I often say to myself, Am I livin’ a righteous life?

misty in roots

Bugger!

I hate sport sometimes. Should’ve got on with this post, instead of watching the rugby.

Breathes deeply…

Well, I knew I’d be struggling to keep up with a run of four gigs in ten days, and true to form I’m a week late already…

The second date of my Spring bonanza came the day after the rough frenzy of the Sleaford Mods and involved a second trip down the motorway to the music capital of the West Country, my second favourite city, Brizzle. The venue this time was in the catacombs beneath Temple Meads, namely the Tunnels Club, an earnest little space which occasionally puts on some cracking evenings. Tonight “Misty in Roots, live and direct…”

Misty in Roots at The Tunnels Club

Any hopes of a heady evening in the company of serious dreads amid sweet-smelling clouds of ganja were predictably wide of the mark. A healthy looking hundred or so punters turned out, pretty much all of them white middle-aged guys such as myself, and were treated to an intense evening of warm, spiritual, grade A roots reggae from a gaggle of been-there, done-that and took-the-beatings real legends. A genuine privilege to be there.

By turns, shambling and then tight, the band wandered through a lengthy glowing set which touched on a number of high points from a 35 year career. Singer Delbert “Ngoni” Tyson led his troupe through the evening, and although he claimed at one point that he was just singing what he felt, beneath this disarming charm, there was a genuine discipline that playing together for most of your life will bring about.

It was a full, full sound too – massive bass, three piece brass section, nyabinghi drumming, edgy rhythm and lead guitars, spidery warm keyboards – a rootsy full house. As the band and the evening warmed up, the songs got longer, looser and began to splinter into dub styles. They were wonderful.

The recordings are quite good, although often marred by an enthusiastic white audience trying to sound like black folk and the age old problem of people who treat the band as a backdrop to their own conversations (one over-friendly stranger kept trying to start a conversation with me. Sorry mate); but, ho hum, such is the concert going experience these days….

Highlights were an extended, dubby Ghetto of the City, and intense, soulful versions of Jah See Jah Know and See Them ah Come. Enjoy them:

Ghetto of the City

Jah See Jah Know

See Them ah Come

Anyone’s guess how I got here!

CFpYpUyWMAAvmzt (1)Wow!

Gr-ea-t, rough night at the Exchange on Friday, courtesy of the indomitable Sleaford Mods.

Just, wow!

I’ve been to the Exchange a few times and always had a good time, but it always strikes me how small the place is. I remember Suuns and Speedy Ortiz being pretty packed, even though they’re pretty much niche bands still, so I was imagining it might get a bit tight with the Sleaford Mods in town. Simple… play two nights.

Old school, not sure too many bands would do that, these days.

Sleaford Mods at the Exchange, Bristol

Missed most of Kogumaza’s dense, swirling set, but they might be worth having a look at another time. Their standard indie, grungy look made the shambling figures who presently made their way to the stage stand out even more.

Andrew Fearn wandered on first and stood patiently on stage, obligatory beer bottle in hand, waiting for Jason Williamson to come skittering on later. Fearn’s role is apparently to sort out the rhythms and samples (they’re great, by the way – razor sharp, cheap and nasty beats and brain-numbing basslines), so by the time they’re on stage his only remaining function is to press a button and stand around looking pleased with himself.

Williamson, on the other hand, is a right old bundle of nervy anger and jerky awkwardness. Launching into a set which didn’t last much longer than an hour but which seemed to work in double time; it was as if he was drawing two breaths to every one of the rest of us. Shifting erratically about the stage, using a series of eccentric tics and semi-autistic gestures, he tore through a (Mc) flurry of sweary, semi-coherent tongue twisters with jaw-dropping energy and no-little dexterity. At the time, we thought he looked a bit like severely-constrained Mick Jagger in some of his stylings, but when Josie saw the YouTube videos afterwards, she said straight away that he had something of Ian Dury about him. (And she’s right…)

It was a cracking set, taking in Jobseeker, Jolly Fucker and Tied Up in Notts amongst a bunch of other profane classics. I would’ve liked to hear him deliver the “You walk around like you just wrote Jimmy Mac, fuck off, twat!” line from The Committee, but there was more than enough wit and smart-arsery to satisfy even the archest of punters.

He blew raspberries, swore royally and joked about like he was having a rare old time. Introducing the last song, he apologised for the shorter set and quipped that the previous night they’d played for two hours, brought sandwiches along and gave everyone a tenner. And with that he steamed into a version of Jobseeker which was actually a fair bit more boisterous than this version from the Thursday night

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc9CB4890nM%5D

(Presumably the feller with the sandwiches was round the other side…)

The recordings are a bit raucous but pretty representative of a hugely exciting evening. Get it down!

A Little Ditty

Jobseeker

Tied Up In Notts

Tarantula Deadly Cargo