Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Just cool it man - just cool it

We travelled to concerts by car – the trusted Hillman Imp, a Mk3 Escort, that white car – young drivers and young minds. Reversing up motorways in the dead of night, missing bends and turning off lights as we careered down country roads and lanes to the cities. Well, city mainly – we used to visit Hull a great deal. I used to live in Hull. Well not Hull but Borough – where they made the aeroplanes – but we moved and like the lost son – I would return in my youth for my fix of independent music.

The Aldephi is one of the most wonderful venues you could ever set foot in. Run by Paul Jackson – the John Peel of the North East – as far as I’m concerned. You see the Adelphi opened everybody’s eyes to something new. It just let bands play and play and play. It was cheap – it was cheerful and when I was writing my fanzine all those years ago it meant i got to interview bands and do all that music journalism stuff.
I would take the portable cassette player – a Phillips one- i think and my list of questions and corner some unsuspecting member of the Razorcuts, The Telescopes, Brilliant Corners, The Siddleys, The Valentines or Spacemen3 amongst others, and rattle them off and tape our wild ramblings – both pre and post gig. I sometimes taped the gig as well – the tapes now sit in the garage somewhere – gathering dust and gently warping in the humid air. With other concerts bought from record fairs in Leeds and Doncaster or tapes of gigs sent by a friend from a friend of a friend’s band. They are all there somewhere – documenting that C87 movement – the next wave of shambling cacophony.

The Aldephi holds about two hundred people – it might be more – it could be less – when The Williams played it normally held about 12 to 15 people. So you can see my view of its capacity is somewhat sullied by the solitary clapping of a man at the bar. And we used to take people to the gigs – who clearly couldn’t be bothered to clap. This is of course a lie – and written to reignite an interest in The Williams – actually we did play in front a few fairly sizeable crowds – that’s what you get from supporting better bands. Except when we supported Tombstone Grafitti – there were shit [this is of course in no way bitter that they went on to wondrous fame as Hull’s own Kingmaker the next month] We were a little avant garde by that time – I blame pale saints and sonic youth.

But as i keep saying this is about the music – and on a warm,warm night in June, the 21st actually – i found that out because someone else has kindly listed all the concerts they have been to – it just so happens he was there – printing the date on his blog - we had ventured over to see Spaceman3. Spaceman 3 - a band of brothers united by the stooges, the velvets and can [amongst other things]playing rock n roll to the indie kids on Vox 12 string Teardrops and overdriven amps. I came to late to the Space[man] race but soon understood the [raw] power of their sonic assault was worth investing in. From the early drones to the open soul of Purity and beyond the Spaceman 3 felt like a connection.

I wasn’t expecting the Adelphi to be heaving – but it was.

The whole place had an edge. The band had an edge – whilst sitting on chairs.

It was that kind of night.

The Summer of Love was over and the terrace crowds had rained down to the local bars in search of new sounds and experiences. It was if Oldham’s Firm had popped by for a bit of the old droney drone. The old fuzz, fuzz, fuzz with that LSD buzz. And the Adlephi was getting hotter. Minute by minute as the crowd swelled and swayed in the haze – man. I had already interviewed Sonic – round the back – all positive words for the [fucked] up children of the world.

And now had flipped the tape to record the gig.

And still it grew hotter – and more people joined the already heaving room – I was talking to my brother about this concert at the weekend and he informed me that he stood on a ledge – throughout the whole thing. I was somewhere in the first two rows – camera ready for that fanzine shot – when I sort of remember looking down on myself. It was if the swelling of the crowd and somehow just let me go – and I was there just having a look around the place from above.

And slowly they began to play – with Sonic ‘cooling down’ the crowd – if you don’t want this song in fifteen instalments – he told us – righteous – but we wouldn’t have minded. It was going to be a long night. And still the heat rose – and sweat turned to steam as we swayed and rolled our way through a spaceman set.
So hot in there.

And suddenly through the haze a guitar – [coming down] gently repeating – three notes – Jason seated – it’s so hot – but we’re all beginning to connect – except the scallies – wanting revolution and dope to ease their mid week blues – but I’m with Jason now – floating in space with all the other gentleman and all the other ladies. As the guitar repeats and gently we crave for a stream – to wash away all of our discomfort – not a stream – an ocean – right inside the Adelphi – to cool us down – but right now it’s the cool sounds that are letting us breathe through that simple refrain that it’s so hot.

And in the heat the tape would strain and warp – stretch these simple sounds into squelches and screeches –and monotone noises. Sonic’s interview held in stasis – trapped in the tape – along with the beautiful sounds the spacemen made that evening.

There was a version from Spaceman 3 - but I found this lurking in the background - and it was Jason's song afterall.