Bang and bang and shoot.

SpeedyOrtiz_MA013 (1)I’m not getting to many gigs these days, a sad state of affairs that has been brought home to me by the recent White Denim and Flamin’ Groovies disappointments but even more so by the one date I have managed to make recently, a cracking evening at the Exchange in Bristol, in the company of Speedy Ortiz.

Speedy Ortiz

I’d forgotten quite how small the Exchange is. It’s tiny, the stage area not a whole lot bigger than a largish front room. But really, that’s great, if you’re one of the lucky ones with a ticket in your pocket and a lurid green band fastened tightly about your wrist. The whole standing expectantly in front of a stage, pint in hand, waiting for the band thing was as feverishly strong as ever, and I found myself making unrealistic promises to myself almost instantly. Two really strong support bands later (Personal Best and Empty Pools – both local, both terrific and both to be posted about at a later date, I promise. No, really…) and I was enjoying myself so much I was even beginning to think Speedy Ortiz were going to have trouble living up to expectations…

No worries, there, Speedy Ort-eez (we were to learn) were tremendous – rowdy, difficult and the ideal mixture of taut sloppiness to complement their awkward, harsh, delicate songs. Singer Sadie Dupois is (I’m sure I read) a poet and some sort of semi-academic talent, although I may be making this last part up, but is of course something of a pale beauty, as well. I don’t have a good visual memory, generally, but the image of Ms Dupois in her immodestly short skirt, bashing the shit out of her guitar is one that I think will linger… (I’m a little embarrassed to say I can remember precious little of the rest of the band – although on the recordings I can be heard saying “the drummer’s a bit of an animal, isn’t he?”, so I can’t have been slobbering all evening…)

It was a great set, running through a lot of material not on Major Arcana, the Real Hair and Sports EPs featuring heavily. Didn’t know these two records at the time, but I’ve quickly sorted this. There were superb versions of “Gary”, “Indoor Soccer”, “Plough” and “No Below”, a song she said she wasn’t keen on any more, but which I always find moving.

Actually, listening to the recordings, the band were excellent, no mean achievement seeing as regular guitarist Matt Robidoux has just gone on “indefinite hiatus”. Stand-in guitarist Devin McKnight did an admirable job (good enough for me to remain oblivious to the changes until yesterday…)

A lightning 45 minutes of feedback-drenched, fearsomely-loud overexcitement was over in a heartbeat, and in no time we were out on the street, ears ringing to the strains of encore “Taylor Swift”. A fair old racket, indeed.

All things considered, the recordings haven’t come out badly at all. I commend to you the following:

Gary

Plough

Doomsday

Casper (1995)

I will find a way…

flamin-groovies

I think I may be becoming a bit of a Jonah…

With last week’s White Denim disappointment still fresh in my mind, I’ve just been informed that the imminent Flamin’ Groovies tour of various Spanish cities has today been cancelled, due to the hospitalisation of Cyril Jordan.

As a teenager, I was obsessed with the Shake Some Action record, as were all my circle of friends – a graceful, effortless slice of Sixties pop that I still return to pretty regularly. Get well soon, Mr Jordan.

Gorgeous stuff…

 

Imagine if I’d gone and bought a ticket to, say, the Barcelona gig last night…

Fuera de aquí

0001969555_10The Lord giveth, and the Lord apparently taketh away.

Bugger.

I’m just hearing that White Denim’s Bristol date, a gig I’ve been looking forward to for far too long now, has been rescheduled from Tuesday 20th May to the 27th. The main problem with this is that the White Denim ticket pinned to my noticeboard has been sharing pride of place with a gleaming plane ticket to Madrid with 26th May written on it…

(You’ll understand, I hope, that this is a metaphorical ticket I’m talking about here – indeed, it’s a metaphorical noticeboard these days – and even I’m not daft enough to keep plane tickets on a metaphorical noticeboard.)

But anyway, yes, we’re off to Spain again, Madrid and Valencia this time, and as well as furiously boning up on my Spanish, I thought this time I’d do a bit of homework on Spanish indie. Consequently, I’ve spent this month’s Emusic allowance exclusively on records from Spain, and it turns out that’s not quite the act of folly that it sounds…

Terrier

Terrier are a boy-girl-boy-girl ensemble based in Madrid who have a record out on the Sonido Muchacho label of the same city, called Un Cadáver en el Mar. It’s a good old sixties twang-and-thrash affair which reminds me a lot of the Limiñanas records I was plugging last year. I can’t find anything in English about them and try as I might I can’t get much sense out of the Spanish music press sites (insert your own NME-related joke here…) so they’ll have to remain shrouded in a certain amount of old-fashioned mystery. I’m OK with that…

Here’s a clip of a track which is not on their new record but was apparently the lead track of a 2012 ep. It’s called Fuera de Aquí (Away from Here) and you can picture me with it blasting out of my footballer-sized headphones as I board a plane for sunnier times…