Sunday, December 18, 2005


One of my beloved's great insights is that Mark E. Smith is a pioneer of the whole "HI DERE" mode of discourse.

Mark E. Smith is of course the lead singer of The Fall, one of John Peel's favourite bands. And John Peel died on Irene's birthday. So as not to wreck Irene's birthday buzz they decided to hold a load of John Peel Day concerts a couple of weeks early, on the 13th of October. In Dublin the Peel Day stuff was on in The Hub, and the line-up promised two acts who had recorded Peel sessions together with two who had not. However, in the end Peel sessioners Luggage did not play, with Mr Luggage instead compering. His laconic understated manner was oddly inappropriate for this kind of carry on, despite making him one of the more engaging front men the Irish music scene has produced.

In between the sets they did a lot of playing music of the sort Peel would have liked, perhaps replicating a particular one of the Festive Fifties. Sadly, the DJs were a bit reliant on shite MP3s downloaded for free from the interweb, meaning that everything ended up sounding like it was produced by The Go! Team. Or maybe they were trying to reproduce the inerference-tastic experience of Irish listening to Peel. The venue also played videos (without sound) of a variety of tracks from the early 1980s... christ the video for 'Geno' is amazing, whatever about what Dexy's did after that, it is a real shame that the early line-up could not stay the course. Another impressive video was that for The Jam's "A Town Called Malice". Conceptually it was a simple case of the band being filmed while miming to the song, but the execution had the kind of verve and swishness that you would associate with someone as image conscious as Weller.

Er, sorry, this is all going a bit incoherent. The first of the bands on tonight were House of Mexico. I do not know if they have any link at all to Peel, but they did sound like one of those bands you would get playing in the Buttery when I was in College (the Buttery was the name of the college bar, gentle reader). I thought they were a bit pedestrian, but my partner in crime (a gentleman I can identify only as "Dave") was more impressed.

The next band were none other than FEMALE HERCULES. WOAHHHH! These guys may never have recorded a Peel session, but you cannot but think that he would have liked them. Eh, I'm not sure why I say that, what I really mean is that I like them and so all right-thinking people, such as John Peel, should also like them. They play a kind of souped up primal rock-n-roll with more than a taste of rockabilly. Plus, they are fronted by a rock animal who plainly lives to, er, rock, 24-7. The other two guys in the band may not rock 24-7, but they certainly do while onstage, so when you have Female Hercules playing in front of you, you know you are in for a an uncompromising treat.

I feel more people in the world should be aware of this great band, and I am privileged to live in the city where they still play gigs on a reasonably frequent basis. I was also grateful to their decision to cover 'Ex Lion Tamer', in tribute to the great man (insofar as it was on his programme that they first heard it). All in all the surf-psychobilly sounds of the Irish Buff Medways more than repaid the price of admission.

The last band on the bill were Hey Paulette. They recorded at least one Peel session at some stage in the late 1980s to early 1990s. I met one of them at a party once, and had a conversation about H.P. Lovecraft. He did not like him, or at least his girlfriend was very vocal on the idea that Lovecraft is as nothing compared to Edgar Allan Poe. Still, if Poe is so good, how come there's no role-playing game based on his writings, eh?

Moving back to today, Hey Paulette live seemed like the kind of band who released records on Sarah back in the day. I cannot judge whether they are a particularly good example of the genre, as it was already past my bedtime when they came on, so I made my excuses and left before they had finished their first song. It might be a good idea if gig organisers bore in mind that not everyone who goes to gigs is a time-wasting dilettante like themselves, and some of us have very important meetings to go to in the mornings, meetings for which we need to be on top of our game.

So anyway, this gig - value for money? Given that Luggage did not play and I missed most of Hey Paulette, you might think not. However, the admission was half-nothing, and Female Hercules played a stormer, so I judge this event a success.

I know that many movers and shakers in the Irish indie world read this blog - maybe in future they could make sure that the gigs they organise end at a sensible time. That way, people with proper jobs could stay to the bitter end, and not just dilettantish time-wasters.

1 comment:

ian said...

Disturbingly, this post is Google's first if you search for "Female Hercules" with "band", majing me OFFICIALLY FEMALE HERCULES' BIGGEST FAN IN THE WORLD! Dude.