mc4Last night I went to the Islington Academy and I saw:

Acoustical Big Fat Andy Cairns from Therapy?
Neds Atomical Dustbins
Some Bloke From The Doughboys
The Senseless Things
Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine
Mega City Four (the remaining members of)

And it was GREAT. The gig was a tribute to Wiz from Mega City Four, who died at the end of last year.

Sorry Midway Still, you were first on and we missed you, twas ever thus…

Reuben are a bunch of snotty nosed kids from farnborough that Wiz liked apparently. They were rly quite metal in comparison to the rest of the bill (ie they had tuned down a bit) and rounded off their four songs with a corking cover of sliver by nirvana which was very well received by the crowd (after people going “is it? Bludy hell, it is!!” for the first 30 seconds). All the acts did 4 songs each (although the senseless things managed to squeeze a fifth in), so PROPER HITS** ONLY was the order of the day.

Clearly it would have been rude for the crowd to shout YOU FAT BASTARD at Fat Andy Cairns given that the vast majority of them (and I include myself here) are wider than they were 15 years ago, but Cairns still looks like he might jump off the stage and ‘ave you if you Tried It. Going Nowhere and Screamager worked surprisingly well on acoustical guitar, primarily because the audience were singing along very heartily. Then he played another therapy? song I didn’t know, but which apparently has been dedicated to Kurt Cobain, George Best, Brian Clough etcetcetc over the years…

nedsNeds did Until You Find Out, Happy, Grey Cell Green and Kill Your Television and frankly it was BETTER THAN SEEING THE ROLLING STONES. For reasons I’ve never been able to explain, given my notoriety as nuncle nindie, I’ve actually never seen any of the bands on this bill before, I think I was just a year too young and/or 20 miles too far from a proper toilet venue, so this was amazing (today I have bought god fodder on cd off of amazon marketplace (for less than £3)). One of the bassists had a very young girlfriend though (ok, theoretically it could have been his daughter, I don’t know if that makes it better or worse…).

I was never that fussed about the senseless things meself like, unlike my gig-going companion who nearly exploded when he realised it was (three quarters of the original line up of) the full band, rather than just Mark Keds as advertised. Apparently they did some good songs that wikimapedia informs me were early stuff, eg, too much kissing.

Steve Lurpack (call him by his name), was introducing the bands, wearing the appropriate t-shirt for each one and telling trasitvanophobia tales from days gone by. He was also saying that these were OUR*** bands, that they DID change things and OK, it might have been the cider talking, and no doubt it was an emotional day for those who knew wiz, but I think Steve might be on to something. Yeah, yeah, I’m not saying there was some vast paridigm shift, or even that it was our punk or whatever, but these bands were the soundtrack to our teenaged years and they were many peoples first exposure to live music, the people who wrote songs that [ahem] really spoke to them, just like all the little emos and indies and scene kids over on the comment threads have theirs, so why shouldn’t we celebrate and remember our youth? Then he came on to introduce Jim Bob and Fruitbat and had to put up with a roomful of people shouting YOU FAT BASTARD at him, marvellous, there.

carterSo four songs of Neds was great and all, but probably all I needed. I imagine a full 90 minute set might start to drag bless them. However four songs of Carter were IN NO WAY ENOUGH and I DEMAND a proper gig NEXT WEEK, LATEST. They did 24 Minutes to Tulse Hill, Second to Last Will and Testament, Prince in a Pauper’s Grave and The Only Living Boy in New Cross. PiaPG was possibly the highlight, the whole room joining in. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I listen to this stuff constantly any more, hardly ever in fact, but the rush when I realised I still knew that after “ford capri orange” comes VOLKSWAGEN YELLOW, LETS GO! was astounding, why does my brane fill itself with such nonsense?

Again, the megas (as Steve Lurpack almost certainly called them) never did much for me, but for the vast majority of the room, this is why they were there. The bloke drafted in to do the singing was very good, but to my mind they were never in the top division, hard-working though they certainly were.

It’s hard to tell whether with The Interweb Musical Revolution (© Sandi Thom) means bands will never again have to do 300 gigs a year to [double ahem] make it, or if, in fact, the splintering of the music market into so many niches means that, actually, doing 300 gigs a year will be the only way to make a living at it, personally i’m inclined towards the latter, but that’s probably just the old indie kid in me innit…

*actual NME front cover headline, there.

**yes, yes FSVO “hits”, whatevs, sneer if you will :P

***”our” in the sense of the ppl in the room, who comprised of a pretty narrow demographic, eg white, 30-40, middle-class