Saturday, February 04, 2006

"It's A Heartache...."

I finally returned home from Serena-Maneesh sound duties and plunged myself into family life and the band! Ah yes, the band! How good it feels to be involved in making music again! I say this without the slightest hint of irony by the way. Making the 7 inch single and playing shows again after many years has been the most rewarding, uplifting and joyous affair. It has felt a great relief to be involved in something that I have done for a large part of my life. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to express yourself, and I see music as the highest form of expression there is. Anyone, anywhere can relate to it and that is what characterises its greatness.
So we rehearsed again, and came up with a new number. It sounds like a slab of Motown mixed with The Contortions plyed with a slice of Can. It swings like a mutha. We debuted this particular number on Thursday 2 February at the Melkweg. This was the occasion that we opened for "Arab Strap" in the small hall. I really like the Melkweg as a venue and am particularly attached to the small room. Despite the Melkweg having to bow to commercial concerns (The Max!....Pep$i uber alles) it still retains a charm of its own. The small hall was witness to hippies in the 60s and 70s dropping their mattresses on the floor in the venue, lying down, turning on, tuning in and dropping out (literally zzzzzzz) to whatever band was twisting their melons....MAN! However, with 500 people in attendance for this show last Thursday, there was little space for sleeping bags never mind mattresses.
On the day of the show itself, I got that tingling sensation you only get when you know you have a gig that night. Pick up the van in Koog a/d Zaan from De Kift, load up at our practice space, drive into town and to the venue, unload, sit around and twiddle your thumbs! Well actually, we didn't sit around this time; we had an appointment with Greg Neate, a fine photographer from England, who agreed to take some portraits of the band. Like stiff mannequins, we stood and posed.....unglamorous to the hilt and unashamedly unsexy.
Arab Strap are a fine bunch of people whom I have met several times on my journeys to Glasgow. This made the run-up to the show much easier. I think most of them thought that I was doing the live sound mix for The Bent Moustache, and didn't actually twig that I was onstage this time until showtime!
Our show went really well. No nerves, no slip-ups (well none that were too bad anyway), and no breaking of strings. We were joined on a couple of numbers by Bob (on bass) and Ditmer (on saxaphone). Amsterdam audiences are notorious for either talking throughout the entirety of a band's set, or giving no response whatsoever to a band at the end of a song. This, however, was not the case when we played. We were very well received, and the general reaction after the show from audience members, that I met, was extremely positive. We sold a bunch of singles too.

Arab Strap are a fine band : Aidan can make his guitar sing and Malcolm has the all the attributes of love reigned in with his fine choice of words. But even they had the Strap chinstrokers in the Melkweg bowled over for six with their rendition of Bonnie Tyler's "It's A Heartache"! I looked into the audience, and many of them were amazed that Malcolm had the lyrical depth to come out with a song so great as this. "Where does he find those words from?" they thought. If only they knew.........

Tomorrow (Sunday) we play in the OCCII. This is like being on tour!!!!

Top Tip: I just finished reading Simon Reynolds' "Rip It Up And Start Again : Post-Punk 1978-1984". A FANTASTIC book. It reminds you of all the great music that came out of that era, the spirit of adventure and idealism that infused it, and also that politics mattered as a way of life and this was reflected in the music. Reynolds has written this with great passion and insight, and his analysis of the way the musics of this era came about are never short of enlightening. Buy the book, and then buy the records he writes about.


At 4:36 AM, Blogger ybotnix said...

It sounds great that you're doin shows again and havin fun with it.
This is the first time I've checked this site and it looks great, keeps people interested and I find very inspiring. I'm definitely gonna have to check out that book man!

At 10:41 AM, Blogger ajay said...

my friend...welcome to the world of the bent moustache.
you are the first person to write. getting feedback from people is important.
i am thinking of putting some of the live shows on the site for downloads....maybe not complete gigs but certain songs from particular shows. this will give people more of an idea of how we do the live thang!


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