The gig was at the Scala formerly-cinema just by King's Cross, and it is a *gorgeous* venue, although I'm not sure about how performers would feel about it. But the inside is all marble staircases and the like and I love that sort of thing, and there were places to sit and plenty of raked room to stand and it was just generally good. And then there were bands.
Note : I know that people may or will know members of Greenhaus and/or Swarf. Please don't take offence at anything I might say if you can help it.
"I feel distressingly like I'm in a Massive Attack documentary" : Greenhaus
Greenhaus are a band. I think they're aware of that, but beyond that I don't think there's been any kind of agreement about what kind of band they are, or what music they're making.
The beginning of the set was remarkably unprepossessing both musically and visually - I couldn't tell you what the first two songs were at all. This was a shame, because when they made it to the third (I think) song, 'Generator', I was suddenly quite impressed, but it wasn't quite enough to lift the previous disappointment. The following song was something about musical idols - and why won't bands learn when to finish a song? There was nothing wrong with this song at all, except that it missed the clear ending point and noodled on for another two minutes, at which point I lost concentration. So I don't know if there was another song between that and the real high point of their set or not.
Yes, they really did something good. Pulling a subtly engaging female singer up on stage, they played a song from their new album - I'm going to hazard a guess from their website that the song might have been 'That Time Again'. This was beautiful, soaring, and above all an actual *song*; if they can do this sort of thing that well then why on earth isn't there more of it?
There followed 'Stoned', the song which prompted me to generate the title of this section. It really was sub-Massive Attack Music To Have Taken Drugs Before and while it was actually quite good, it was such an unpleasant change from the song before that, once again, I just switched off. I think they had a couple more songs before they finished; I'm not sure.
The set went through so many different styles of music it felt more like a label compilation than the work of a single band. But there were some really good moments in there. It's just a shame they were mostly drowned out in a tangled mass of sound and that blasted oh-so-credible screen showing pretentious footage of sea creatures and David Bowie.
"And I want one of *those*" : Swarf
I'd only knowingly heard one Swarf song before, 'Vision', and that's so good that I was really hoping for good things from this band who, after all, come from my home area and all.
I really wasn't disappointed. And I'll say now that I've no idea which was what song apart from 'Fall' which it turned out I had of course heard before; it didn't matter which song was which, they were *all* good and beautiful and several of them moved me to tears. liz_lowlife is gorgeous, and has a fantastic and powerful voice. I want to be able to say something serious and critical about them, but I really can't - they just made me so *happy* listening to them, and it all welded together in one glorious delicate mesh wall of sound. And then they went.
I know I can't have one, because he's all taken and things, but I still want one. :)
"Oh my god, it's" : John Foxx (and indeed Louis Gordon)
Build up. Build up. Build up. The bastards. I was already at fever pitch anyway and exhausted from walking and standing and then I had to stand there waiting listening to the endless mixes of 'Fade To Grey' and 'Seventeen' by Ladytron...
Oh, so that's what Louis Gordon looks like - somewhat distressingly like Mark Williams actually. Fair enough. Now come on and - oh my god, it's John Foxx.
And then I had one of those moments where I looked at someone I'd idolised a little and thought "Oh, he's kind of old, he's not really John Foxx any more". I don't know if any of you ever get that, but it can happen. I listened to the first song - a (mostly) instrumental I didn't know - slowly slipping into disappointment.
And then the next song came. Also one I didn't know ('UltraViolet/InfraRed') - but for this, John Foxx was singing. And suddenly, oh my god, it's John Foxx. It's actually John Foxx, right there, looking like John Foxx and sounding exactly like John Foxx and oh my god it's John Foxx. And then it was all, well, just incredible, really.
That particular song was brilliant. I'm having difficulty remembering what order things came in because I was so excited, but in general the set was old, familiar songs in the centre framed by two sections of the most recent stuff. All was excellent. 'Drive', 'Broken Furniture' and 'Dust And Light' - all off the most recent album - were quite brilliant, more than enough to make me want the album very much.
As for the old things, he played 'Plaza' which truly made my night, and surrounded it with 'Metal Beat', 'He's A Liquid', 'Just For A Moment', and 'Touch And Go'.
'Just For A Moment' was frankly magic; almost everyone knew it, and started off singing along, but then drifted into silence as rays and rays of sparkling white lights illuminated the hall. I was moved to tears and I'm sure I wasn't the only one. It was so beautiful.
He finished up with a version of the Ultravox! song 'My Sex', and then, after we'd shouted for quite a while, came back and did another version of it which was gorgeous; followed that with an anthemic, enormous rendition of 'Shifting City'. And then the very last song : a reworking of 'Endlessly', one of my absolute favourites. It was stunning, just stunning, and I was dancing and probably crying again and oh my god it's John Foxx and...and...and, wow. And then it was over.
John Foxx, guys. Like, right there. And Louis Gordon, who is, as well as being a very good musician with a surprisingly good voice, wonderfully enjoyable to watch because he's so impossibly into what he's doing.
John Foxx. I mean, John Foxx.
Also should mention running into sheridanwilde (access all areas due to roadieing duties, damn him) and The Ubiquitous Man With The Straw, who was dealing with the tickets (who the hell is that guy anyway?), and lproven and Rebecca ("We're just here to see Swarf - I don't even know who John Foxx *is*!"). Also encountered, apparently, the boys from Mechanical Cabaret - wandering around with an extraordinarily beautiful thing who I've actually been stalking around London. I've still no idea who he is, he's clearly not part of the band. Ah well.
In summary, ~bounce~. And indeed wow.