By Noel Oxford
Lads. Lads, shut up a minute. It’s time we had a talk.
Thing is, right, if you pay a lot of money to come to a rock festival, then it seems to me that you owe it to yourself to have a good time. Why not liven up a bit? Cut loose and move your ass to the beats, don’t just stand there shuffling your feet and nodding your head. And for Christ’s sake, no air guitar.
If you absolutely must headbang, then here’s a tip: The motion begins in your pelvis. The music, she is the nubile young altar boy, and you… You are the catholic priest, my friend. The catholic priest with balls full to the ends of their gnarled, silvered pubes. Listen to your soul and do whatever you feel.
That applies, of course, unless the band you’re watching is Darkspace (The Green Room, 013). Interesting act; I’m not really surprised that the limits of crowd interaction seemed to be feebly nodding along, a smatteruss of applause, and the odd cheer. They do a sort of heavy, droney, spacey, black ambient kind of noise with some noodly widdles and electrical beats. The trio look like Kiss-themed Cenobytes, shrieking and moaning unintelligbly from out of a flickery dickery light show. It sounds a bit like what you might get if Jason Vorhees got loose at an Earth gig, and started slashing stoner throats with impunity. And it was weirdly quiet, too. Almost like they were ashamed of it.
Church of Misery meanwhile, proudly make a noise so massive, I had to be rescued from beneath it. They’re a band I like, but have never really been gripped by – that is, until now. They were the first band I saw today, and I was partly convinced that they’d be the best. Perhaps only Karma to Burn could topple them, but I remained sceptical; I’ve seen them before, after all.
Arrived at the Midi Theatre, just in time to queue for half an hour to get in. The set, and the sweat, were already in full flow by the time I rudely elbowed my way to the front. It was about half over, and most of what I heard was new material. I’m giddily awaiting their new album, because the thing with Karma to Burn is that they get better the more you revisit them. And I already love the new stuff after only one or two listens. Also, one of the songs they done with John Garcia has turned up on the new record’s bonus disc, and it would be terribly stupid to turn that prospect down.
Drummer Rob Oswald now sports a ludicrous, man-sized mountain beard, which always endears a band to us here at the Pigeon Coup. What he does to his kit is positively, filthily abusive. Meanwhile, the rest of the band glower out from under redneck trucker hats and treat us all to wedges of West Virginia Mudriff Cheesecake. Half a set by Karma to Burn completely overwhelmed a full set by Church of Misery, which was, in itself, brill. This festival is bestival.
Finally, I caught one song by a band I’ve never heard of called Long Distance Calling. I think what I heard was an improv jam, but it was excellent, proggy, sludgy stuff. One of the men had an Apple laptop out, presumably so he could work on his postmodern urban fantasy novel in between songs. Anyway, they’re good, I’ll be looking into them when I get back.
Hard to believe it could get much better, but I’ve still got John bloomin Garcia, Brant Bjork, Fatso Jetson, Witchcraft, and Ahkmed tomorrow, plus another Sons of Otis set, and Enslaved at the end of it all, assuming I’m still alive by then. I’ve already got tinnitus and backache, and the rest of my bones feel like they’ve been struck by lightning. Tomorrow may just do for me.
Apologies for the foul-up, this should have been posted Friday, but apparently an email got lost in the ash cloud -N