pete cann’s noise+punk alldayer, wharf chambers, leeds, 24-03-2012

March 26, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Posted in live music, new music, no audience underground | 5 Comments
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In belated celebration of his 20th birthday, Leeds noisester Pete Cann organized a day long carnival of punk and racket which took place last Saturday.  What vigour these young ‘uns have, eh?  I thought it would be convivial to wheel myself down there and suck up some of their lifeforce.  And so it proved.

It was originally booked to happen in The Fenton, a notorious shithole, but they got cold feet (apparently those guys are only interested in ‘proper’ music nowadays – don’t they realise what heavy drinkers the noise scene are?) and cancelled.  Pete was undeterred and, much to everyone’s relief, the gig was moved to the lovely Wharf Chambers which is run by hep-cats as a co-op and is therefore much more open minded.

I took a camera with me so instead of my usual arch wordiness there now follows some briefly annotated photo-journalism.  Apologies for the hard-lit pictures – my camera is only a little snappy one and it insisted on the harshest flash possible.  You’ll have to imagine the cool lighting and flashing LEDS.  I didn’t correct the red-eyes though because everyone really did have red eyes…

I arrived at about 3.15pm and the first act, Aimmar Cair, was already playing.  Alas, I heard nowt of his set as I was too busy chatting with Paul Walsh (foldhead), Mark Wharton (Idwal Fisher) and Andy Jarvis (Asymptotem) who was there to be part of Dogliveroil.  Andy is organising the next midwich gig (glamorous Stoke-on-Trent, June 9th – watch this space) and it was a treat to see him face-to-face for the first time in years.  Kieron Piercy (Spoils & Relics) was also an early arrival and handed me a few tapes to slip into my hand-tooled, Italian leather man-bag.  Our conversation was briefly interrupted by a lad puking in the doorway between bar-room and venue-room.  We couldn’t decide whether this showed a pitiful lack of pacing skills or an admirable dedication to making a day of it.  Probably both.  Anyway, the vom was cleared up and I took a look at the running order:

I was sceptical, but this was adhered to, pretty much.  Foldhead swapped with Etai due to the latter arriving late and Heroin Diet swapped with Dogliveroil at 9pm but otherwise all was as planned.  When I left 7 hours later the whole thing was only running 15 minutes late.  But I get ahead of myself.  Paul was on first:

With his strobe-activated squiggling and weevil-bashing crunchiness he was thought to have raised the bar pretty high, pretty early.  Check out these guys vibing on his technique and taking mental notes:

Etai Keshiki arrived during Paul’s set and followed with a bunch of high-octane marvellous.   I heart them so much.  Andy Jarvis and his charming friend Mike were similarly wowed and we dissected their greatness in the bar whilst waiting for Ocelocelot.

During Etai, Mel had been out buying baking soda so we were agog at what was going to occur.  Unfortunately, that part of her ‘kit’ – a bottle containing pop and baking soda contact-miked (‘miced’?) to amplify the fizz – didn’t work so well but the rest of her stuff – balloons, wind-up toys etc. – made a joyous din and playfully subverted the tabletop-electronics of the other acts.

In between Ocelocelot and Petals, Paul and I nipped out for chips.  You could tell it was a good chippy because the lass behind the counter called us ‘love’ and ‘darling’ about ten times whilst taking our order.  We were back in time to see none of Kev’s set-up work properly.  We didn’t know that until after his set, of course.  At the time it sounded great and we all enjoyed the bit at the end when he leapt up, took his knackered cymbal and length of bent metal and strode defiantly around the venue bashing the former with the latter.

I was flagging a bit during Hobo Sonn – post-chips lethargy, I think – so I sat back and let it wash over me.  This was well timed as it was one of the least abrasive of the table-top noise performances, almost electronica in places, and soulfully resonant.  I stared at the back of Ian’s head, wondered if the back of my own head looked like that, then got stuck in a very pleasant feedback loop until the applause at the end of his set brought me back.

