I’ve been looking very much forward to writing this particular blog. What a fascinating night. So much incident, it reminded me alot of that movie “nick and norah’s infinite playlist” only you know… not shit. It’s a fascinating read, I personally would love to hear a story like this but I was fortunate enough to be on the rollercoaster that was- just another night in oxford town.
I had my brother’s son’s naming ceremony in the afternoon in bristol which was pleasant, a lot of nice people and some music. I’d arranged to hit a gig in coventry but little did I realise that was a good 120 miles from where I was. I really wanted to go to it though, a unique venue called “taylor john’s house” where she keeps bees were playing, one of the numerous guardian tips. But i’d already driven that much that day and so decided to hit oxford, it never lets me down…
I get there, park up on cowley road. Three venues- nothing. I have gig listings on my phone which are updated daily and the sole one on there was hearts in pencil and secret rivals at the wheatshead i figured great opportunity to check out a venue i hadn’t seen. I go down there, twisting my ankle to FUCK on the way. Nearly cried I gotta say, it really really killed. And yeah- they’d cancelled. I sat there dumbstruck for a few minutes before leaving.
I wasn’t sure whether to include this part in the blog but it seemed really profound to me at the time. I was walking away from the venue when I saw this beautiful young girl, younger than me, on the street, homeless. I’d just bought some food and just wanted to do anything I could to improve things even temporarily so I gave her it, I was mega hungry later lol and she told me about her situation and how her boyfriend was also homeless, he was standing nearby. I gave her the money for them both to stay in a bed and breakfast for the night, I could barely afford it but at the time it felt like it would truly help them and give them faith.
I went back to the wheatsheaf to gather my thoughts and chatted with some guy about truck, frank turner and stornoway, he had this months night shift, and there was a gig down at the cellar starting at 10pm (the night had already been going on a bit). When I left to go to it, at the cellar, the girl and her boyfriend had gone. I hope they had a wonderful night.
The first couple of bands aren’t really terribly noteworthy. The first was an instrumental act who wore masks. In my opinion, masks aren’t entirely nessecary unless your instrumental band has flea on bass, dave grohl on drums and a reincarnated jimi hendrix on guitar. The next one reminded me a bit of how frank turner’s old band must have been live, very shouty and very minimalistic.
I wasn’t all that hopeful. The indie club was already underway at the academy and I thought I might go down there and sing along to some libertines to let off the steam. I headed to the bathroom and there were two guys putting make up on in the mirror, I figured they were the next band, Oxford isn’t that kinda place ya see. I asked if i would dig them and they said yes, yes I would. They cited darkness as the main comparison- yeah I was intrigued, so what?
This is how they looked on stage-
I’d never seen anything like the show they put on. I know there’s a bunch of bands that do dress up and that one band from seattle with the four armed guitarist (i’d love it if you don’t know them though ha like wtf?!) but whether there are others like them or not they were INcredible. I go to alot of gigs and this ticked every box for being up there with the best- rocked out, had an insane amount of fun, seen things i’d never even imagined let alone expected to see live. In the show the lead singer arm wrestled the guitarists head, the guitarists played while doing sit ups, they killed their arch enemy with music, oh and one of them was a cow! And to be honest, innumerable things that were just mind blowing. Oh plus everyone in the audience got a hug at the end! If you get a chance to see these guys, the singer said they were from brighton which is a shame as if they played oxford more i’d take up a season ticket to them.
Kinda mental but I haven’t even mentioned the music. You would be excused for thinking with all these assaults on the senses the music would take a back seat- damn wrong. The music is actually really fanTASTic! And yeah they are like the darkness, but an awesome version of them dressed as superheroes. The lead singer is charismatic and has a strong delivery, an amazing amount of dynamics vocally and can hold some killer notes. The cow also sings, it’s quite the spectacle! Oh I almost didn’t mention the guitarist’s playing- dramatic progression, showmanship, high notes like lazer beams, he plays like he’s straight out of a comic book, if that makes sense. He’s like if the silver surfer plays guitar. He might well, I don’t know I don’t read comics buddy!
Bottom line is, these guys are amazing, a unique and ethereal gift to your very being. Los Campesinos once spoke of “only a very few places you’re guaranteed to get a hug when you leave.” This is one. And not just physically, so will your faith in live music.