Call me Russ L

Can The Can

Posted in Music by Russ L on 19 August, 2007

I wrote a while back about big changes agwaaning at The Hare And Hounds. I finally got around to going to the new version on Thursday the 16th, with Young Trigger in tow. It’s quite nice, I suppose. I was scared beforehand by the quoted aim that the pub would be trying to entice “young bohemian(s) and savvy professionals” (that’s about as wanky-sounding as you can possibly get, really); my brief glance at the downstairs suggested that the place wasn’t but could be full of people I wouldn’t like. Thinking about it, though, “potentially full of people I wouldn’t like” applies to any and every pub (albeit in different ways). Or any and every public space, even. The £1 tins of Carlsberg Export from the upstairs bar are gone (I will mourn this loss for a long time), but you could get tins of Red Stripe (irie irie) for £2 each until they ran out halfway through the evening. I’m going to say that on balance, I quite like the new H&H; I’d much rather this had opened as a new establishment and left the previous pub still going as well, though.

The purpose of this exercise was to go and see Damo Suzuki, of Can fame. The advertised plan was for him to do three sets, backed by different local artistes in each – Brian Duffy of the Modified Toy Orchestra, The Courtesy Group, and Andy Bole. I approve of the two firstnamed very strongly (never heard of Bole) and I like Can a lot (although I hadn’t heard anything at all in the way of post-Can work from Damo), so I was quite looking forward to this one.

Time cracked on a bit, but eventually things were a-gotten on with. It turned out that Suzuki sang what seemed to be the same piece in each of his sets, with the backing provided by the locals changing. I’ve no idea if he got much or anything in the way of rehearsal time/chance to drill them beforehand. It was quite weird that Damo ended up… not incidental, I wouldn’t go that far, but it was certainly the case that he felt added on to what the locals were doing rather than vice versa.

Mr Duffy and two of the Modified Toy Orchestreers joined him for the first turn (using real drums. It just didn’t feel right, damnit). The sounds they created were quite varied, starting with an ambient/drone type of thing and working back and forth between that style and more beat-driven parts. It was great when it came together, coalescing with Damo’s chanting to produced something that felt almost ritualistic. At other times, though, there seemed to be a real disconnect between the vocals and the music going on around them. That may of course have been the point. Every now and then I recognised a snatch of sound from MTO’s own more poppy oeuvre (a lot of the sounds they use are unique, unsurprisingly), which made me smile.

We popped outside for the boy blunder to have a smoke and discovered something that may be important: you can’t hear the music from the tables right outside the Hare And Hounds. The Courtesy Group had already started when by the time we came back in, which came as a surprise.

The Courtesy Group went for a more swampy, voodoo-y approach. Al Group’s bizarre angry-sounding interjections made me think of Hoover from Spaced (for some reason). It definitely had its moments but was far, far too long. My attention had well and truly wondered by the time they’d finished. Admittedly my attention will wonder over the course of eating a biscuit, so that’s not too damning, but there we are.

We were up to about nearly eleven o’clock by this point, and it was announced from the stage that Andy Bole had gone and double-booked himself and wouldn’t be on till later. A portion of Mills & Boon jumped into the temporary breach. They hit it in a noodly repetitive sort of style, closer to Can than anything else thus far that evening. We had to leave after really not very long, though, and I got the feeling they were still just warming up. There are, however, these things called buses and they don’t wait for you just ‘cos you don’t feel like leaving yet.

As usual, Big Poppa P’Ashton is your hookup, holla if you hear him.

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