Monday, May 08, 2006

Dave's Clipping Archive (I)



The above review is from the British music weekly, New Musical Express, November 18th, 1989. (Click on this image for a larger, readable version.) The show was at a London venue called the Powerhaus. The first band, God's Little Monkeys, was a sort of punked-up folk band from York, I think. We played several shows with them on our first and second tours. Originally they were called Malcolm's Interview, a name which meant nothing to me, but I thought sounded better than GLM. Nice folks, though for me their songs had a sort of opportunistic quality, in a political sense. They had an anti-apartheid song, a song about religious repression, etc, covering the general scope of Britain's left-wing scene. Because some preacher had railed against their name in public, they worked this into the conclusion that they were somehow being persecuted. Right. They were a decent band, though. Veldt, I do not remember at all. Must have been backstage or something. And actually, I don't remember too much about our portion of the show, either. I do suspect that the booing the writer refers to was not actually directed at our second album, so much as Chuck's refusal to play some stuff from the first album. "The First Day of Spring" was often requested by beer-soaked punters, and was not in our repertoire at that time because it was Bernie Heveron's song, and he was no longer in the group. Chuck would try to explain this to audiences, but it did no good. They would get angry anyway.

This is a pretty typical example of Britain's pop music press reportage. While it's generally favorable, (except for that snip about the second album being booed), it doesn't really report on the event in any meaningful detail. It always annoys me when a writer resorts to obscure references to items in their own record collection to bolster their authority, rather than doing the hard work of writing in clear descriptive language. I have no idea what he's talking about in most cases, and I was at the show. (And that's a vibraphone, pal, NOT a xylophone.) These writers tended to take a faintly sarcastic, weary tone to their writing. I often wondered if some of them even liked music at all. I do enjoy the reference that perhaps suggests that my saxophone playing is "squirty," though it's too clever by half. And valuing cleverness over substance is what plagued nearly all of Britain's music writers.

1 comment:

Mark said...

After being lucky enough to be introduced to the music of the CJE just before the release of the second album in the UK, I was also lucky enough to be able to see this show soon afterwards. To this day I have still never seen a better live show! (apart perhaps from the next CJE show I saw in London - at the Mean Fiddler I think). Words simply do not describe the atmosphere at a CJE show, and the experience(s) truely will live on with me for ever.