Wednesday, 22 December 2010

No nostalgia rides

I was on the telephone talking to Paul the other night. About the concretes, his journey around the nation in the grip of ice and snow and how Stephen Pastel had come to walk him back to his hotel. And we spoke of the days when going to a concert was the straightforward. Seeing things is harder these days – for so many reasons – tiredness, disinterest, a better television schedule, fucked transport systems and of course children. Sometimes things just stop. Although I watched the end of some tacked together BBC4 festival programme with abhorrent middle class fathers leading their children through fields of mud in an effort to tap into some sort of a vision of a utopian Britain where everyone – I mean white C2 families can listen to dirge like rock and non threatening ‘other world’ bands whilst their children eat ‘vegan’ foods and paint themselves as they embrace ‘free politics’. I will never parade my children as accessories for festival fun times. I for one am social responsible and secondly – hippies do festivals and you should never trust a hippy.

But sometimes I would like to watch a moment of live music. Now if that moment of live music was a multi-platinum act and tickets were timed to go on sale at 7.16 am on the first Tuesday in March when the moon was waxing and not waning, then I guess I would have to join some sort of internet/ phone ticket system feeding frenzy with the masses – but I mean I would like to watch a band who are not moderately famous – who have not released a record – who have only played a handful of dates. I wanted to watch Jonny.

This crossing over of the independent, because we’re all ‘indie’ now both saddens and utterly unfazes me – I mean I shouldn’t be shocked by the nature of the capitalist control of culture – see how we fetishize all areas of existence. Note the build up to the forthcoming Creation Records documentary – I know I will watch it – will comment on its authentic voice and rally against the Sony sell out saying McGee had no option etc - but really Creation was a record label – it wanted my money – McGee and Dick Green wanted our money. Eventually they got it with the safety of simple driving rock guitars for mindless souls who love to sing in packs and enjoy the mob mentality of the imbecilic sections of the football terraces. Doing it for the kids? Really? Remember this was a label with Momus on it.

However – there was a time when you could turn up at a venue and venture inside and see the acts - without having to have a specific printed out piece of paper with several reference numbers and a time to collect. Of course I have bought tickets in advance – but it was a case of in advance – not at the first point of sale – the very minute they are released. Everyone wants a piece of it nowadays – how can Jonny sell out?

I first saw Euros Childs supporting The Concretes at the ULU in London. I had seen a glimpse of the Scandinavian group on a Glastonbury afternoon programme – they were wearing wigs and singing ‘You can’t hurry love.’ [Not a Phil Collins tribute – more a Nordic Velvets] I told Paul - as ever he had seen it - was already on the concretes tip - as he is wont to do – I bought an album and I thought very little else about it.

I read The Concretes were playing – I gave Paul a ring – we decided to get some tickets - I actually think he had purchased tickets for the tour already - but I was in London so we could go together –there was no rush. We purchased tickets – and Euros was on the supporting bill. First on – early start. He was an absolute revelation – I had dabbled on the outer fringes of the Gorky’s Zygotic Monkey catalogue of sounds. Listened to some Peel sessions, bought an EP but to be honest I didn’t even know who Euros was and that the Gorky’s had split. But I was mesmorised by his performance and that of his band – two from Radio Luxembourg at the time [now Racehorses – and they are always worth a listen with their wonderful craft of Floyd, Furries and Cole Porter ] and Richard/ or James Tam – they were awesome. It was mainly Chops – possibly with Henry and Matilda and Billy the Seagull – and what prime cuts they were – finishing the set with ‘First Time I saw You’ – this brooding, beautiful bass filled grower full of pure sentiment and love. First time I saw you – skirt was white and blue – first time I saw you. And throughout enthused with good cheer. I was laughing, dancing and feeling thoroughly entertained.

I have since seen Euros on several other occasions. I have always got inside the venue. I buy my albums off the fella himself normally after a concert – yes I am nearly forty but I get some sad flash of ‘teenage excitement’ in meeting the artist, having the record signed. And I once stage dived at a Teenage Fanclub concert – it was being filmed for Snub TV. It was busy – the Manics were the first act – all clashed and fired up - but we [me and James – a super cool young continental] got in. Probably bought our tickets a week or so in advance.

Now Norman Blake from Teenage Fanclub and Euros Childs from Euros Childs are Jonny and everyone wants a piece of the indie action. How everyone has suddenly awoken to the subtle charm of ‘Do the Caveman’, or ‘Which Witch is which?’ is new to me but it seems I can’t get a ticket for this gig. But as I said -no nostalgia rides – the whole shape of the music scene has changed – has mutated and the mob has muscled in. I will read the review in the Guardian. I will put ‘WegotTickets’ web page in favourites and their telephone number in my mobile and next time be that little bit faster.

Or I might just decide to stay at home.

Sometimes that is just that bit easier.