog bands...they're big Canterbury scene fans and were totally in their element on the main stage); We Are Not Shellfish (avant garde droney-ness in Nomadsland); Chewy She (Garance's synthpop project!); London Bulgarian Choir (I was preparing for a DJ set in the bar and missed some of this, sadly); evening DJ set in the bar (wow, that really kicked off... Brazilian vibes, hiphop, dancehall, funk, soul and disco, got the place jumping nicely); Deerhoof!! (John Dietrich came over to say a quick hello while I was about to start DJing, and they were about to soundcheck)... I got to introduce them, and then ended up back on stage for the encore, explaining the so-called "Watkins Objection" to Greg Saunier and a swarm of crazed party people while the rest of the band jammed in the background:

Volume 13 closed out the live music on Saturday down at the end stage. This is apparently going to be the last outing for the occasional Smugglers scene Afro/Ethio covers collective. Guest vocalists this time included Garance, singing a French Creole African song, and The Selkies (whose set earlier I'd met due to maths commitments) bravely tackling an Ethiopian Amharic song. Jamie Dams doing great work on keys and vocals, nice to see Thom Harmsworth up there on trombone, and a brief appearance from Aidan Shepherd playing a typically brilliant keyboard solo.

Sunday: Dubi Dolczek and band (introduced by me, as Professor Appleblossom, flanked by secret agents); Fantasy Orchestra (such a great selection of material: "I Want To Ride My Bicycle", "Les Fleurs", "Ghost Town", "Move On Up", "Venus In Furs", etc. incredibly well arranged for a ramshackle assemblage of singers and players of instruments in eclectic costume); Yama Warashi (Conrad absolutely on fire, the solo on "No Face" perhaps the maddest guitar solo ever); Molly's Lips (beautiful songs, hilarious banter, as usual... the set included a Spitfire suddenly appearing overhead and doing a stunt barrel roll...the audience spontaneously applauded, Phil dryly replying "you're welcome"... devastating cover of the trad(?) song "Morphine" too); Baque Luar (super-powerful women's percussion/voice ensemble); Hellfire Orchestra (playing to a more sober crowd than they're used to but as firey as ever); the Apocalpyse Parade (led by one of Tom Holden's puppet creations, I grabbed something to bang on and joined in); Alabaster de Plume (Conrad in the band, more guitar fire... I was supposed to be playing a DJ set in the bar, so ended up hanging back from the crowd waiting for that to start...everything was running 40 minutes late, so I ended up missing out on fully engaging with AdP's set, but it seemed pretty immmense from back where I was standing)

I also ended up doing my Professor Appleblossom freestyle maths thing in Nomadsland each mid-day, as has become traditional, and DJing on my little 12V soundsystem next to Rosy and Jules' Chai-angles "chaicosahedron" cafe (part of the emergent "chai-celial network") each night for the chilled out peoples. Thanks to Rosy for that opportunity — I was totally in my element! Chamber folk, deep house, spiritual jazz and glitchy electronica on Friday (with amazing hula-hoping from Emilia); roots reggae and dub on Saturday; an eclectic mix on Sunday before handing over to Lewis, aka LeWizard, who played a guest set while I went to check out what was happening down at the secret bar behind the end stage. Sadly I didn't think to record any of my mixes.

Here are some photos from Nomadsland in all its twinkly, late-night glory:

back from Ireland

16–22 August 2019

A train ride from Killarney to Dublin, then a ferry (the Ulysses no less) to Holyhead and an overnight coach to London, just in time for Breaking Convention 2019, the interdisciplinary psychedelics conference. Lots of interesting stuff going on there, as expected! Musically, we were entertained by the great Paddy Steer on Friday night, and the ridiculous Henge on Saturday night. Unfortunately I had to leave Sunday, so missed the Irish psych band Tau who Mike C had told me to look out for. However, on Saturday eve, after the lectures ended but before Henge played, I was sitting out on the lawn with Luke D and he asked to have a go on my saz. I got it out, and after he'd had his fill, he handed it back and I started semi-consciously noodling. This turned into me playing "Cuncti Simus Concarentes" a medieval Catalan Marianist song I'd picked up as part of my current obsession with the Cantigas da Santa Maria. I noticed a long-haired, bespectacled young man sitting close, listening intently. And then he surprised me by starting to sing the words. It turned out he knew nothing of the song's context, but had learned it from a Kalenda Maya album:
 

This turned out to be Rory from Tau, who'd met Mike at the Hill of Uisneach on the summer solstice (synchronised with the start of my current Marianist musical enthusiasm). He got a pennywhistle out of his bag, and after a key change we were able to play the tune together, followed by a variant of "King of the Fairies" and then just a simple jam. A few curious concert-goers (including my old friend Andy Letcher) gathered to listen. So that was a lovely, synchronistic end to my BC weekend. I caught a little bit of Henge (utterly bonkers, as expected) and then had to run for the last coach to Canterbury.

The next evening I was hosting Jennifer Bennett and Oli Parfitt (both former members of Circulus) playing an extraordinary concert in a secret woodland location: Oli on mini-Moog and Jenny on viola da gamba, flute and violin, playing a mix of early music and original songs. One seamless set — gorgeous! Support was provided by her friend Ian Perry, a singer-songwriter she brought along from Glastonbury. He joined them at the end for a stunning cover of Leonard Cohen's "1000 Kisses"

A few days later I dropped by Bramley's to catch Luke playing the weekly open mic. He included a very clever new song called "Nobody Knows I'm Banned From Here", which manages to rhyme "wild garlic pesto" and "Unabomber Manifesto". On my way home, I passed the Old Beverlie, a pub not known for live music, and heard some lively boogie/blues wafting out the open door (it was a warm evening). Through the window I spotted Luke Smith at the piano, so went in to listen. His dad Dave was on the drums, Peter Cook was on sax and harmonica legend Brendan Power was there too. They were really cooking, and I was looking forward to a bit more of the same, but they were about ready to pack up. Suddenly Luke announced that he was going to play Matching Mole's "O Caroline" just for me. And he did, beautifully, with Dave the Drummer lightly percussing along. Another perfect Canterbury moment.

