Call me Russ L

Packed flat

Posted in Music by Russ L on 5 February, 2007

The Flatpack Film Festival took place in Birmingham over the last few days, and I didn’t get so far as going to see any films. Very naughty of me, I know, but I’m not really all that much of a film person. I have a ridiculously short attention span, y’see.

I did manage to go to one festival-related-event, though: Capsule’s “Known/Unknowns” do at The Jug Of Ale, on Saturday the 3rd. They took over the whole of the pub to put on two stages of bands in two rooms, film showings, DJs, and suchforth. I couldn’t find the cake stall.

I started with Bee Stung Lips in the main gig room upstairs, and the word I’ve decided to use is ‘feral.’ Wild and animalistic screamy punk ‘n’ roll, very raggedy-arsed but held together by Action Alex’s inhuman drumming (and, possibly, by his very gay hat). A little bit Jesus Lizard and a large bit frenetic fun.

Ah, Bela, sweet Bela Emerson. How close I came to forsaking you, and how glad I am that I did not. It was so hot trapped towards the rear of that downstairs room, though, and I was frustrated no end by those people talking over your music (a whole sodding pub and they choose to converse in the room where they can be heard over an artist playing. It verges on callous). After a few people shuffled out, though, I was able to manoeuvre towards the front and found both fresh air and respite from the morons.

It’s one girl and her cello, anyway, bolstered by sundry electronic boxes o’ tricks. She used the latter for an ingenious layering method – playing a bit, which would be sampled and played back as a loop while she played something else. She might, for example, pluck the strings to create a bassline, which would then play back while she tapped at the cello body for rhythmic accompaniment, and then both parts would play back as she picked up her bow and began to create a melody, and so on. Very clever, but the degree of beauty created took it all far beyond a smart-arse exhibition. It really was music to take you away from here. Sublime.

I hope she gets a little table to set her things up on, though. Repeatedly leaning forward in her chair to operate the pedals on the floor cannot possibly be good for her back.

Back upstairs for Threads, the self-proclaimed “World’s greatest D.I.Y. stadium rock band”. As a foolish man wisely noted, doesn’t that make them a pub rock band by definition? Well, yes, I’d say. Deep Purple-come-G’n’R fayre, but not really that good. They’re clearly mainly in it for the having-a-laugh, though.

With the downstairs room far too packed to get even in the doorway to see the last act on down there, that was my lot.

~ Russ L, still wondering where the cake was.



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