As part of my general love for all things Luke Haines, I went to see him again in January. This time round he was playing on his own in Whelans. I went on my own – my usual friends were too busy sitting in a pub talking about books. However, I unexpectedly met another friend there, who had wandered along with someone else to check out Mr Hate. The concert format this time was that Haines was on his own on a bare stage with none of the fancy costumes or projected images we had at the North Sea Scrolls event. Haines instead played songs and read from his books.
I would have to say that I did not really enjoy this as much as the North Sea Scrolls event (or indeed the concert at which I first saw Old Haines a couple of years back, also in Whelans). Partly it was a bit short – and to me the shortness seemed a bit needless, for this was a Sunday night and the venue was not trying to hurry events along so that they could start up an indie disco. And the event was not badly attended, so it's not like a demoralised Haines cut the gig short so he could slink off and cry into his pint.
The other not great thing about it all was the reading from the books. Now, in theory this should have been great – Haines is an amusing raconteur and the stories he has in his books are fascinating, but at the end of the day it is easy enough to just go and read the bloody books (or to acquire the audiobooks, read by one Mr Luke Haines). When I saw him first he treated us to anecdotes about the songs he was playing, and in a concert performance that is more what you want than accounts of the time Metallica came to his flat.
What music there was was however excellent. The wrestling tunes took on a new lease of life and seemed to work far better in the stripped-down live format than on record. Everything else was great too, with 'Bad Reputation' (his nasty song about Gary Glitter) packing a considerable bite. What was particularly fascinating was the tune that got the biggest recognition applause – 'Lenny Valentino', from the second Auteurs album. In retrospect, was that the Auteurs hit?
When the concert was over, I made my way home past the hellhole that is the Palace on Camden Street. A DJ was playing 'Rock and Roll Part 2', the Gary Glitter classic. I imagined Luke Haines, the creator of the song 'Bad Reputation', smiling away to himself.
That's enough Luke Haines for now, but I can once again remind readers that I have ready compiled a CD-R introduction to the man's music (for which there is no commercially available compilation or introduction). If anyone wants a copy, drop me a line. If you are the holder of copyright in the music of Luke Haines then I beg to inform you that this paragraph is entirely fanciful.
An inuit panda production