more Ireland

August 2019
Cork and Kerry

Alan showed up after a week at Maugha, bringing the vibes, and taking some photos (this one's of Christy's "moon gate" on the way down to the well):

We jammed in the barn the first night with JohnJohn on acoustic bass, Andy Ra on 12-string, me on saz, Alan and Christy on hand percussion. Absolutely exquisite, and (typically) unrecorded. After one particularly lovely improvisation, JohnJohn quipped in his West Limerick accent "You couldn't make it up!". He had to head back to his smallholding, but we jammed again the next night down at Andy's with his friend Alan O'Rourke and brother Robin. Not quite as good, but still very memorable (and unrecorded). The next morning Kris came down from Sneem to get me, Alan and Robin. We spent the next few days up there. Lots of music. Here's me comparing Robin's recently acquired T-shirt (from the festival Reggae Geel) to the back of Pink Floyd's Ummagumma which Kris had randomly put on the stereo that morning:

Andy Ra came up from W. Cork with his son Barney on motorbikes. Here's us getting a jam started outside Kris and Birgit's house:

...later than night, joined by Sean B on a kind of bass ukelele:

Christy turned up with his brother Seamus and their dad Mike (who had just received his new flute, made from an obscure type of African hardwood). Somehow the jam moved indoors and accompanied a Liverpool FC match with the sound turned down...Alan and Robin are massive LFC fans and couldn't miss it, but it didn't stop the music (the Reds won on penalties!)

   

...and then back outside around the fire with Birgit and the (now adult) kids:

Here are a couple of recordings and a montage of clips, pretty rough, but nice memories:

Listen Here

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Canterbury Sans Frontières: episode 74

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 74

This episode features an extended interview with (and archival selections from) Will Glanfield of the Happy Accidents, a legendary Canterbury-area ensemble that existed 1985-2012 (and which included former Wilde Flowers Brian Hopper and Graham Flight). Also, Gong live in China, NSRO and an unknown Israeli covering Robert Wyatt, Haiku Salut remixing Group Listening covering Robert Wyatt, Tim Blake and Steve Hillage reunited via Hawkwind in 2018, a Caravan classic from 1970, brand new Chilean spacerock and San Franciscan psychedelia. From the Canterbury of now, a new electro-acoustic piece from Raven Bush.

Friday, August 09, 2019

"yesterday's pies tomorrow"

That was a phrase Mike used in the middle of a late night psychedelic ramble the night I got to Ireland. I can't even remember the context.

So here I am having a typically surreal, chilled-out time up in the mountains of West Cork with my old friend Mike Collard. It's been raining for days and we've just been listening to music and talking for hours on end, various comers and goers coming and going, as they do, endless cups of tea, a near Rizla crisis, an amazing thunder-and-lightning storm last night. Andy Ra and a percussionist friend came over for a brilliant jam the other night, but that didn't get recorded. I invented an entirely type of music by the turf fire the night before, after immersing myself in the Cantigas da Santa Maria for hours. It sort of bounced out of my saz and seemed to have a life of its own. Only Mike got to witness this, and neither of us can remember what it sounded like. "Where is this music from?" I remember him asking, looking up, perplexed. "It's from here." I managed to say, while watching my fingers dancing on the fretboard to a pattern I couldn't discern.

So now I feel like sharing some of my favourite (non-traditional) Irish music.

Yesterday, we were listening to Hendrix's "1983" and got on to the topic of Rory Gallagher as rock shaman, reborn Irish bard/musical warrior archetype. I looked for my favourite recording of him on YouTube, ended up finding this, with some wonderful footage of the man himself and Cork City in '74, as Mike remembers it when he moved out here. Such a beautiful musical soul. Born in Dongegal, but made Cork his home. There was (probably still is) a shrine to him in a pub in nearby Middleton.


 

I've loved this for years — Dublin-based Incredible String Band fans doing their own quirky Irish take on that approach to songwriting. Belgian Kris (who I'll be seeing up in Kerry in a few days) played in a band with one of this crew a few years ago, as he was living nearby:


 

An acid-folk classic from '72, written by a couple of very young women. I vaguely remember Michael Tyack of Circulus bringing them out of retirement some years ago:


 

Mike got quite emotional the other night, reminiscing, while I was selecting tunes. I'd been playing soul classics, which suddenly seemed totally inappropriate, so I took it in a "Celtic soul" direction. This seemed to fit the mood perfectly at the time, from my second favourite Van Morrison album (you can guess the first):


 

Finally, somewhat confessionally, the first rock band that grabbed my attention when I was 12 or 13. Although I have no time for Bono's bombast or messianic tendencies, what Edge was doing with the electric guitar at this time was pretty extraordinary in its inventiveness. And you can't dispute the energy or tightness of the band at this time:

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Canterbury Sans Frontières episode 73

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 73

Steve Hillage in '79, North Sea Radio Orchestra covering Robert Wyatt, John Greaves impersonating both Ivor Cutler AND William Burroughs (on separate occasions), Henry Cow with Wyatt in Rome '75, a future member of Whitesnake(!) playing bass with National Health live in '77, Robert Fripp with Theo Travis fairly recently, Kevin Ayers getting rather dark in his heyday, an interesting early 90s mutation of Gong playing a classic, some Ethiopique, some Tropicalia, and Mike Ratledge at the piano playing a jazz standard circa 1963. From the Canterbury of today, another composition by Aidan Shepherd as recorded by London fusioneers Ruby Rushton and a long free jam from Lapis Lazuli recorded live last winter.

farewell Ben and family!

