Last year I was very excited to see the reformed Pavement play at Brixton Academy, The last time I'd seen them was about ten years before. It was at the same venue, it turned out to be their last gig but I think I was busy trying to light a cigarette when the final show announcement took place, and just presumed the power of the song “Here” was in itself enough to have the 4,000 crowd all leave in a mournful state. I read about the split four days later in the NME and thought “hang on I was there”. So this time it was nice to see them and end it knowing exactly what was going on. However as much fun as it was to be transported to my youth and reconnect with that feeling when the songs were new there was no real excitement because the story of that band and those songs had already been told. I think that is my problem with a lot of these nostalgic gigs, I understand that for a younger generation it may offer an opportunity to witness something that wasn't considered possible, but if you were there the first time perhaps you should be grateful you witnessed that history when it was being made and move on. I'm writing this of course because I've booked a gig on the night Of the Flaming Lips, Dinosaur Jr, Deerhoof show, which I feel I should be at and with your help I'm trying to convince myself it will be rubbish. “OOOh you've booked a show?” I hear you ask, well “yes” is the answer. I run a label with two friends called Records Records Records and we turn one in July and we have this show coming up...
Friday 1st July
Shacklewell Arms, 71 shacklewell Lane
Good I'm glad I got that in this is essentially a giant plug for this show and for a second there I couldn't work out how to shoehorn it in. Now back to the memories...
The first time I saw The Flaming lips was at the first Bowlie Weekender. It was the Belle and Sebastien one. I wasn't a massive fan of Belle and Sebastien though at the time my older wiser girlfriend was, and some of their songs had and still have a massive significance for me. Not so much however to prevent me from wanting to punch someone in the face after three days of duffle coats and lunch boxes,watching the Divine Comedy. Now if you know me I'm not a violent person, but I think I'd hit my twee quota for one weekend. Thank God for the respite that was Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion and Sleater Kinney, and of course The Flaming Lips.
I'd discovered the band a year or so before. I'd bought their album Clouds Taste Metallic on cd from Bournemouth's HMV at an import price of fifteen pounds. In those days it cost a lot to import things to Bournemouth. Hopefully they've sorted that out. I hadn't heard it, I didn't have a clue what to expect, but the name sounded cool and the band on the cover looked cool and I had a feeling it was underground enough to look cool in front of the girl behind the counter who I had a feeling was friends of a girl I thought I fancied. I bought it very much hoping that knowledge of the purchase would spread and cool points would be scored. This is very much my pulling style, planting a seed sitting back and waiting for nothing to happen. Almost a hundred percent of the time it doesn't work, but that's advice for a different article.
The Bowlie weekender was part of the tour that was being used to preview material from The Soft Bulletin. Perhaps two hundred people had squeezed into the smallest room at Camber Sands to see them. It was confusing the first twenty minutes seemed to comprise of playing bits of songs synching up visuals on a small projector, lining up different puppets, and playing songs from start to finish, only to be asked by Wayne Coyne to pretend none of that had been seen. It turned out that was the soundcheck.They reappeared five minutes later to open the set with Race For The Prize, the song they had only just left the stage having played. Yet somehow the 32” projector screen giant gong and props and the sheer enthusiasm on stage created something magical as if it hadn't been seen or done before. This was the beginning of what would become the show that is the greatest birthday party for everyone ever.
Me and my friend Lewis left that tiny room in awe, or at least I was in awe of what a band
could do, It may have at the time looked a bit like a Harry Hill stage show but a little fake blood a ballad sung by a puppet of a nun and a giant gong seemed to add such a wild new dynamic to a live show that made the Ac Acoustics look limp and pedestrian. I have to say as an album the crazy guitars of Clouds Taste Metallic win me over everytime but the ambition or heartfelt intent of those lo-fi special effects shows will stick around forever.
(perhaps this ending is a bit twee but I have a pub date now)
I don't mind if this gets printed leave this in...I have nothing to hide
See you all tomorrow x