Posts from 20th July 2008

20
Jul 08

Nick Sanderson 1961 – 2008

FT///5 comments • 700 views

Apologies that this is a month late, I only learnt of Nick’s death from cancer earlier this week, although obits did appear in the guardian, independant and mojo as well as on Quietus (although there seems to be something up with the main article).

The first time I saw Earl Brutus was at Glastonbury in 1998. MyPete had been raving about them for months having seen them in Amsterdam. After four days of torrential rain, spirits were low and, to be honest with you, I didn’t get it. Lots of shouting, sampled glam drums and a funny Japanese bloke who didn’t really seem to do anything. Everyone else was buzzing but I was just a bit confused. It was only when I saw them a second time, at the Attic in Cheltenham a few months later (and then every three or four months after that, well, MyPete booked the bands you see), that it clicked into place. There was lots of shouting, sampled glam drums, and a Japanese bloke who didn’t seem to do anything and it was ASTONISHING. A bunch of grizzled, rather scary-looking blokes making an almighty racket and central to it all, Nick screaming lyrics about army boys, suicides with stars in their eyes and asking us to show him our minds. The one thing that brutus gigs never were was boring, shambolic often yes, but visceral and communal. Watching non-believers faces as we punched the air, joining in with the terrace chant choruses, trying to keep up with Sun-Yu’s drinking speed (the main thing he did, i soon realised, was drink lager). Given that the post-britpop landscape was such a graveyard of plodding sub-travises and ska-punk it was only Earl Brutus and Arab Strap (more grizzled old men getting pissed) that seemed to do anything for me.

The last time i saw Earl Brutus was the weekend of the jubilee in 2002, at the ICA. As we sat in the bar we saw the huge crowds of people being marshalled away from the palace as a fire alert or bomb threat or something had caused the whole area to be evacuated. Safe inside the 10 foot thick walls, we were left alone to continue with the gig. I never quite worked out why they’d been booked for this gig, they were supporting the Parkinsons and hardly anyone else seemed that botherd about them, but, down the front, the hardcore had come out of the woodwork and the band didn’t disappoint they were the same drunken, shouty, visceral, idiot genius they always were.

I missed the “re-elect ken” gig they did in 2004, but always had half an eye out for them when looking through the guardian gig guide. Surely, i thought, one day they’ll be back, nearly every other chancer from the era has reformed, but now, I guess not.

Here are some shamefully underwatch youtube clips. Thank you Nick.

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