Sunday 21st July 2019
secret woodland location near Canterbury

This afternoon gig was put together to commemorate Ben Insall and family moving up to Melrose in Scotland (he's going to be doing a Masters degree in music therapy up there). Ben's been part of Arlet and the local folk scene for the last decade or so, so there was a big turn out. Lots of families, kids, old friend, really lovely vibes throughtout. We got a solo set from Ben (daughter Hazel joined him for one song, partner Rosie for another), followed by an Arlet trio set (Ben, Aidan and Rosie) which was just exquisite. A butterfly (Polygonia c-album) spent most of the latter half of that set orbiting Ben, landing at various points on his head and guitar, eventually settling on the tip of a goose feather he'd spontaneously stuck in the headstock of his guitar, and staying there throughout most of their last piece (the three of them had their eyes closed, deep in the music, and were entirely unaware). Andy Renshaw (bhodran) and Chris Sadler (concertina) joined them for a few at the end, and then a full on folk session unfolded, with Aidan's partner Domi also on fiddle. A great selection of tunes, played with a grace and refinement uncharacteristic of most folk sessions. Pure musical bliss. Thanks to everyone involved, and all best wishes to Ben and family in their new chapter north of the border!

I was operating on three hours sleep during this event, as I'd been DJing at a wedding in Brighton (Vicky's daughter Claudia) the night before, til 2am. Great fun. Claudia also asked me to play at the actual ceremony in Brighton Town Hall, a mix of English folk tunes and some of my own. It went well.

Damn Teeth at Crash of Moons Club

Friday 19th July 2019
UCA Bar Canterbury

Here are DJ Professor Appleblossom's sets from that night:

0:00 shoegaze set leading into Lazy Pilgrims
1:06:21 polished dreampop set leading into Tokyo Tearoom
1:39:39 edgy, noisy weirdness leading into Damn Teeth
2:01:54 a funk set to close out the night

Sam Brothers + Frances Knight and Ginger Bennett

Sunday 14th July 2019
secret woodland location near Canterbury

I put this one together for Dave's 63rd birthday, a semi-surprise. He knew a gig was happening, but not what it was. Sam played a powerful bluesy/soulful set, followed by Frances and Ginger doing a soul-jazz thing ("Georgia On My Mind", "What's Going On?", "Move On Up", etc.). Their cover of Nick Drake's "River Man" was really special (Frances' playing/arrangement of the end sounded to my ears like what Robert Wyatt would do with that song). A funk-and-soul dance party followed, with me DJing on my new 12v rig (thanks James!). I played a six hour set, and when the dancing had stopped, everyone was sitting resting, I concluded with the Grateful Dead ("Mountains of the Moon", "Dark Star", "Death Don't Have No Mercy") for Saul, a very switched on 12-yr-old British Deadhead who turned up with his mum for the gig in a tie-dye shirt. No complaints from Dave, despite him usually needling me about anything Dead-related. This went on last, a late 16th c. Catalan lullaby, to send everyone off to bed. Sounded celestial!

Pinnochios at the Penny

Friday 12th July 2019
Penny Theatre, Canterbury

I arrived as Parkside were leaving, unfortunately. It hadn't occurred to me that such an amazing crew would be playing first in the lineup, but it sort of made sense in the end. I then missed all but the latter half of Aunt Margaux's last song, being outside to chatting to Martin Emmons about his latest musical activities (touring with doom band Famyne, learning the Lapis repertoire, and performing an experimental composition written by Witchdoctor's bass player Joe Inkpen for his PhD). Samuel Ashton played next — powerful voice, great band (incl. James Taylor on keys and Jules Madjar on sax), great energy, but the American accent and style of songwriting isn't really to my taste. The Pinnochios were great, Callum on fire doing his Van Morrison-style mystic-soul vocal thing. Great young lead guitarist, and a rousing cover of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" with Samuel A duetting on vocals.

Cocos Lovers at Sandwich Folk'n'Ale Fest

Sunday 7th July 2019
Fleur-de-Lys, Sandwich

Foolishly I didn't check the listings, so had no idea Kangaroo Moon were playing earlier that afternoon. Oh well. They were followed by Ed Tudor Pole (briefly John Lydon's replacement in the Sex Pistols) who I missed while chatting in the Smugglers Cafe next door. He was seen enthusiastically responding to Cocos later on, which was cool. It's always good to see the six of them on stage together, something quite rare these days. It was a rowdy, beery crowd, and they rose to the occasion, but I do prefer their more sensitive sets played to attentive audiences. Everyone was singing along with the "Emily" encore, turning a delicate jewel of a song into a football chant, basically. But everyone was having a good time. The opener "Horizons" took me back to seeing them play that for the first time in Tenterden about ten years ago. And "Witches" off the new album sounds fantastic. The new album should be out soon — I do hope they keep going...

Richard Blyth and an interesting meeting

Wednesday 3rd July 2019
Garage Coffee, Canterbury

This was one night of the weeklong Trashfest celebrating DIY culture around the city. Danny from Easter Island Records is keen to open a new venue locally, so a meeting was called before the gig to discuss this (Megan from the Crash of Moons team facilitated). A lot of local promoters and musicians showed up, and some fruitful discussions were had, so watch this space. An excellent electronic drone set from Richard J. Blyth followed. I stuck around for a bit of DJ Embarrassing Dad's set (it was indeed the organiser's dad, playing an eclectic mix of calypso and more!) but had to head off after that, so missed a set from the Faversham Motorway Intersection Enthusiasts Club (who?)

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Adam Beattie and Samantha Whates

Wednesday 26th June 2019
secret woodland location near Canterbury

Support set from Harry Hayes and Fergus Baynes, playing their new stuff (and a cover of Fred Neil's "The Dolphins"). Interesting song structures, and Harry honing his falsetto String-Band-style vocals. Switching guitars each song and alternating rhythm/lead. The wind in the trees was pretty noisy and almost overpowered them at times, but it just meant everyone listened more intently.

