Tuesday, June 07, 2005


...so anyway, we walk in this club with ultra-para security staff (there's notices on the toilet cubicle doors reminding patrons "If any two people are discovered inside they will be ejected from the venue"). Luckily my friend manages to smuggle in his extendable cop baton (he's not a cop, by the way) in his rucksack. One-nil.

The first 'act' sounds like a hoover sucking up a budgie, or a budgie sucking off a hoover. We can't see what he looks like, as the dancefloor's being pumped with orange theatrical smoke. It's funny for about two minutes, but only because we're ripping it to shreds. Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream is chatting to two girls. My mate wants to go and talk to him. "Certainly not!" I reply. Meanwhile, Budgie Hoover Deathfuck is stuck on the same loop. I spot Mark K-Punk, who I once saw in a pub last January, but think that if I say hello he'll turn round to his companions, raise an eyelid, and say "You complete and utter IMBECILE" or something. So we go for a wander.

My friend likes industrial, but more in the Ministry / NIN / Revolting Cocks style. Which is probably what I should have got into, instead of all this noise stuff. It's a mixed crowd, with a lot of people sitting out the back in small clusters, not talking to each other. Meanwhile, the bird noise has been replaced by what sounds like a ship slowly sinking. I pay £7 for two cans of Kronenburg and strike up a conversation with a Whitehouse fan. It doesn't last very long. "Fuck the Aphex Twin, you should see Whitehouse mate!", "I did, in 2000", "Oh yeah so did I, got a light?" etc.

The ship noises keep coming. Actually, it was really good - when Nurse With Wound did it 250 years ago. We decide that at £17 a ticket and £3.50 for a can of 99p piss, we ought to go for another stroll rather than sit here like altar boys, taking a break from the priest's half-time sermon on the perils of womens' knickers.

Eventually, a bearded, senile Japanese twit gets on stage and sits down to make some third-rate Merzbow-style glitch 'n' scrape. Watching this OAP in his dinky white suit, toiling away at his FX box, reminds me of the bit in 'Karate Kid' when Mr Miyagi's pruning his bonsai - only if he'd accidentally cut his fingers off, jabbed his eyes out and was desperately clutching at a synthesiser, believing it to be a first aid kit. Fucking toss. I realise I want to smash his smug, stupid little pixie face in. My friend's verdict : "Wank"

Mark Stewart comes on, but by then I've been distracted by Evil John Eden and am in less of a "come on, let's invade the stage and kick the equipment around" mood. I don't mind telling you that The Pop Group are one of my top five bands. As with Coil though, I've never been interested in the personalities within bands, and so to me, I grew up with Mark Stewart being a disembodied howl floating around the albums. So naturally, I don't know what to expect from this gig. A lunatic, swooping and rushing into the first rows of audience, screaming "OUR CHILDREN WILL RISE UP AGAINST US"?

How about a bloke with a towel wrapped round his neck, doing rock star poses? I think they're playing "Forbidden Love". It's all a bit laidback. Mark K-Punk curses me with leukemia for talking. I recognise "Resistance of the Cell" by name only (I haven't heard "Veneer"). "Hypnotised" gets an airing too. At one point, he begins to recite the chorus to "Thief of Fire" over another tune. My friend's verdict : "It's better than that Pop Group album you played in that bar in Tokyo". Sadly I miss the Sugarhill Gang covers as I'm in the toilet.

Aphex Twin isn't bad. Hiding under a table, one hand poking up and cueing his records. Everybody's dancing, drinking and having fun. My friend is appalled : "This is shit! Sounds like he's playing New Order records!" I get chatting to a girl sucking a lollipop who's celebrating her 21st birthday. I'm 29 in 2 days' time so feel really old.

The artists all over-run their slots, so a load of out-of-town AT fans decide to stay on for Whitehouse rather than pay fortunes in taxi fares. The 'band' come on over a single note of white noise with Phil Best hollering the usual pseudo-psychologist drivel that they've been doing for the past five years. Behind the stage, on an elevated platform, a load of smug, gurning cretins, including Mr Miyagi, are staring at the audience. This is where the trouble starts ; there's people in the crowd making wanker signs at them and getting quite stroppy. William Bennett starts doing some spoken word, but is pretty much drowned out by the "fuck off!"s. Whitehouse get about 2 minutes into the song "Cruise" before a bottle sails through the air in an arc and clatters on one of the monitors. Phil Best walks offstage. Then a can of beer hits Bennett in the mush. He unplugs his box, to a mighty roar of approval, and flees the stage.

God, what a load of old bollocks. My friend's verdict : "I honestly can't believe you used to hype them up. That was just pathetic". "Come on!" I say, "Get your baton. Let's go and attack them and get a part-refund on the tickets"

We don't : we end up in a gay club in Vauxhall called Fire, dancing with a load of transexuals and muscle marys. My friend leaves to go to work at 7am, somehow I'm still in there drinking when a bouncer tells me it's time to leave at 10am. The Hi-NRG was the best thing I've heard all night.

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