Jayzus… have the Jesus and Mary Chain changed or what?!
Oops, shite. No… these are the middle-aged roadies of a middle-aged Noise band.
I still am one of those irremediably uncool people who get excited when a roadie comes on stage and does fiddly bits with wires and stuff, without ever meeting the eyes of anyone in the crowd (but they do surreptitiously carry out a babe-check of the first 5 rows, it’s a special gift they have, without ever meeting anyone’s eye)
Lemme check on the memory card for actual photos of the Jayzis and Mary Chain… Ah! Here we go.
First introduction with He-Who-Singeth-In-A-Sulky-Fashion:
To be totally honest, I know the music, I enjoy the music, I have played the music many times over the last few decades.
But I didn’t really pay much attention to what the band looked like, back then or now.
After all, Noise is more about noise than image, isn’t it?
Still, I wasn’t quite prepared for the Man with the Smile. I wondered for a second if he wasn’t the band’s Senior Accountant who was checking if the serial number on the microphone did indeed match the one on the invoice from the PA hire company (accountants, even of the senior variety, especially of the senior variety, have a passion for this sort of things).
He-Who-Singeth-In-A-Sulky-Fashion, with his unimaginative black shirt and tidy haircut reminded me a bit of one of my neighbours, the one three doors up with the Mitsukoda Lakov-Charisma, the one who regularly tut-tuts in the direction of my slightly overgrown edge.
But I am being unfair to He-Who-Singeth-In-A-Sulky-Fashion, here are a few smilier shots of him infused with passion (and I should know about passion and exuberance on stage, I suffered through a whole concert in the early 90s when I had paid good money to watch Elizabeth Fraser hide for 90 very long minutes behind her fringe):
Woohoo! He-Who-Singeth-In-A-Sulky-Fashion, look at me! Look at me!
I’m your fan!
Woohoo, look at me!
And then he was gone.
Left the stage after 15 minutes, because he was pissed off.
Nah, I’m taking the piss. Not this time.
He has been known to do it though.
He did get cross with He-Who-Playeth-The-Guitar though.
A couple of songs were cut short after a few bars. And restarted and restarted again. I was wondering if it was due to the middle-aged roadies who had failed to properly fiddle with the fiddly bits, or a drum machine failure (but then realised that there was a drummer).
No, apparently, and judging by the harsh words that were briefly exchanged, He-Who-Singeth-In-A-Sulky-Fashion was giving out to the Noise Maker for playing his Noise out of tune!
But I am once again being unfair.
I had a great time.
I was expecting perhaps more Noise. A waive of saturated, almost solid Noise that strokes your eardrums with the gentleness of a Russian Navy sailor in a brothel in Rotterdam after three years spent in a nuclear submarine under the Arctic ice cap.
I was expecting smouldering Marshall amps, and sparks flying out of the Noise Maker’s guitar.
But I guess that in these Health & Safety-obsessed days, such things are no longer permitted and there is a cap on the number of decibels you can inflict on a willing audience.
I was ready though. And my eardrums were permanently maimed back in the 80s and 90s (I can recall my ears ringing for 48 hours following That Petrol Emotion in Liverpool or Rage Against the Machine at the Pink Pop festival).
I was ready for the acoustic holocaust of Psychocandy.
What I got instead was a pleasant collection of pleasant tunes by dudes in their fifties.
Sure, there were a few instances of middle-aged moshing in the first five rows that would have warranted the presence of a cardiac unit on stand-by.
Sure, there was a real sense of occasion (gaps of 27 years between concerts help to create a palpable sense of occasion).
Sure, the gig brought together a healthy 50/50 mix of hipsters and geeksters, and the people-watching was great (more about that in another post).
Sure, the audience seems to have developed some sort of smartphone etiquette, and there were relatively few instances of bright pieces of high-tech turds being held aloft for hours on end. People seem to have realised that seeing a whole concert through one’s iSamsung 5 is about as cool as sporting a Moses beard combined with a Hitler haircut and colourful sleeve tattoos.
Still, I was expecting more of a smack in the face from He-Who-Singeth-In-A-Sulky-Fashion and the Noise-Maker.
Here are a few parting shots from an old, jaded concert goer.