The main act was meant to be Adam's recent four-piece project Pica Pica (who have an album out on Rough Trade), but they couldn't all make it, so we got overlapping solo sets from him and Samantha Whates (they sang backing vocals on a couple of each others' songs, and encored with a Pica Pica song). Gorgeous. "The Man Who Loves Too Much" (with audience singalong) was a real highlight. The next day Samantha told me that she'd once toured with Ed Sheeran when he was unknown, and he later included her song "Granny's House" in his set for some time...but she was too proud?amused?bewildered?intimidated? to ever follow this up and see if she could get the royalties she should be owed. Kudos for not bothering to mention that during her set!

another summer solstice

18–24th June 2019
Cornwall and Wiltshire

A couple of days down in Cornwall with Mel and Arthur, including a visit to my old traveling/music friend Lisa at her place near Constantine. My saz didn't get played until I got to Wiltshire on solstice eve, visiting the yew tree at Alton Barnes and the laughing spring nearby. I stomped up the Ridgeway to the Sanctuary on Overton Hill, down the Avenue into the stones, saw Livi and some of her circus crew, then headed out to my favoured spot for a very cosmic evening with a lovely crew. Saz and concertina jams with Jim, wonky saz/bouzouki tunes with Nathan Vibration, sprawling jams and singalongs with Emilia's friends Nick, Cam, Jay and JJ, et al. all through the night, with hilarious, surreal monologues from Lumpy Steve interspersed. And a beautiful sunrise, for once against an entirely clear blue sky. Ecstatic vibes, crazed jams on a round barrow, skylarks singing their hearts out above a meadow full of wildflowers. And that thing that happened with the moon... WHAT WAS THAT??

You Are Here 50th anniversary Gulbenkian event

17th June 2019
Gulbenkian Theatre Cafe, Canterbury

This went better than expected. It was based on the You Are Here-related multimedia piece that Sean Williams, Will Glanfield and Oli Chilton did months ago at Free Range and Waterstones, but this time with a tie-in to the Gulbenkian's 50th anniversary celebrations. So the usual historical Big Bang → 12:00:00.000GMT 15/07/14 sequence was split by an interlude/bardo where the history of Canterbury, the University and the Gulbenkian around 1969 was explored. The musicians were joined by Sam Bailey on piano and synth, and pulled off versions of Hopper's "Memories", Soft Machine's "Out-Bloody-Rageous" and Wyatt's "Sea Song", while Oli projected images of Canterbury in the late 50s and 60s. A Q&A followed and then a multimedia DJ set where I played Canterbury sounds, Oli projected images of the the artists, and I typed relevant factoids furiously into projected textboxes. It all went down rather well, to a full house, and there was a nice little gathering in the UKC Labyrinth afterwards to watch the full moon arcing over the Cathedral with Juliet, Cameron, Will, et al.

Native Oysters in Whistable

Friday 14th June 2019
St. Mary's Hall, Whitstable

Rick told me about this — he's part of the new crew attempting to reboot the (old, tired) Whitstable Carnival this summer. The bands heavily overlapped — happy to see Annie Whitehead playing trombone with both, Jen Maidman on killer bass with the All-Stars. Native Oysters had a sousaphone instead, so more of a New Orleans vibe (they did "Iko Iko", but also some surprises like The Kinks "Summer Afternoon" and Wall of Voodoo's "Mexican Radio". Ivan's All-Stars had everyone up and dancing to Stevie's "Master Blaster", "Can't Stand The Rain", "Le Freak", "Rocksteady", "Message to You Rudy". Nice to see Christine Hopper and other old faces having a good dance in Whitstable on a Friday evening.

7x7th birthday

8th June 2019
Steve Hillage Band at Shepherds Bush Empire
Shared this with Tall Pete and Dom Om. My birthday present to myself turned out to be one of the truly greatest things I've experienced in my 7x7 years. Total psychedelic mastery, the pinnacle of the artform. Steve and Miquette on top form, backed by the most enthusiastic and perfectly suited bands imaginable (the current Gong lineup). Cosmic lightshow, amazing setlist, the audience totally there with the band. It was like Hillage was channeling pure cosmic love through his guitar, and cheerfully showering this succession of jewel-like gifts on us all. Heavy-duty wizardry! Thankyou Steve, Miquette et al.!!

"Talking to the Sun"; "It's All Too Much"; "Aftaglid" (Part 7: "The Golden Vibe"); "The Salmon Song"; "Sea Nature"; "Ether Ships"; "Lunar Musick Suite"; "Palm Trees (Love Guitar)"; "The Fire Inside"; "Motivation"; "Solar Musick Suite (Part 2: "Canterbury Sunrise" > Part 3: "Hiram Afterglid Meets the Dervish"); "Hurdy Gurdy Man" E: "Light in the Sky"; "The Glorious Om Riff" E2: "Not Fade Away" (interpolating "I Never Glid Before")

9th June 2019
The Selkies and Charlie Hannah live in the woods
Yes, a secret location! The Selkies were backed by Charlie (Nord Electro) and Luke from Lapis (bass played through converted jerrycan busking amp), also joined by Flo's sister Ottilie for a surprising cover of a Pearl Jam song. Singing bowls were handed out to audience members for "Woodlouse" which was beautifully transformed by Luke's bass. Charlie wasn't able to bring his entire band (The Hausplants), so his set was backed by Luke and the Selkies (vocals/percussion/etc.) which worked wonderfully. They encored with a Dr.-John-inspired number called "Signor Olivio's" off his 2016 album Who's In Charge Here?

10th June 2019
Leonie's birthday! She was visiting, had caught the Charlie Hannah set the night before, just back from a gig in Picardy. Lazy communal breakfast and dogwalk before the rains came in. Chocolate and wine was secured for the birthday girl, and silly conversation and drawing/writing games with Adam from Lapis kept us amused through the evenign.

