Monday, May 09, 2016

early 2016: others' musical exploits - live around Canterbury

23/01/16: Saw mystic busker and poet Kallum Sutton and his raw, sprawling soul/folk collecting Pinnochios at The Ballroom. Terrible sound up there, Sam Brothers' bass totally inaudible. But they still managed to raise some energy. A couple of really powerful songs carried by harmony vocals from Kallum, Sam and Meg. Afterwards, everyone ended up next door at the Bramleys blues jam. Sam was spontaneously pulled up on stage to play bass, ended up taking a couple of verses of the vocals during a rather lightweight, ineffectual "House of the Rising Sun", bringing a real wildness and snarl to it.

06/02/16: Making "punkrock sauerkraut" from red cabbage in a kitchen in Nunnery Fields while blasting Culture Shock's 1988 ska-punk classic Onwards & Upwards, drinking strong local cider and then heading over to the nearby Maidens Head pub for the end of a free punk all-dayer memorial gig for Davee Wild, the dynamic young organiser of many punk gigs in town who died tragically back in 2014. I also caught a set from The Restarts. Wild, drunken punkrock energy down there, as you'd expect after a whole day of it. Old UKC friends (part of a anarcho-comedy punk band called "Degeneration" circa 1988) Nick Dent, Welsh Adrian and Peter Kite showed up and joined me huddling to the side of deafening speakers, just beyond the moshpit. Dick Lucas and the band played a short, energetic set. More cider. Hangover (very rare) the next morning, urgh.

10/02/16: Another Crash of Moons Club night with Jouis from Brighton, Cheap Wine from France and me (as Professor Appleblossom) DJing. I heard rumours afterwards that this might have been the last time we get to see Jouis live, due to geographical strains (JD having moved ot Oxford), but have since heard that they're regrouping. It would be a real shame if they did split, as they were sounding magnificent that night. Not just beautiful songs played well with harmony vocals, but a total psychedelic musical journey with little jammed-out sections and transitions. The best set I've heard from them, I think. Cheap Wine were LOUD. Kind of unnecessarily loud, but I got into it at the time. They've got the primal garage rock thing mastered, and a frontman who harks back to the time, as Miriam put it, "when frontmen were frontmen". Medallion, sweating profusely, hair in face, howling, twisted limbs plus bonus flamboyant theremin playing! I selected a lot of lush harmony-based psychedelic pop before Jouis, heavier drone psych before Cheap Wine, and then a danceable set afterwards — here's the playlist.

09/03/16: Arlet Big Red Sun album launch at The Lighthouse, Deal. Support from Phil of Lapis Lazuli and Aidan from Arlet, playing their new accordion/tenor sax duo material. Arlet started with a new one they're calling "Deep Space Nine", then played most of the new album (no "Big Ship" or "Metaphor", though), plus the "skid jigs" from the Quartet EP from last year and "Bowerhouse 2" from the Trio EP which comes as a bonus disc with Big Red Sun and involves just Aidan, Owen and Rosie. They ended with "Mattematix" and encored with what they described as a "new old one" called, I think, "SamSong". I thought I was hearing another musical peak in the evolution of Arlet (the last one being in autumn 2013 when I saw them play at the new CCCU venue with Annie on trombone and Nick on trumpet), but later found out that they mostly felt they hadn't quite "got there" during this performance.

The new album comes with a beautiful hand-printed art book, with a page (or more) dedicated to each of the ten tunes (some more obviously linked than others). The page for "The Big Ship" (their wond'rous Eno cover) features a reproduction of an email I sent Aidan years ago suggesting that he attempt an arrangement of it, and the page for "Mattematix" features a beautiful cartoon drawing by Matt Tweed which features me bringing the band tea, while pondering the Riemann–von Mangoldt explicit formula, during their woodland residency in 2013:

I think the whole of Cocos Lovers were there that night. It was a seated, attentive audience. Much higher energy was achieved at Bramleys on 16/03/16 when they did their Canterbury album launch at Crash of Moons Club (lively standing crowd). Amazing stuff from them that night! Aidan was part of the support set from The Binnewith Amnesiacs (me, Tom, him plus Juliet on visuals) that evening too.

17/03/2016 I got a message that afternoon from Juliet that Ben from Arlet (who she'd studied Wittgenstein with a few years ago) was playing that afternoon at The Jolly Sailor. I couldn't imagine why (it was a Thursday). And I'd planned a woodland walk (it was a beautiful sunny day), so didn't think I'd make it. But I found myself back at my bike with just enough time to bomb it down St. Stephens Hill and catch the end of his set. I made it, immediately realised from the Irish-themed decor that it was St. Patrick's Day, hence the afternoon gig (he finished with "The Galway Girl"), and requested the Incredible String Band's "October Song" as an encore. He kindly obliged, while I overheated by the fruit machines from my furious bikeride. Spontaneous Canterbury music magic. Kallum and Max M there with Juliet.

25/03/2015 A joint Smugglers/Crash of Moons thing at The Astor in Deal with local youth rockers "The Stranded Lights" (Stewy from Cocos filling in heroically on drums), teenage ultra-delicate psych-folk duo The Selkies (upstairs while the bands switched over downstairs) then Bison Bonasus (Spencer from Lunch Money filling in for Callum on bass, he off in Florida with his funk band), Lapis Lazuli and Flying Ibex. Bison, Lapis and Ibex all sounded better than ever. I DJ'd as Professor Appleblossom (a bit pointless, as almost everyone headed outside to smoke between bands) — here's my playlist.

And then there were the woodland sessions (secret location near Canterbury)...
04?/01/16 Arlet (Lib's 40th birthday)
06/03/16 Phil and Aidan supporting a trial run of the Binnewith Amnesiacs audio-visual experience which was later presented at Bramleys
14/03/16 Sam Brothers supporting Dominic Conway
20/03/16 Meg Janaway (backed up by Lulu on fiddle and Rachel on cajón), Houdini's Hat (Josh and Jules), and then an equinox jam involving all of them
27/03/16 The Douglas Sisters (Natasha from Cocos + Poggy)/The Ladies of the Lake/The Selkies (one Selkie being Jo from LOTL's daughter)
03/04/16 Liam Magill playing half of the new Syd Arthur album acoustically (plus three songs from Sound Mirror) followed by a set of gospel/folk/blues from Kallum Sutton, assisted by Sam Brothers
...and off to New Orleans the next morning.


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