Tuesday, 8 December 2009

March 2009

Near the end of February, Luke and I were lucky enough to happen upon a Khunnt rehearsal at The Off Quays building, late on a Saturday night. The deal was struck there and then to have them play at the Narc. Fest that we were helping curate at the Star & Shadow Cinema later in the year. In a confined space, with the Blank Studios gear piled high around us, and the avian screams of the singer ringing out over truly disorientating levels of bass and guitar noise, it was the ultimate way to experience one of the best bands Newcastle has offered up in some time. Bizarre to think that one of the players is the same man who produced O’Messy Life...

I was also fortunate enough to see a rare appearance by the Country Teasers at Morden Tower, supported by Les Cox (Sportifs). Les Cox played arguably their best show in years; no doubt raising their game as a result of the family connection between the two bands (LCS drummer Christo and CT singer Ben Waller are brothers). Equally shambolic and intense, the Teasers played a marathon set that seemed to get progressively more divergent as the whiskey bottle by the mic stand was emptied.

It was at this show that I was offered the Milky Wimpshake work by Pete Dale, and we retired to the corner of the room to thrash out specifics on how the sessions would proceed.

At this juncture, My Attorney recorded some drum tracks for our long delayed second album/7” single release. Andy and I were lucky enough to get our resident session man Stuart Stone in to do drums for Missed Connection Room, using the upstairs room in the Cumberland Arms as a makeshift studio. Because we were all using headphone feeds for monitoring purposes, I was able to open the drum mics right up and capture the whole room. The wooden floors and sparse furnishing gave a really bright, expansive sound that should sound fantastic once mixed. We also made use of the old organ in the corner behind the stacked chairs for the choruses, and sampled some interesting beats off the built in drum machine too.

On the 14th, Girls Girls Girls visited to launch their album in Newcastle. The night on the whole was a resounding success: we had a large audience that covered our costs and the supporting bands played brilliantly. British Lichen Society was a punk, twelve minute tour de force of bass noise with Casio teeth. Education Education Education were a more grungey affair, while The Wooden Spoons conjured up images of the show bands of old: virtuoso guitar and key lines mixed with big anthemic numbers. The Morrissey disco which followed Gx3 was also packed with people coming across from PopKlubb over the road; at one point the floor in the Star & Shadow was full. Local artists from Newcastle Art College had also decked out the foyer with their works in progress for their degree shows, attracting a whole new clientele of art students to the gig. None of that can make up for the disaster that was the Girls’ set. Through no fault of their own, of course. After all the bands sounding great up until that point, one of the S&S amps blew just as the guys took to the stage, meaning much of their music was either murky or inaudible. It was a painful hour before the problem was diagnosed and in the end they abandoned their set in favour of doing the disco (using the monitors turned around to face the audience as a replacement PA). Again, the Star & Shadow equipment had ruined what was otherwise a successful evening and after about a month of prep organising the publicity and support, the Girls and I were understandably crestfallen.

At the end of the month, I began rehearsals with Ian Courtney for the Airstrip One shows that were scheduled to take place up in Edinburgh. During these meetings in Ian’s freezing spare room, I managed to capture a rough and ready recording of our repertoire, which would form the ‘Fall and Stay Down EP’.