11th June 2019
My birthday! Banging woodland disco party in the evening with my DJing 5-6 hours via a lovely little 12v portable DJ station thing built by "Magic" James. The usual mix of funk/soul/Afro/Ethio/reggae/dub/ska/house/disco, with a bit of Steely Dan and "Soul Kitchen" thrown in for good measure. Turned the volume down and went into Hillage/Gaudy's Rainbow Dome Music (the intro music at their gig in London on Saturday) for chillout purposes around 2am.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 72

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 72

Steve Hillage in '77, Hugh Hopper with Isotope in '74, two covers of Wyatt's "Sea Song" (one sung by Dagmar Krause, the other an 80s surprise) and one of his "Alifib", an obscure American electronic cover of an obscure late Soft Machine number, the Softs themselves live on French TV in '69, Alan Gowen with Richard Sinclair and Phil Miller, another Henry Cow piece performed live by Lindsay Cooper Songbook here in Canterbury in March and something from the new Gong LP The Universe Also Collapses. Also, spiritual jazz from Houston, an early instance of post-rock from East London and far-out sounds from Brazil, Senegal, Ireland, Finland, Canada, France, Australia and Japan. From the Canterbury of recent times, something new from Joshua Magill, an obscure Syd Arthur gem and Arlet's Aidan Shepherd playing one of his compositions with acclaimed London fusion crew Ruby Rushton.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Liotia, Oh Mama and Jouis at Crash of Moons Club

Wednesday 5th June 2019
UCA bar, Canterbury

Another great COMC night, following rapidly on from the one on Friday. Triphop/downtempo vibes from Liotia (Abigail and Matt), some aetherial female vocals/flute/crunchy Zep-style riffage from Oh Mama (much better than the name suggests... they remind me of Heron Oblivion and a slightly less wild/druggy Bardo Pond) and then a triumphant set from Jouis (most of the new album Mind Bahn, a couple off Dojo and the theme from Twin Peaks). Here are my genre-appropriate DJ sets (I came out of Jouis's set with the house remix of their new song "Sinking Statues", which went down well, so went into a house-and-dub set, including the Shamen's electronic version of The 13th Floor Elevators "Slip Inside This House", the original single version of which I played in the mini-set before Jouis. Roky Erikson RIP!)

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Crash of Moons with Archdruid and Stanlæy

Friday 31st May 2019
UCA Bar, Canterbury

A respectable-sized audience, very enthusiastic. VERY enthusiastic. Nice to see that. Archdruid played one long bass-and-drums improv set. Heavy! It was pretty primal, but kept moving enough to stay interesting. Something went wrong with the kit, and there was a nice moment when Oli, the drummer from Stanlæy, signalled to Archdruid's drummer Callum to switch to his, adjacent, kit, and then shifted the mics efficiently so he could carry on the jam without having to reconstruct his own kit. Global Village Green had pulled out, and the two bands left felt just too different to put back-to-back (but members of Stanlæy were up the front enjoying Archdruid). So I did the DJ Prof. Appleblossom thing and played an extended heavy-to-ætherial bridging set, before Bethany Stenning and her band blew everyone away.

Here are the Prof's DJ sets:

Monday, May 27, 2019

Parkside Swing Band and Toby Wolfe

Sunday 26th May 2019
secret woodland location near Canterbury

Original, quirky, gentle songs by Toby, ending with one about the deceased, much loved local busker and character Max Martin. Parkside is the Allen Brothers + Mimi O'Halloran (vocals), Phil Holmes (tenor sax) and another guitarist. This time it was a four piece (Toby and Geary Allen, Phil and Mimi), and they were stunning. All casually virtuosic, relaxed and happy in the groove, playing the gypsy jazz/swing canon + stuff like "Take the A-Train", "Puttin' on the Ritz", etc. Mimi's such a confident singer, and this band works so well for her. Another great night in the woods, thanks to all involved.

Ginger Bennett and Frances Knight

Saturday 25th May 2019
Boho Cafe, Canterbury

I'm so happy to see these two working together. The first song was Nick Drake's "River Man" and the penultimate one was Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up" (which I don't think I've ever heard covered before). Much jazzy soulfulness between, and a "Will You Still Live Me Tomorrow?" to end.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

last night in Madison

Monday 20th May 2019
Cafe Coda, Madison, WI

Bathing in the dazzling light of St. John Coltrane, after watching the JB3s "Funky Monday" jam (a weekly thing at Cafe Coda). Amazing players, pumping out jams with the highest energy, regardless of the tiny, seated audience scattered around the bar. On the way to Cafe Coda, Peter took me to meet his friend Jim, a sound engineer of the highest order, prog-head and surround-sound freak. All the classic prog vinyl gatefold sleeves pinned to his wall. He was responsible for an unofficial public release of a surround sound mix of Pink Floyd at Pompeii, after an intact celluloid copy with the magnetic audio tracks turned up in a library in California. I didn't get a chance to hear it, but he did play us some stunning surround mixes of live performances he captured recently, including the Hanan Jon Taylor Artet. HJT is a jazz legend and owner of Cafe Coda, his band sound something like this:
 


 

Great stuff, now back to Canterbury...

Monday, May 20, 2019

dangerous kittens and missing miles: penultimate day in Point

Saturday 18th May 2019
Stevens Point, WI

Jeff LaMarche on simultaneous one-handed electric guitar and one-handed bass guitar — seems kind of impossible, but he pulls it off — plus Buzz on drums. Great covers of Devo's "Girl U Want", Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up" and Radiohead's "Karma Police", among others.

