Back in early summer I found myself in London. After meeting people in pubs for drinks and stuff, my friend Mad King Ken and I went off for some nosh and headed out to Cafe Oto to see Matmos.
Pro-tip - if you are going to Cafe Oto, go down early enough to get a seat or don't bother going. The flat floor and low ceiling makes watching from the back a disengaging experience. We enjoyed this occasion a lot less than the night we went to in January.
A support act was on when we came in, some geezer who was making connections on some huge analogue Bond villain computer from which noises approximating to music were emanating. It looked stunning, but the more of it I heard the more I suspected that it was all just noise with nothing of a truly musical character to it. I am sure there are people who like listening to unmusical noise, but I am not one of those people and I was happy when this fellow ceased his labours.
Matmos themselves we were seeing more or less completely on spec. We had enjoyed visiting Cafe Oto in January and "Ken" was interested by some of their music when he listened to it on YouTube. But in Cafe Oto, looking at them from the back of a crowded room, we wondered if they were really all that. The first tune seemed to be like some kind of art project thing, some recorded voice talking away about stuff (possibly gay stuff (not that I am against that kind of thing, in its own place, between consenting adults)) with some more unmusical noises associated with it. The next track was something a bit more dancey and I think maybe if I was i) not old and tired and ii) somewhere you could dance I might have enjoyed bopping to at least some of it. I can't remember the third track, but it must have been a real corker because after it I said to Ken "maybe we should split". And so we did.
But as we went on our way, we had to accept that we would probably have enjoyed all this a lot more if we had been sitting down, able to rest our weary bones while drinking a beer or two. Matmos themselves seemed like an interesting twosomes, one a bit of a New York Muscle type in his vest, the other demonstrating that making music is a serious business by dressing like someone who has important matters to attend to in the office. It might well be that their music would repay close attention, but stuck at the back of Cafe Oto we were not in a position to give it that.