Two Capsule gigs that happened at the weekend (and the dreaded return of the accurate title)
Had I not already praised that Capsule gang on this blog by a far greater degree than will allow anyone to retain the contents of their stomach, I’d be prepared to praise ‘em some more now. Folk more feckless than myself would proceed anyway. I, however, value the intestinal integrity of the few readers I have and will limit myself to saying that they put on interesting gigs and that anything they have a hand in is worth considering at the very least. I will speak no more on the subject at this time.
This weekend just gone they had two (count ‘em) gigs on consecutive nights (17th and 18th), at The Jug Of Ale in Moseley. This is a pub I like a lot. The lager in the gig room upstairs is pretty crappy, but it is five pence cheaper up there and obviously you have to consider ‘bothering to go downstairs’ amongst your pros and cons.
Saturday, anyway. This was the second time I’d seen Mills And Boon, and despite having liked them a helluva lot the first time (no, I did, honest) this was even better still. The Beefheart reference shone through a lot more clearly this time – not only in the guitar style, but also in the way they hover right on the edge of chaos (most of the time. Periodically they hover straight over, but always in a convincingly purposeful way). Fantastic messy (without being sloppy) and violent (without being angry) jazz-rock (without being especially jazzy or rockish) is how I would describe them, but I’m perfectly happy at the same time to acknowledge how useless that is as a description. Go and see them, that would be easier (and more fun) for you.
I’d actually got as far as listening to Voice Of The Seven Woods on the t’internets before this gig, and found myself pleased by his eastern-folksy psychedelic rock. The recordings I’ve heard seem to be full-band efforts, though, and his solo “Jus’ me an’ my gee-tar” live thing didn’t initially impress. Plus, of course, there’s always the fact that if you learn a man’s name is Rick Tomlinson and you don’t hear him tell Anthony to peel the spuds there’s always going to be at least a slight degree of disappointment. But, but, but… he won me over. It may have initially seemed to be a dull guitar-picking exercise the likes of which we’ve all listened to politely a squillion billion times before, but it grew. The tension rose as he approached a Can/Krautrock style intensity-through-repetition; I was gritting my teeth and rapturously nodding along, as were many others. Consider me convinced. Wonderful stuff.
Our headliners for the evening, the Flower-Corsano Duo, played what I might politely call ‘a load of purposeless guff created for the edification of those who consider anything even slightly outré to be of immediate and automatic worth’ but probably won’t, ‘cos I’m trying to be less cynical these days. A two-piece, with a drummer playing patterns that might have been considered interesting in isolation married to a guitarist going “widdly-widdly-widdly-widdly-widdly-widdly-widdly”… and so forth. I’ll stop there. He didn’t. A lot of folk seemed pleased at the end of their set, so (in the name of reducing cynicism) I have to acknowledge the fact that whatever effect they intended to create must have got through to many. I was forced to shrug my shoulders and wonder. Bah.
Sunday, then? First on was D. Louis Baker, with different backing to the times I’ve seen him before. I can’t pretend I don’t miss the sound of the ol’ joanna, but his set was lovely nonetheless. He’s a great songwriter, no matter what instruments the songs might be presented with. Were references to ‘The Farm’ in the last song in reference to Lion Farm near Oldbury? I’d like to imagine so.
When Copter began I was disappointed that they didn’t have their oft-heralded robot on stage with them. By the time they’d finished I was ready to herald them the best band in the world ever. A slight exaggeration, perhaps, but not too much of one. This band who have been around forever but I’d never seen before this play awesome soul’n’roll, sort of Rolling Stones meets Rocket From The Crypt meets MC5, but actually good (as opposed to a large number of the bands proclaimed thusly). The singer’s clearly put-on American accent irked a bit (interesting side-note: could this type of music work without a god-bless-the-USA voice? I’ve no idea, but I’d like to see someone try. If any band out there has a Yampy or Brummie testifier up front then please let me know, I’ll definitely come and see you at the very least), but his entertainment value was immense and the energy the band created was undeniable. Their songs seemed amazing, too, and you can never underestimate the appeal of fat geezers in the crowd being moved to execute ‘shake your hands to the sky’ style dancing. This lot are ace, and yet another band I would bid you go and see. Only more so.
Headliners Young James Long musically existed in some sort of psychic middle ground between Clutch and Lynyrd Skynyrd, but that’s not the important thing. The important thing is that their singer talked just like Boomhauer from ‘King Of The Hill’. I was able to make out the odd word, and faintly gathered the idea that he was upset by the lack of heckling. Well, that would be because few could understand what you were saying in order to make a smart-arse response. I say that, though, but a few people had an exchange with him towards the end, near the encore. I personally could make out what the crowd members were saying but remained none the wiser as regards the wisdom of the singer-bloke.
Still, their music was a whole pile of fun. Gritty Southern (and I ain’t talkin’ Dorset) Rock stuff, with drawling put to better use on vocals than it was in between-song proclamations and wild Freebirdin’ guitar swooping all over the place like sauce on a biscuit. Or whatever these people say. Good fun.
So, five outta six ain’t bad (as Meatloaf came close to singing). Hurrah for Capsule.