A different lineup to the one pictured above. Kevin from Soul Symmetry was involved, as was a mandolin player called Allen, just back from Hawaii, who I'd played with at the Elbow Room songswap on Tuesday. Lots of energy, some nicely jammed-out tunes, in a rather murky sonic environment. Everything was original, as far as I could tell, apart from "Everybody Wants To Be A Cat" (from The Aristocats) which I'd played with Ben down at the previous Tuesday's songswap:

Canterbury Sans Frontières: episode 71

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 71

Caravan in session on the John Peel show in August '73, Robert Wyatt and friends live in '74, Steve Miller playing some proto-Hatfield material live in '72, a couple of Lindsay Cooper's Henry Cow compositions played live in Canterbury earlier this year, a slab of cosmicness from Steve Hillage's Green album, a Kevin Ayers classic performed by his daughter and a former collaborator, plus another as recorded by the man himself. Also, a gorgeous Max Richter piece, some Can, some Camel and the Grateful Dead getting seriously far out on their 1990 spring tour. From the Canterbury of today, a newish project called Anderida melding their psychedelic jams with the voice of a local poet (with Gilli Smyth resonances).

more songswaps

Tuesday 8th and 15th May 2019
The Elbow Room, Stevens Point, WI

The first one was a bit weak, as I recall, although there was some pretty amazing, totally free and spontaneous blues howling by my friend James' young niece Cecilia. Donovan's "Colours" got played, as did Pink Floyd's "Nobody Home" and something by Deerhunter. I left quite late, when things had degenerated to the point that people were singing along (unironically, I feared) with Journey's "Don't Stop Believing".

The next week was better, I enjoyed playing along with "Friend of the Devil", "Rocky Raccoon", "Southern Man", "Deep Elem Blues" and some John Prine. The session also included me attempting to solo over a rather insipid song by The Eagles that I didn't know at all, sitting out on "Aqualung" while deep in conversation with Kena, and returning from the bathroom to witness a completely spontaneous, almost accidental (but joyful) "Beer Barrel Polka" (if it's good enough for Jerry...)

Cinco de Mayo with Sloppy Joe at Renee's

Sunday 5th May 2019
Renee's Red Rooster, Stevens Point, WI

Great to see Gavin, Stef, et al. The band this time included Oscar from Dig Deep on banjo and Bobby Burns on mandolin, as well as the usual suspects. And nice to be able to cycle over there with Maud. Lots of familiar songs from their repertoire, Gavin's "Moonflower Garden" from the early days, and a cheese-based rewrite of one of their herbally-themed songs. All the freaks, bikers and misfits (+ kids and grandkids) come out for these Sunday afternoon sessions by the river.

punk rock in a bike shop

Saturday 27th April 2019
Point Area Bike Service, Stevens Point, WI

Indonesian Junk were the highlight — proper punk energy, and a great range of facial expressions from the singer/guitarist. Good to see old friends Marty, John and Shannon from the old punkrock days of '87-'88!

Litterfest 2

Saturday 4th March 2019
Union Street, Stevens Point, WI

The solo set from Colin Edwin (who also played with Good Grief) was the highlight. An amazing cover of "God Only Knows" closed the set, but the last of his originals was just devastating...what an incredible songwriter! There was a nice noise set from Buddy W/O Organs earlier in the afternoon too. Anna kicked things off on the front porch at noon (the rest occurred down in the basement), her last performance in town for a while, as she was moving up to Door County the next day.

It's satisfying to see the bluegrass/Americana dominance of the local music scene is giving way to more of a punk/rock/noise/experimental thing. A week or so later I was jamming with Tyler, Mike and Mike (not for the first time) in a tiny room upstairs on Main Street... they're the Elastic Waste Band, a noise/drone project, who sometimes sound like this:

I didn't really feel like I was able to add much this time, but Tyler made a careful recording which may eventually surface, so we shall see...

spontaneity and magick beside the Wisconsin River

23rd April 2019
Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA

There was nothing going on at the Elbow Room when I headed down there a bit earlier than usual for the Tuesday songswap, so I decided to go for a twilight walk by river. Three women walked past, and then one called out my name — it was Jeff Sachs' partner Maria, with two friends, and she remembered me by the shape of my saz. They were on their way to get a guitar from a parked car and to return to their friend Jessie's house by the river for a campfire session, and I was invited to join them. This involved just having to walk slowly half a mile upstream until I saw flickering flames in a backyard.

Great vibes with M, J, Bethany and Laura. Maria played some of her original songs, plus one about a truck by Nathan and Denny (friends of Sloppy Joe who I've played music with), a Townes Van Zandt song popularised by Guy Clark and "Jilted" by the Puppini Sisters. I was able to follow these fairly well. No recording was made, but vague plan was hatched to do more of this.

I headed back over to the Elbow room to play a few more with Anna Jo, John the trumpet and Don on fiddle. I just missed "St. James Infirmary", walking in as it concluded. The only other thing I can remember was a song by the Pistol Annies. Anna is having to leave her old house on Franklin Street, heading to Sturgeon Bay for the Summer. I played solo saz for a bit while nothing else was going on, and had an unexpected conversation with someone from Saudi Arabia who's settled in town, about various music scenes out there. Despite it being pretty much always the same, there's usually something surprising that goes down when I'm at the Elbow.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Immortal Girlfriend at UW-Madison

Thursday 19th April 2019
The Rathskeller, Madison, WI

Having arrived from Chicago's O'Hare airport to Madison, Wisconsin, I found myself seeking warmth in the student union building while waiting for a lift from a friend. And there was a gig on in the bar. I couldn't really get into the music, but the crowd were really into it — crowded up against the stage so I couldn't see anything going on back there except a fairly sophisticated light display. Lots of whooping. There were live vocals and keyboards involved, clearly, but it all sounded heavily sequenced from where I was sitting. Making use of the wifi, I learned that I was witnessing the sound of Immortal Girlfriend, a duo from Milwaukee. Here's more-or-less what it would have looked like from up front:

