Monday, March 26, 2012
A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF GIGS : WEEK 12 : THE NIGHT OF LEGENDS
REVIEW OF VIC GODARD& SUBWAY SECT/SEXUAL OBJECTS : VOODOO ROOM, EDINBURGH, 24 MARCH 2012
This was a very late call.
The original plan had been to head to see the same line-up in Glasgow the previous night, but I got caught up in a leaving-do for a number of ex-colleagues taking early retirement from the cooncil. It was a gig being promoted by Alan Hendry under his Sounds In The Suburbs banner and I felt really bad about not getting along. So I put in a quick call to Jacques the Kipper....asked if he fancied going along to see them in Edinburgh....and to my delight he said yes.
This was a first visit to the Voodoo Rooms for me, and it really is a superb little venue in a tremendous location in the heart of Edinburgh very close to both the rail and bus stations. It's a highly stylish place as well...nothing the least bit sweaty, sticky or grotty about it, and quite different I imagine from the sorts of places that the headline act has spent much of his career playing.
Just seven days fays previously, I had been just about the oldest person at the Wu Lyf gig in Glasgow. This was a total contrast. Just about everyone was in the mid 40s and upwards range...loads of old punks and new wavers who were wanting to turn the clock back 30 and more years. But without the energetic pogoing of our youth.
Lots of people were quite drunk as well. They must all be well off for the price of the booze was on the steep side, albeit the choices on offer were top-quality. The Voodoo Rooms is the sort of place I could very happily set myself up in for an entire evening...assuming I had save up for it!!!!
And so to the gig.
The venue was quite full for the support act which was no real surprise given is was Sexual Objects. This is the latest band to feature the genius and talent of Davy Henderson, probably the most unique, influential, highly-regarded but enigmatic musicians to come out of Edinburgh over the past 30 years. He's been part of Fire Engines, Win and Nectarine No.9....as well as collaborating with loads of other bands and singers over the years. All the while he has been a man who doesn't give a fuck.
He maintained this reputation through this blistering short set. There were times when Davy didn't seem to know or care what the rest of the band were doing...even down to what the next song on the set was going to be. It threatened at times to descend into a shambles but that it never did was down to the quality of the songs, the superb playing of the band (particularly Douglas McIntyre on bass) but above all else the sheer charisma and magnetism that Davy Henderson radiates when he's on stage.
mp3 : Sexual Objects - Midnight Boycott
And so to the headliners.
There's probably a few folk turned up to see the bloke playing drums as it's none other than Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols. But there's many more turned up to see the main man himself whose career has lasted 35 years and counting.
Vic Godard & Subway Sect toured with The Clash in 1977 and for a while were managed by Bernie Rhodes who of course had a huge role to play in the career of Strummer, Jones, Simonon and Headon and Chimes, so there's no doubting Vic's punk credentials. But before too long, the songs he was writing and his band were recording were more poppy than punk. If that was a surprise, then the early 80s material, which was jazz, soul and easy listening bewildered and astonished and divided everyone, fans and critics alike.
By the mid 80s, Vic Godard was out of the music business altogether, but came back in the early 90s working with Edwyn Collins and releasing on material on the revived Postcard Records. There's since been a smattering of singles and re-released material but in recent years he's become more active than ever, re-forming Subway Sect and releasing the LP We Come As Aliens back in 2010.
The line-up that took to the stage at the Voodoo Rooms consisted of the afore-mentioned Godard and Cook, Paul Myers (Subway Sect member away back in the days) on bass, Mark Braby on guitar and Kevin Younger on keys and additional guitar.
For not far short of 80 minutes they delivered a hugely enjoyable set of 16 songs, covering all 35 years from the late 70s to some as yet unreleased songs. It was a night of many highlights and not a single low. Orange Juice/Edwyn fans would have been delighted that Holiday Hymn and Won't Turn Back were part of the set - I certainly was - but the newer stuff such as Best Album and Back in The Community from the 2010 LP as well as the unreleased songs - Caught In Mid-stream and You Bring Out The Demon In Me - left equally deep impressions.
This was also a night that made me realise - again - that I'm not getting any younger. Vic took to the stage wearing his glasses but removed them for the performance until the moment he had to adjust an amp when he had to put them back on to see what he was doing...and having no time to put them back safely in their case he held on to them tightly all the way through the next song. It wasn't like that in the punk days....
Special word of thanks to the promoter Alan Hendry.
For years he has been putting on small and intimate gigs mostly in a couple of small venues in the West End of Glasgow, but as a fan of Vic Godard & Subway Sect he has been bringing them to more mainstream venues in recent years. I'd have missed on this unforgettable night if he hadn't spread his wings to Edinburgh and he was rewarded for his ambition with an excellent turnout and an audience that to a man and woman will have gone away very happy indeed. Well, maybe one or two people had their faces tripping them...there was someone who asked for a refund after taking offence at remarks made between-songs during the Sexual Objects set having considered them homophobic. Quite obviously they don't know Davy....his remarks were a genuinely warm tribute to friends and colleagues from years back...and I'm just sorry they weren't taken that way.
At the ends of the gig I was able to go onto the stage and rescue the set-list that had sat at the side of Paul Cook's drumkit, so here's the performance in full:-
Stop That Girl
Back In The Community
Caught In Mid-Stream
Music Of A Werewolf
Watching The Devil
You Brink Out The Devil In Me
Won't Turn Bak
Nothwithstanding one person being unhappy, this yet another night to remember courtesy of Sounds In The Suburbs. I might not have got home until after 2am thanks to having to wait for a taxi once back in Glasgow and the clocks going forward by one hour. But it was well worth it.
mp3 : Vic Godard & Subway Sect - Nobody's Scared
mp3 : Vic Godard & Subway Sect- Holiday Hymn
Excellent Vic Godard official site right here. Plenty more to read, watch and listen to.