Target Shoppers were fucking ace.  First gig in over a decade, and easily as much fun as this looks:

…then they were joined by Mel (also in bald wig/mask/condom thing) for a completely balls-out finale that was actually the loudest noise of the day so far.  Great guitar face from Phil there!

Duncan Harrison, known to me as a member of RFM-faves Plurals, performed a very entertaining solo set of cassette racket and gurglecore. He’s a charismatic guy with great comic timing and had the crowd grinning and laughing and grooving on a deceptively lo-fi din.  A standard lamp appeared at the side of his table too which gave it a magic show/séance feel.  I praised his showmanship when talking to him later and, interestingly, he admitted it was something he was tempted to hide behind because he lacked the confidence in his sound to just sit there and let the noise do it all.  I think it would be a shame if he did.

Next up was due to be Seth Cooke but he was rinsed out after a twelve hour performance in an art gallery in Bradford the previous day.  It was one of those high concept, ultra-long things that Bang the Bore likes to cook up.  See here for details – it’s about car parks, apparently.  So instead we had Pascal Ansell (Panelak) and event organiser Pete Cann (Half an Abortion) taking up the slack.  Confidence was not an issue here as, for reasons known only to themselves, the boys stripped to their boxer shorts for a bit of man-to-man weevil-bashing.  I only took one photo – partly because the flash was very unforgiving of partial nudity, partly because I feared being put on some kind of register.  Paul described it – unforgettably – as twinktronics.

Us oldsters were taken back to the good ol’ days of noise when you couldn’t go to an all-dayer of this sort without some cocks-out action…

I apologise to Heroin Diet, who were on next, as I spent their entire set outside recovering from the hot-flush provoked by boy flesh.  I chatted to Kieron about the health of the scene and hating The Wire magazine – a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.  I spoke to Ian (Murphy, Hobo Sonn) and Duncan at some length about Brighton, physicality in noise (versus laptops) and growing up down South.  Duncan was very gracious when I mistakenly attributed an album to him that he had nothing to do with (I later remembered it was by Eyeballs – It had been a long afternoon/evening).  I should also mention that I spent a lot of the day talking with Kev Sanders (Petals) – a charming and witty guy who is disarmingly enthusiastic and wears his obvious erudition and seriousness very lightly.  A gentleman.

And here we come to the way my evening finishes: Dogliveroil.  The joke during the day was that you were presumed to be in Dogliveroil unless you had opted out, but in the end it was a mere seven people that made up the band, arranged to surround the audience on three sides.  Amusingly, it was Joincey’s role to sit on the stage in the middle of this maelstrom and look as bored as possible.  He picked at a cuticle, he stared at his foot.  It was riveting.  The whole business was topped off by a guest appearance from Simon Morris (Ceramic Hobs) who’d come over for the day and was happy to add a little high-security-wing karaoke (a reel on the theme of Stupid Hoe by Nicki Minaj).

Apologies to Sump and Cementimental who were still to play but that was enough for me.  I left on a high and trotted out to my bus back to the leafy suburbs.  I hope everything ended well – I’ve heard no stories of police raids since – and thanks again to Pete for organizing such a consistently fun event.  Happy Birthday, man.

P.S.  If I haven’t linked your name and you’d like me to then send me a URL.  If I have but you’d prefer I use a different URL then just let me know and I’ll update matters.

5 Comments »

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  1. nice photos and article Rob!

  2. Love it! Thanks Rob.

  3. One of the best gigs I have been to in a long long time. Duncan Harrison (surely the noise Tommy Cooper) my favourite act of the day but everything about this was huge fun. Thanks for writing it up so we’ll all remember it! You missed a bit of a blinder with the crazed Cementimental set at the end.

  4. Many thanks for writing this, best day I’ve had in a long time, glad I didn’t give up when The Fenton decided they’re too good for experimental music. Great performances all round, and cheers to Paul/Foldhead for lending me some weevils for mine and Pascals impromptu NAMBLA friendly noise off.

  5. Thanks for the comments folks – much obliged and glad you liked my account. If anyone has views on, or photos of, the Sump and Cementimental sets that happened after I split please feel free to post ’em here or send ’em to me. Rob H x


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