Luke Smith Lo-Fi Zone with Tim the Poet

Monday 15th April 2019
Bramley's, Canterbury

Two poetry sets from my old friend Tim (including a long poem based on my book You Are Here!) plus two sets of Luke with Tom Holden on bass. I'd not seen Tim for at least two years! About a dozen in the audience, including Sven over from Belgium — nice intimate vibes.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Jouis live in the woods

Sunday 14th April 2019
secret woodland location near Canterbury

Miriam Gould and Dom Conway (of Little Bulb Theatre) played a characteristically delightful support set. And Jouis (the trio version, as they are now) were beyond wonderful. They played their whole new album Mind Bahn and a couple of my favourite cuts from Dojo. Great keyboard sounds from Louis (spiritual jazz journeying vibes c.1972), impeccable drumming from Adam, and Joe baffling me with his ability to simultaneously play bass and guitar on his bass (with the help of octave pedals, as well as immense musical talent). This one almost didn't happen due to a close shave with EuroTunnel (the boys were on their way back from a French tour, and cutting things close)...they arrived in the middle of the support set... but this just added to the sense of excitement.

The Quartet feat. Syd Arthur live in Canterbury!

Friday 12th April 2019
St. Thomas Hall, Canterbury


 

Joel asked if I could come early and help with the door, which I was more than happy to do. I ended up setting up the lights too, as the crew were really pushed for time. And what an epic gig! I was standing on a chair at the back, looking over the top of the 120 capacity audience, all listening with pin-drop attention, and myself literally jaw-dropped for large chunks of the set. They opened with Radiohead's "Weird Fishes" (an instrumental version), the set also including Wyatt's "Sea Song" (Jack on vocals), Soft Machine's "Facelift" (mighty!), their jammed-out reworking of Beck's "Nobody's Fault But Mine" (as recently released on vinyl), Talk Talk's "Myrrhman" (off Laughing Stock, something I never expected to hear covered) and a very Crimson-esque Jack Hues original.

The Syd Arthur contingent was just Joel and Josh this time. Liam was at the back by the sound desk looking like he was really enjoying it. Not sure where Raven was. According to Josh afterwards, it wasn't as good as the previous night in London, so I look forward to hearing the recording that apparently got made of that!

Witnessing the Led Bib and Syd Arthur rhythm sections united for a monster "Facelift" in Canterbury with 120 other deep listeners had me feeling for about 15 minutes that all was well in the world! Hugh Hopper's widow Christine was at the back with her eyes closed, spinning around, looking completely blissed out. At one point, she, Emily (of Bagpuss fame) and Emily's partner Justin (trumpeter from the Happy Accidents) were spotted "prog line dancing"!

I'd never been in St. Thomas Hall before (it's attached to Canterbury's Roman Catholic Church, within the city walls). Turns out it has quite a prog/psych legacy!

There was a support set from Nelson Parade too, easily the best I've seen from them. Onward and upward...

Friday, April 19, 2019

Canterbury Sans Frontières: episode 70

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 70

Matching Mole contemplate Britain's role in Europe, Egg loosely wring out the ground (with the help of their old friend Steve Hillage), Gong contribute to the soundtrack of a motorcycle racing film, Soft Machine display their "Teeth" and Hatfield and the North get an extended case of "Mumps". Also, a 1973 John Peel session track from Henry Cow, a lullaby from Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt and friends singing Harold Pinter, and a selection from Robert himself -- a slab of Turkmenistani spiritual jazz fusion from '79! Sun Ra solo in 1980, Jon Hassell live in '82, NYC's Sunwatchers covering Alice Coltrane, Terry Riley remixed and a gentle gem from early 70s Floyd. From the Canterbury of recent times, the only 4/4 track on the last Lapis Lazuli album and some deep melancholia from Anthony "Stray Ghost" Saggers.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Hippo, M.U.T.O. and Luke Menniss at Crash of Moons

29th March 2019
UCA Bar, Canterbury
 

Another great night at the Crash of Moons Club. Hippo spent five hours crawling down the M4 to come and play for us, but blew the roof off again and were clearly having a great time doing so. M.U.T.O. rocked out most effectively (loving the theremin and Struan's glowing/flashing shades) and Luke started things off with a solo mathy/tappy set of songs about dysfunctionality that came over like some kind of postmodern wonky folk music. Here are my DJ mixes as resident selector Professor Appleblossom, before/between/after the three acts:

Friday, March 29, 2019

Free Range Orchestra

Thursday 28th March 2019
Garage Coffee, Canterbury
 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Pat Thomas at Free Range

Garage Coffee, Canterbury
Thursday 21st March, 2019
 

I'm ashamed to say that I'd not before heard of Pat Thomas, someone who has collaborated with, among others, Phil Minton, Tony Oxley, Lol Coxhill, Steve Beresford, Thurston Moore, Eugene Chadbourne, Joe Gallivan and Veryan Weston. Small audience, intense playing, deep listening.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Rise of the Moons with Lunatraktors, et al.

Wednesday 20th March 2019
Bramleys Bar, Canterbury
 

Here are my mixes as resident DJ Prof. Appleblossom. A longish English folkie set before Ben Insall, some Beatles-y psych- and power-pop before Charlie Hannah and unclassifiable eerieness before Lunatraktors. Due to a new early curfew at Bramleys, there was no post-gig dance set.

Spring equinox occurred at 9:58PM shortly after the Lunatraktors took to the stage (Clair made some amusing comments about the value hierarchy around ideas of "darkness" and "light"). They were launching their new album This Is Broken Folk, recorded recently in "the arches" near Ramsgate harbour. Nice to hear "Arthur McBride" in the repertoire. A very cosy, intimate atmosphere at Bramleys, the stage in a new corner of the room, Adam cheerfully compering, deep listening from the audience. Nice sets from Ben Insall (mostly originals) and Charlie Hannah (his solo "domestica" songs) who I'd not met before...he was very happy to hear me play Big Star, the Beach Boys, The Dukes of Stratosphear and The Beatles before his set. The Prof does his best to make Crash guests feel musically at home...

