Call me Russ L

Good Luck Good Luck

Posted in Music by Russ L on 8 January, 2006

Originally posted on 26/6/5.It sounds quite posh to say I had a weekend in the country. I didn’t really, but certainly it was more countryside-ish than here. I went to visit my dear, dear friends Genie and Dan in that weird place spoken of in hushed tones as ‘down south’ (and occasionally ‘Fareham, near Portsmouth’).

We went to Marwell zoo, which was very nice (I want – nay, I need! – a sandcat. Sooooo cute…), Ports Down Hill (where you get a view of aaall of Portsmouth), for a nice walk on the beach, and spent ages driving around trying to find this country pub (the name of which I forget). We had a barbeque, drinking was done, and it was an all-round lovely weekend. I wish more weekends were that lovely.

I nearly went out monday, but didn’t. Mistress had their album launch party as a free gig… in Scruffy Murphy’s. This was always going to be something that would attract a large crowd. Scruffy’s isn’t big enough for a large crowd. My non-attendance was an important blow struck for health and safety.

Tuesday night saw the High On Fire gig at the Academy 2. They played at the same venue only a couple of months ago (I wasn’t there, it was the same night as Damien Dempsey) and apparently that attracted a large crowd. This time… they didn’t. It wasn’t quite The Explosion bad, but it was maybe Dwarves bad.

Locals Adrenaline were supposed to be opening but I missed them. Gonga from Bristol were the tour support and scaled new heights of slightly dull. Stoner-rock type stuff for the most part, with a few grungy moments and one song that dropped briefly to a Burning Witch crawl/drag. They had a good riff here and a good bassline there but no songs as a whole that caught my ears.

High On Fire took a little while to get warmed up. Another (probably more accurate) way of looking at it would be to say that I took a little while to get warmed up. Their Motorhead on HGH ramalalamalamalama washed over me for the first few songs. Then it grew. Oh how it grew. Although I continue to insist that most of their songs continue well after they’ve made their point, HOF (I like that acronym. Say it out loud, it’s fun) bought the heavy metal thunder good ‘n’ proper. Their set seemed quite long and I think I would’ve been getting a bit bored if it had gone on for too much longer, but it didn’t. So that’s good.

Wednesday night I went to THE GIG OF THE YEAR SO FAR. Basement Jaxx at The Academy… ooooh, I’m still happy when I think about it now.

It didn’t initially bode well, it has to be said. It was a hot day, and The Academy was sold out. The temperature was thusly approaching ridiculous, and that’s before we even begin to speak of the bar queues. There was a crackle in the air, though, a sparkle – I was pleased by it, but initially confused. It took me a while to realise that there actually could be atmosphere in the Carling Birmingham Academy.

The Go! Team opened, a name I’d heard before but knew little about. They were ace. Live they sounded to me like Mo Solid Gold with more going on (sonically speaking). Lots of energy and groove, and some good songs. I have since purchased the album and (as well as being much less vocally-led than the performance) it sounds more like a mix of funk and old-(old-old-)school hip-hop, with bits of post-punk and soundtrack motifs. It’s good, but nowhere near as good as they were live. Go and see them.

Before Basement’s set they played M.I.A.’s ‘Bucky Done Gun’ over the PA. That’s a good way to get me hyped, if no-one else.

And the band themselves… fantastic. Grooooooove! That’s what we want and that’s what we got. On the evidence of this night I defy anyone to try and go to a Basement Jaxx gig and not dance. I don’t think it’s possible. All around you could see people succumbing to the urge. Many a floppy-haired indie lad (obviously dragged there by his girlfriend) started off nodding ever-so-slightly to the beat and determined not to enjoy it too much, before eventually ending up throwing shapes he’d never thrown before.

The set started with ‘Good Luck,’ Lisa Kekaula entering wearing a wedding gown. I couldn’t see it properly! Damn my short stature. Having once (mostly unsuccessfully) attempted to sell the things, I’m quite interested in them. It was a great opening, anyway, and the first of many costume changes for Lisa K.

There were soooo many highlights. Any attempt to list them would come up short. Hearing two-and-a-half-thousand-odd people singing along to the horn parts in ‘Bingo Bango’ was a great moment (“Da-da-da da-da… da-daaa-daaa-deeeeeeer…”). I have never seen a crowd go quite as batshit-crazy for the beginning of a song as I did for “Where’s Your Head At?” “Jump And Shout” and “Red Alert” were absolutely massive. Truly amazing.

They beat Damo Dempsey for my ‘gig of the year so far’ award, and that’s saying something. Go and see them next time they tour. Really. You must.

~ Russ L



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