Friday, 20 June 2008

Not Much Water Coming Over The Hill

It's clear we've not quite engaged with this blog format on any significant level, least not a level significant enough to draw regular readers. But just as I like the sound of my own voice, I like reading what I write and the process in itself is a means of gaining fresh understanding. If I'm preaching to the choir, then so be it. There's a lot to be said for posterity, especially as my memory seems to have stopped recording information since around 2001. And it's that same bad memory that contributed to me forgetting to post my ramblings about ATP. They're a little incomplete and Ryan's neat summary in the previous post seems to have covered most bases, but nevertheless, I've copied them in anyway:

"Two ATPs in successive weekends is an Olympic effort. It should be considered a sport. London 2012 can host a satellite event in Minehead, surely? Needless to say, I'm fried and wired; ears like I've lived a life in a bathysphere and a head like an over-shaken snowglobe. And that was before I sat down to watch Werner Herzog's "Burden of Dreams" in the early hours of Monday morning. But, I wouldn't change any of it, except perhaps Saul Williams' misjudged and frankly out-dated sub-industrial mess of a set. He did look good kitted out in white feathers and Grace Jones shake appeal though.

What of the highlights? Friday was a little lean on interest for me, save Sunset Rubdown who choose to stumble endearingly between mid-West anthemics (I do know they're Canadian, btw) and some rather regal prog-like tendencies. Spencer Krug seems to possess an astute awareness of what his best songs actually are, or at least agrees with me. So, a two year wait for "Shut Up I'm Dreaming Of Places Where Lovers Have Wings" was happily brought to an end. Now if only I could work out what he's actually chiming on about... In fact, the beauty of ATP is that if i'd really wanted to find out, I could've quite easily got it from the horses mouth. There might well be a VIP area somewhere, but it rarely appeared as if the bands were aware of it. After watching Okkervil River, with guest Wren Charles Blissel on guitar, condense a whole lifetime of Mojo rock cliche into a literate, fiery and Springsteen-sharp hour, Will Sheff then hung off my shoulder for the entire National set. Save a pickled few, no one was walking away from this performance prematurely. And performance is the appropriate word. Stately and under-stated in equal measure, Matt Berringer has a voice deeper than Butlins' pockets and enough great songs for that to not even be the highlight. They're surely one Glastonbury TV performance away from Arcade Fire-like reverence.

But of all the heart stopping (Jens Lekman), synapse melting (Battles, Animal Collective) performances on offer, the fan boy in me couldn't help but be over awed by the Silver Jews and in particular, the defiant and stately grace of D.C. Berman, who now appears to finally nailed the frontman schtick. Those lyrics always hinted at a comedy genius, but the last tour saw him nervous and unsure of his own words. Not so this weekend. I'm still unconvinced he can play a guitar or plug in a microphone, but he (just like The National, Jens Lekman, Okkervil River and Sunset Rubdown, to their credit also) made light work of what's generally been seen as a pretty shitty stage to play in that infinite ceiling-ed, service station-like setting. It's that academic charisma that only comes from the smartest, most difficult, slightly wayward older gent that shone through and past the food court hall and black curtain walls. Not far off being a greatest hits set, there can't be many that walked away from that performance feeling disappointed or underwhelmed. The moment when he turned to face Cassie to sing the final lines of "Random Rules" (No one should have two lives, now you know my middle names are wrong and right. Honey we've got two lives to give tonight) was pure country theatre. And 59 shows in 41 years may be pretty inefficient, but we'd all trade quantity for quality, right"

So, that's what I thought about ATP. I really should've done the same thing for Primavera now, but that's so far back in the past now that it's like it never happened, although my internal organs keeps throwing up little memories. Scarring is a form memory.

So, back to now. Today/tonight/early tomorrow morning is a rather exciting prospect. Although a little prematurely, we’re celebarting the release of William's debut long player, Self In Fiction with a launch party this coming Friday on 20th June. The debauchery begins at 8:30 and takes place at their local haunt, The Fox in Lewisham. William, along with stable mates and friends Popular Workshop and Honeytrap, and a band we know little about The Kill Raimis will all be playing. It’s going to be quite a racket.

If Facebook is to be trusted, then we’re expecting a full house, so arrive early or be prepared to queue. Entry is £4, with DJs Simon No 9 and Catholic Girls on hand to respectfully decline all your requests. I’m bringing my American Heartbeat CD just in case…

If the Honeytrap album launch of two weeks ago is anything to judge by, I'm expecting a messy and sweaty and slightly silly night. In fact, I should just mention that the Honeytrap night sold out. People were turned away on the door. Now, while I don't like to see people miss out, maybe it's proof that you shouldn't take what they and we do for granted. Perhaps buy a ticket next time?

See you all tonight and by 'all' I mean you, Ryan.

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