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Canterbury Sans Frontières: episode 69

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 69

A Robert Wyatt track I thought I'd never play (check out the band!), some forgotten spiritual jazz from mid 70's Boston, MA, Gong futuristically remixed by Hillage in '97, Lindsay Cooper and friends (including Hugh Hopper) in Volgograd, Russia '91, Kevin Ayers and Ollie Halsall ripping it up at the Rainbow in '74, Pink Floyd's Richard Wright shining brightly before an assembled multitude in a Polish dockyard shortly before his passing, Mother Superior, the only all-female 70s prog band, some more Haiku Salut and a tribute to Mark Hollis (RIP). From the Canterbury of today, new solo work from Josh Magill of Syd Arthur — who also contributed an excellent one-hour guest mix — plus ambient/drone works from Richard James Blyth and nør løve, and some groovy psychedelia from Paisley Mess.

Friday, March 15, 2019

nør løve at Free Range

Thursday 14th March 2019
Garage Coffee, Canterbury

I missed the very beginning of Sam's piano set. When I arrived he was reading from a text (source unknown) while the various motorised devices he uses whirred away on the strings. Then he went into an incredible, impassioned version of this (a shame Callum "Nelson Parade" Magill couldn't be there to hear it):

Oliver Perrot-Webb's set as nør løve involved him on bass, Ben Horner on electric guitar, lots of exquisite feedback and noise, some intriguing projections, something coming from a laptop (hard to tell what), eerie singing and more. Strangely moving, I was almost in tears at one point. An unexpected triumph.

Minerva Voices at lunchtime

Wednesday 13th March 2019
Colyer-Fergusson Hall, UKC, Canterbury

They'd run out of programmes by the time I arrived, so I'm not sure exactly what was sung/played. Very welcome at the time, though. Thanks to Livi for letting me know about this one.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

the spirit of Lindsay Cooper descends on central Canterbury...

Thursday 7th March 2019
Garage Coffee, Canterbury

One of the highlights of my life thus far. The day began with Josh Magill (Syd Arthur's drummer) and I driving up to London to collect Yumi and her gear, then on to Recommended Records HQ near Croydon to collect Chris Cutler and his drums. Back in the CT there was then the mission of collecting a PA (kindly provided by Will who does Crash of Moons Club sound) and liaising with Neil from Lapis Lazuli who'd offered to do the mixing (he did a magnificent job!). Then last minute panic getting the slideshow/projector setup to work (I was projecting images from Lindsay's life and work, carefully gleaned from the massive online LC Digital Archive at Cornell University)...thanks to Ole for the amazing technical help with that. Everything worked perfectly, the band looked like they were enjoying themselves hugely, not a squeak of feedback nor a single request for monitor adjustments despite the vast amount of instruments, mics and amps involved, and the slideshow added a really nice personal touch for the (probably majority of the) audience members who knew nothing about the woman behind the music.

At the end of the first set (News From Babel songs), Yumi looked up at the slideshow — which included some scans of hand-written scores with Lindsay's doodles and coffee stains — and suddenly initiated a group improvisation in the Henry Cow tradition, using the visuals as a kind of evolving score (some bits of actual written music, plus "lyrics" sung from press clippings, etc.). The second set of mostly Henry Cow material took things up a notch further, a "joyous art-rock explosion" as someone described it. Free Range organiser Sam Bailey, like me, felt like something else was present in the room beside the musicians and the audience. It was one of those gigs.

There was a particularly touching moment during "Iceland", which Cutler doesn't play on, when he was watching the slideshow, and this childhood picture of Lindsay in front of her house in suburban Hornsey (North London) in the late 50s appeared on the screen. He unselfconsciously did a little wave to the picture of his friend and collaborator. Aww.

Additional thanks go to Sam Bailey for allowing me to curate this, Luke and co. at Garage Coffee for being so chilled about their space being severely rearranged, Megan and Dan for logistical support and furniture moving and Luke from Lapis Lazuli for saving the day when we suddenly realised their was no bass amp.

Josh and I transported their stuff up to Cafe Oto for the next night's gig (International Women's Day), the closest I'll ever get to being a roadie for Henry Cow! That gig included an extra set featuring an exquisite improvisation from The Watts (Yumi, Cutler and Hodgkinson), and solo performances from Chlöe Herrington (bassoon and electronics), Atsuko Kamura (voice and loops) and Mitsuru Nasuno (bass and effects)...wonderful stuff. After that, things went a bit wrong, technically, which meant the band were having more of a struggle, enjoying themselves less. Plus the audience were a lot more "London" and of a uniform age, so the atmosphere didn't come close to the one the night before. But I had room to move around at the back and found myself sort of twitch/dancing to Henry Cow music, completely blissed out, in the afterglow of the Free Range gig (which had been too crammed full of audience to move).

Talking to Mitsuru afterwards I learned that playing in Canterbury had been a lifelong dream of his, and that the previous night's event was "a dream come true". That made me happy. We swapped contacts and he's looking forward to providing a Japanese R.I.O. guest mix for a future episode of Canterbury Sans Frontierès, further validating the name of the podcast.

I picked up a copy of a VÄLVE EP (one of Chlöe's projects) before leaving, which led to a fascinating conversation with a stranger on the Tube a few minutes late — he spotted the cover and asked if it was from Bangladesh (resembles the Bangladeshi flag) which led to a lovely, spontaneous conversation in which I told him about the gig and he told me about Bangladeshi culture, politics and pop music, before helping me find the right place to change at Shadwell DLR station. On to Jamboree in Limehouse, to catch the aftermath of a Whiskey Moonface gig (there'd unexpectedly been some trouble with a drunken audience member and security) and meet up with Garance Louis of the Mitochondries. Back at the Sanford housing coop where she now lives (somewhere I've heard about for years) she showed me some clips of her extraordinary new theatrical electropop project Chewy She...