III by The Black Heart Procession

I’m listening to III by The Black Heart Procession again. I think it is one of the most underrated albums of all time. I only know one other person who likes it, and he writes on this blog. It isn’t even the album that comes up first when you search for it on YouTube.

It is yearning, hopeful, deeply romantic music. I always come back to it when a certain mood sets in. I’m not entirely sure what that mood is, it isn’t sad or nostalgic but there is an element of melancholy I guess. It speaks to things that we have lost. People, feelings, time. Most of all time. It keeps on passing on and we don’t seize hold of it.

If you like Tindersticks you should listen to this. Sometimes I find myself singing track 3, ‘Once Said at the Fires’ without even realizing it. Music that sings to you is magical. It doesn’t happen often. I wouldn’t want to live in a world where this album doesn’t exist.III by Black Heart Procession will make you dream and smile and cry and think. If it doesn’t touch something in you we will probably never be friends.

Music is Magic

Music is magic, it is an unexplainable force. Music is mankind’s greatest invention, a swirling swarm that resonates deep within us. It is no cheap trick or clever slight of hand, it is pure sorcery with a powerful pulse that can never be stopped. It may not feed us, carry us from home to workplace or cure fevers and pox but just listen! Please just listen!

Music is for everyone and can be accessed by all, whether hummed on a mountain top, played on a homemade instrument in a jungle village or pumped out across a muddy first world field at 200 decibels! Music has the power to immobilize armies and make the most cynical ponder. It conspires to make workaholics stop, small children to be calmed and sullen teenagers to smile.

Music can be worn as a cloak to help you hide from the troubles outside. It can be used to show love, anger, disappointment, pleasure, injustice and rage. It can mark a grand entrance or soften a sad departure. Music hovers, wraps it arms around us and sews magic in the depths of subconscious thinking.

Music has been proven to cure dementia, connecting neural pathways long since diverted, crumpled thoughts now straightened. We need music as much as we need food! Music is one of the few things that can unite us, bring different sides together. It softens edges and bristles emotions. It is a back drop to history, a wind of change when the Berlin wall came down; it marks our memories, helps to recall lighter days and allows reflection when the skies are dark. Music can symbolize truth or dishonour. It weaves and ducks, rises and dips, alone or in a crowd of thousands.

Music is ours, controlled by no-one, we can compose it and pass it on. A two note melody whistled while staring at the rain or a 100 piece orchestra striding forth in the world’s most expensive concert hall. Both are the same, both have the same effect. A seasoned violinist with a lifetimes training or a toddler tapping out a rhythm on a table top. Music is for rich and poor and I adore (it).

Brighton

Brighton was where it all went wrong. Not that it was Brighton’s fault. There are enough terrible things that have happened because of Brighton without adding me to the list. My failure was always there, it was just waiting for Brighton to make it apparent. Why did we even move there? I asked O, what did we possibly think we would achieve? It’s important to be close to London but not in London, that’s what we said isn’t it?, I said to O, the best music is created on the periphery, we were agreed on that, but we needed to be able to strike at the centre when out time came. Our time never came though did it? I said to O whilst clutching my can of Stella, We were ahead of our time weren’t we? That’s what we told ourselves whilst we shouted and screamed our tuneless tunes wasn’t it? What if it was our time though and we missed it? What were we doing? I asked O, why did we miss it? I was probably drunk, but what was your excuse, what were you doing – watching Diagnosis Murder I expect?

We moved to Brighton to create a music that would move mountains and what did we create? I asked O. Almost nothing, that’s what, we just got angrier and angrier and more and more drunk I said to O. Thank God we lost all sense of shame in Brighton, that’s the only saving grace, the only way I can cope with thinking about it all. When did it happen though, I used to have a keen sense of my own shame, it was one of the best things about me, I said to O, what happened to it? O took a sip of his drink and looked down at the floor; it probably left in shame after you knocked over that man with crutches in Brighton town centre he said.

The Nightmare Before Christmas – 2008

Curated by Mike Paton and the Melvins

Butlins, Minehead, 5 – 7 Dec 2008

Firstly, in case you didn’t know, Mike Patton used to be in a mighty fine band called Faith No More. It’s been quite a long time since those days though, and the music that PAtton likes to make has changed somewhat since he was in Faith No more…

I’ll skip the chronolgy for now, I’ll probably get it wrong again. We turned up on the Friday, a little later than planned after I sat in bloody traffic for 6 hours! Still getting into the chalet was a smooth process once again and it wasn’t long before we were out watching some quality bands. This is THE way to run a festival if you ask me!

So on to the music…highlights of the weekend have to be Monotonix, The Melvins, Ghostigital, Fantomas and Dalek, amongst others. There was a definite mixture of heavy guitar bands (like Isis and The Melvins), more epic and somber bands (like The Black Heart Procession and Soulsavers), and heavily electronica-driven bands (like Dalek or Ghostigital).

Deserving a special mention, Monotonix have a truly out of control live show…never seem anything like it before. The band set up right in the middle of where you’d normally find the pit at most punk shows I’ve been to. Drum kit there, and the guitarist and singer huddling round, then chaos ensued! It didn’t take long before the singer was riding across the crowd in a bin then being carried around playing the drums!

Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Wedgewood Rooms

Support: Can’t remember!

We went to see the Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Wedgewood Rooms on 28th June. I’ve heard of them and about them quite a few times before, but we really decided to go on the back of the film Dig, about this band and the Dandy Warhols, narrated by Corey Taylor from the Dandys.

The support band were fairly good, but ultimately unmemorable. When the BJM hit the stage though, you could feel the expectation in the air and I thought that the band delivered everything I could have hoped for. There was a certain charming shambles to the proceedings – frontman Aaron disappeared off stage twice during the gig, only to be retrieved by bandmates on both occasions.

The music was fantastic though, deceptively simple by incredibly layered and building up into an awesome wall of sound! I didn’t expect the music to be as uplifting as it was, but they were a great live experience and I’d recommend to anyone to go and see them if you get the chance!

Jello Biafra live at the Firestation

Last night I went to see Jello Biafra’s spoken word show. He’s touring in support of his In the Grip of Official Treason 3CD spoken word release. And the show is very good, Biafra is a very good speaker, he’s interesting, engaging and charismatic, with a lot to say.

The content is superbly well put together – he clearly knows his material well. He’s also extremely comfortable with his audience, particularly given at this show – due to some kind of ‘oversight’ at the venue, Biafra had to relocate to an upstairs bar half way through his scheduled show and he was essentially just stood a few feet from the crowd in the bar talking. He’s also happy to take questions from the floor – including on the split up of the Dead Kennedys which people were still keen to ask about and hear about, even after all these years. He could have just buggered off home too, but wanted to stay and carry on the show, which is nice!

Not only is he a good speaker, he’s still got the old fire and he’s pissed off with the US government, the UK government and the war in Iraq in particular. I’m not going to go into detail, but I would urge you to go and see the show and pick up a copy of the spoken word album release whilst you’re at it. As I’ve already said, it’s very well put together and the content is very good. There’s a number of themes running through the material in the show, but the overwhelming point is Biafra’s complete distaste for the US political regime.