Friday, July 01, 2016

Post EU Exit Blues and a Night Down the Wharf Chambers

Simon Morris

Leeds, Wharf Chambers, Thursday 30th June 2016.

Its not everyday Lisa Carver rolls into town and its not every day that you get to see Simon Morris read from his book so I dislodged my constant cloud of post Brexit gloom and wrenched my weary arse down to the Wharf Chambers for some Sam Smiths cherry beer and Club Mate hoping to see the bearded Wonder and those other friendly faces that congregate at the soggy end of Leeds.

Of course I know who Lisa Carver is. Lisa Suckdog. Heard her name plenty of times but then I realised I had no idea what she actually does? Sing? Roll around the floor naked? Makes horrible noises? I knew she wrote books. I once asked Simon Morris if he knew of any female Charles Bukowski’s and he replied ‘Lisa Carver’. So I went home and forgot to buy any of her books. There were books on the merch table but I was most taken by a copy of Rollerderby magazine and its picture of a woman being used as crocodile bait. As I bought it Carver walked past and I asked her to sign it for me which she did: Mark - we met on a moist night in 2016 who knows then what? Except I couldn’t read it until I got home because I didn’t have my readers on.

Simon Morris takes a seat on the WC stage and tries to get his laptop to work. When he does he blurts out a few passages from his book ‘Consumer Guide’ ‘The Clash - The single most boring rock band that ever existed, clueless politics, tuneless lumpen riffs, overproduction and stylized painful fashion input. I’d take fucking Jon the Postman over these clowns as far as punk goes’. Sharp barbs delivered with pinpoint accuracy by a spittle flecked Morris who gets carried away with himself until his laptop crashes whereupon he recalls an old joke which was something to do with explorers looking for bacon trees. His new stuff is all loveless sex, drugs and dismal towns and bodes well for the future. He then tries to give away some Ceramic Hobs singles and fails miserably. The man has talent.

I knew Guttersnipe would be loud but I didn’t think I’d be fearing for my hearing. Giving up the stage for the wall opposite meant I could sit and then stand on the stage to see them and feel those depth charge sub harmonic bombs going off beneath my arse and feet. Comparisons with Lightning Bolt are inevitable but I’ve seen both now and much prefer Guttersnipe’s frenetic guitar, drum synth splatter. That its just the two of them making all this racket is hard to fathom with the willowy striped stockinged singer/guitarist/synth/gadget holder Gretchen wailing like a banshee whilst jabbing at the strings of a high fretted guitar. The equally willowy drummer is all arms and legs either keeping the thing ticking over or exploding into a cartoonish flurry of limbs. They only play four songs and are done in about twenty odd minutes, the last song being a lengthy foray into the kind of spaced out grooves that could only have been born under Leeds’ dark arches.

Apostille is a one man Pet Shop Boy cum Con-Dom live action. He unravels around 20 foot of microphone cord and then spends the rest of his sample driven hard pumping floor filling banging beats set trying to hang himself with it. He appears to be having conversations with his equipment, at one stage he stops what he’s playing so that he can have a conversation with someone stage left, he jabs at buttons, says he likes someone called Robin, talks about the lack of samples on his sampler, leaps around the floorspace, rolls around the floor, screams, sings, talks, mumbles, throws his head back, rolls his eyes and then he gets on his gadget laden table, runs the mic cable through a beam hook and around his head and for a moment I’m betting everyone in the WC was bracing themselves for an inevitable rush forward to lift him up thus preventing something very unpleasant happening. His songs are chaotic things at the mercy of his ever hovering, prodding fingers and people are dancing. Yes, people are dancing.

After all this frenetic activity its a more sedate start to the Suckdog set. Billed as ‘The Jaywalker Tour’ Suckdog sees Carver mother and daughter joined by the Kuzak sisters in a small play-let of sorts. A mini soap opera if you like. A tale of some sorts that I have to admit I couldn’t quite follow but which contained plenty of taped music of various kinds, audience participation [one male punter ending up on stage holding hands in the air with a puzzled look on his face], jumping around, smashing into people, spilt beer and smashed folding chairs.

Carver lies back on a chair and says she’s dying of cancer, assumed member of family shouts hurray and throws paper money in the air, after that it all gets hazy but its something to do with going to prison and not getting the right medicine [something we all sing along to]. At one stage the music changes to some kind of punk hardcore and everyone goes bat-shit as folding chairs are chucked into the audience, one of which goes whizzing past my nose end missing it by inches. Further chaos ensues when someone who is dead on the floor has their insides ripped open and everybody eats their guts which in this instance is spaghetti which soon gets chucked around resulting in the WC resembling a food fight in an Italian restaurant.  When they’ve done and taken their applause the WC is a complete and utter mess. The floor is littered with broken glass and chairs but everybody is all smiles and appears to have had a rather wonderful time. 

Outside its raining and we’re not in the EU anymore.


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