The best bits of June/start of July
Yeah, alright, well, no, maybe not. There were going to be themed digest posts (‘live music in June’, ‘fightsports in June’ and so forth) but it appears I am too much of a lazy git to do even that. I’m just going to list the best bits of recent times. The bad bits can go hang.
~ I spent £40 on a ticket to see the Sex Pistols at The Academy on the 11th of June and almost immediately started wondering about precisely why I’d done such a silly thing. I love the Pistols, of course, but I’m not an enormous fan or anything like that (I think The Clash were by far the better band, as do all correct-livin’ folk) and I can’t say I’m hugely invested in their mythology (although I do like it). They’re really old now and last reunion around they were pretty open about the fact that they were just doing it for the money. It was bound to be crap, wasn’t it?
It wasn’t, surprisingly. Putting ‘standard disgustingness of a sold-out Academy’ aside, they were actually really fun. I’m sure it’s not nostalgia as such, since I wasn’t even alive when they were knocking about, but their songs have such resonance. It’s hard not to get a tiny bit excitable when the riff to this or that starts up. The sound was absolutely rotten (Edit: Arf. Unintentional) and this may or may not completely explain why they sounded so darn messy at times, but that doesn’t matter. That’s not why you go to see the Pistols, or at least I would hope not. I really enjoyed them.
~ Much like Mr Pryke I found myself happily getting more than I anticipated at Birmingham Town Hall on the 12th, expecting as I was an ordinary gig from The Destroyers which would include collaborations with The Dholblasters and Sanchita Pal in the middle of their set. As it turned out, for the first half of the evening The Destroyers formed the backbone of a larger ensemble which performed Cristina Piňero Maese’s “Scheherazade’s Rhapsody”, telling the tale of Scheherazade’s own thoughts and dreams during her story-telling captivity. I know even less about Indian classical music than anything else I find myself writing about while knowing nothing about it, but I really enjoyed this. Sanchita’s singing was wonderful and I really enjoyed the dancing, particularly the silhouetted routine behind a curtain in the second movement.
After a break the event transformed into more typical Destroyers gig (if such a thing can be said to exist. They entered the hall and approached the stage from the back as a monks procession, cowled and robed. Of course). My usual affliction of ‘having written about them 381,789 times before’ afflicts away with a vengeance and as such I have nothing to add, but the big finale when everyone came back to the stage (including the dancers) could be picked out as a highlight. I keep thinking that The Destroyers won’t be able to overload my senses any more than they already have, but they keep managing it. I salute.
~ The Courtesy Group! They’re always ace and were once again on Monday the 16th at The Hare And Hounds. Use was made of a chair and a dustpan brush. I sat on the chair afterwards, because my legs were tired.
~ The finale of this years series of The ‘Oo may have been a touch on the crappy side (on the plus side: ‘Midnight’ was brilliant), but Toby Hadoke’s Moths Ate My Dr Who Scarf one-man-show at Bloxwich Library Theatre on the 19th was very warm and fun. The jokes, unsurprisingly, are about fandom in general and contemporary society more so than about ‘Dr Who’ itself (so don’t panic, you don’t need to know any minutiae or anything), and into this he weaves autobiographical stuff that is actually genuinely moving. I’d really recommend this to all.
~ The less said about the incredible anticlimax of a main event of the boxing at The Civic on the 20th the better*, but there were some good things on the undercard. The go-go-go Midlands Area welterweight title fight between Mark Lloyd and Andrew Alan Lowe had constant action for the eight rounds it lasted, and Steve Saville managed to just about squeak past Baz Carey in a fun brawly four-rounder. It’s always nice to see Lyndsey Scragg doing well, and the same goes for Rob Hunt even if he didn’t look at his best against the entertaining but ever-unorthodox (that’s me being all subtle and polite, y’see) Alex Brew.
~ The Big Weekend O’ Boxing continued at the NIA on the following night. The main event here was a fantastic affair and incredibly exciting to watch, although I shake my head at anyone who still thinks that Amir Khan is even remotely close to world class at the moment. His handspeed is a thing to behold and I’m glad I’ve had the chance to actually see it in real life, but not only does he keep dropping his hands and sticking his (weak) chin out, Michael Gomez has now proved that he can be hurt with bodyshots too.
