Friday, December 22, 2006

Waiting for Frank Sidebottom to take off his head

Just as I was leaving Offline last night, Emerald was arriving fresh from an Actionettes gig supporting Frank Sidebottom, and I remembered a rock'n'roll conversation in which the person I was speaking to waited ages for Frank Sidebottom to take off his head, and eventually, thirst got the better of him and there he was, in the bar, with his head beside him on the chair... or was it really him?
Emerald looked utterly beautiful- she had a black feather in her hair, which was done in a very glamourous style, and she had a very becoming dark green dress. Wow!
It was a typical Offline night- noisy, friendly, with Mike rushing around organising everybody, and lots of good stuff to see and hear. I got there in time for Tom Robinson's soundcheck- it's easy to forget how many good songs he had. He has a mega-powerful voice and that knack of looking like a star! Vic had some good acts- first, Spinmaster Plantpot, who I have decided is an urban blues singer. I always imagine music behind his declamations. I just love raw stuff like this. Bang! Power! Then a very odd fake punk who didn't charm at all, till he put a sock on his hand and did a demonstration of his 'school-suitable' workshop. The sock was a heroin-addicted creature who manage to trick him, by pretending he was going for a job interview, into tying a tie round it's neck (his wrist) and tighten it, steadily... Yes, it was funny by the end, especially as it was done so badly! Then there was a more serious woman poet with a feisty line in put-downs, which I preferred to her poetry- more spontaneous. And then, the Naked Poet. Oh dear! Sort of reminded me of talking with my many gay friends in Brighton, only with no clothes on. Certainly filled the room up as he removed his clothing, bit by bit, and Allan Cello said, 'Just don't ask me to do that!'. Oh Dear.
After we'd played, which was OK but not as good as the night before, we watched the Hightown Crows, who I thought were great; their stuff is rockabilly/skiffle, and it was an added bonus to see the kit (bass drum is a suitcase, crash cymbal a tin tray) gently collapse during one of the songs, eventually being held together by the drummer's knees. Amazing double bass playing (O to be a double bass player!) and a great guitar sound- some sort of toyshop guitar with a pickup and a bit of nifty playing, a totally unique guitar sound. I like what people do with guitars- I remember Belt Motel and his Spanish guitar with steel strings. The Hightown Crows are good; they have style- go to see them if you can. By then I was tired, and had to miss the rest. Moreton Valance did an interesting soundcheck, played a song that sounded like an electro verion of Roadrunner by Jonathan Richman, but they were taking a long time to set up and I've done five gigs in seven days: howzat!!


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