The undercard had more than its fair share of good stuff. The mantle of “Best Four-Rounder I Have Ever Seen” (belonging to Martin Gethin vs Baz Carey) was very nearly transferred to D. Mitchell vs Martin Concepcion. I was happy although surprised to see Steve Bendall get the judges nod against Paul Smith for the English middleweight title in a scrappy but fun affair. Don Broadhurst looked absolutely fantastic in his dominant win, and the finish in which Curtis Woodhouse put Wayne Downing on the floor for the count with a volley of bodyshots was worthy of a highlight real.
~ It was another profoundly distasteful ‘sold out venue’ experience at The Hare And Hounds on the 22nd and there were moments of distinct unpleasantness to have to endure, but Melt Banana proved worth it. ‘Grindcore’ is often where they’re said to fall, but (although I stand by my years-long protest that a genre name doesn’t equate to a qualitative judgement) that really doesn’t feel right. Rickidickidickidow, rickidickidickidow, shriek shriek shriek shriek. Only catchy. And dynamically varied. That’s how to describe them. And they’re aaaawesome.
The best bit (as with last time they were over here) was the ‘short songs’ bit – a series of single ideas, single hooks, each presented without any additional nonsense to waste your time. Occasionally I think that all pop music should be like that.
~ Oh man, Bacchus (under the Burlington Hotel in Brum) is great. I love that place.
~ The UK Cagefighting Championships card at The Skydome on the 29th was pretty poor on the whole, but it’s always nice to see Team Supreme going undefeated. Well… they did as far as I remember, anyway. The results don’t seem to have been sent to any of the fightfinder sites (there is this…).
~ I had fun at Old Man Mulvaney’s retirement do on the 4th of July.
~ There’s been some good fighting for watching on screens. In terms of MMA, Rampage vs Forrest Griffin was a classic for the ages. When it comes to boxing, Manny Pacquiao vs David Diaz wasn’t really a ‘fight’ as such but it was a genuinely amazing performance from Pacman, and everyone needs to watch Ricardo Torres vs Kendall Holt II. 61 seconds of absolute hell-on-wheels.
And that’s about it, I think. Supersonic this weekend! Ooh, it’s gonna be great.
* This is hidden away in the netherworld of the asterisk due to the main post being about the good things this month, but I did feel the need to say something. Wayne Elcock vs Darren McDermott had been building up for a ridiculously long time. People had talked about it for years, but it actually seemed like a possibility when McDermott won one of those ever-valuable British title eliminators in February 2007, and Elcock won the title itself that September (I was there). Elcock proceeded to kill a bit of time by getting seven bells knocked out of himself at the hands of Arthur Abraham, but soon enough the time came to defend the belt. There were mumblings about Elcock preferring to face LocalTicketSeller Supreme Matthew Macklin and McDermott needing to win a final eliminator (told you those things were valuable), but eventually the big Black Country vs Birmingham derby was signed. It was On Like The Fall Of Saigon.
Except it wasn’t. Elcock got a chest infection. Words were exchanged in the press, McDermott’s camp accused Elcock of ducking him, Elcock’s camp accused McDermott of wanting to get out of it, and the fight was rescheduled for the 20th of June. It was On Like The Film Tron, but where oh where? Fightfans waited breath a-baited as practically every building in the West Midlands county was named as a venue. It’s at AVEC! No it’s not – it’s at The Skydome! Woah there Nelly – with less than a week to go, we’re moving it to The Civic!
The night itself came. Anticipation was building throughout and by the time the fight came around the atmosphere was something else. Our Macca was hailed as a hero by the ferociociferus (no real adjective could actually describe just how ferociociferus they were) crowd; the despised (for one night only. I’ll still support him when he’s against an opponent who’s unlucky enough to come from somewhere other than the Black Country) Elcock was looked upon as someone who’d swanned into our Yampy wonderhome and walked mud onto our carpets, dropped crumbs on our settee and made lewd comments about our daughter. In a metaphorical sense, I suppose he had. F’n Zulus.
The culmination of this epic campaign for fistic dominance and local supremacy?
Cut stoppage from an accidental clash of heads, R2.
I hate the entire world.