Southern Records is very pleased to be invited to host a venue at this year’s Camden Crawl. If you don’t know the Crawl, it’s an “urban festival” in London, spanning two days, 40 venues, and 200 bands, with a focus on new, cutting-edge music. And they have some “heritage acts” too (that means folks who are old enough to be your parents but still know how to rock out).
We’ll be hosting the Blues Kitchen on Sunday 2nd May. We don’t know what bands will be playing yet. The way it works is all of the venue hosts (fancy pants label folks and journalists mostly – but only the cool ones) get to nominate all their favourite bands. A HUGE LIST (like 400 pages long)(ok maybe only 6 pages long) is then compiled and all the hosts vote for the bands they want to go through. The bands with the most votes go to the top of the list and the Crawl starts phoning em! Eventually they end up with a list of bands that have been nominated, voted in, and who are available to play. Once that list is finalised, they lock all us hosts in a room with no food and water and we fight to the death for the bands we want to play our venue.
This morning I’m suffering from an aching neck, blurry vision and a fuzzy head. Was I in a car accident? Nope. I went to see the Melvins last night. Unfortunately got there a bit late, having been tangled in the web of West London, fenced in by traffic and general western chaos until well after Witch left the stage. The general consensus from those polled was that Witch were awesome but not as great as at Roadburn. Probably the drugs were just better at Roadburn.
Seeing Melvins in a relatively intimate venue like the Garage (capacity 600) is a treat, and immediately brought back memories of seeing bands like The Jesus Lizard play there – I remember David Yow crowd surfing and kicking holes in the ceiling with his cowboy boots. The refurbished Garage has a much higher ceiling and has had its capacity nearly doubled by the clever removal of a few old barriers. Melvins were of course, fantastically awesome. It is heart-warming to witness how well Buzz and Dale have survived and how the beast that is Melvins has triumphed over the years and the numerous line-up changes. Having devoured Big Business and with Jared Warren and Coady Willis sitting comfortably in their belly, certainly the present incarnation of Melvins is my personal favourite. There is really very little that can trump double drums.
The gig was no disappointment (how can any show where they play “Night Goat” be?) but I will say three things: Not. Loud. Enough. I presume this was a faux pas on the Garage’s part (the venue does back onto an expensive patch of residential London) but I really don’t expect to be able to carry on a conversation with Melvins onstage. Also I do have to express mild disappointment at the fact that the band took a brief intermission at the one hour mark, and then came back in the same costumes! What’s that about? If you’re gonna take a break, at least give us a pay-off. (I am reliably informed that I can expect at least three costume changes at SunnO)))’s show at Koko next Monday, and I’m trembling in anticipation.) However we can thank the young lady in the audience who climbed up on someone’s shoulders to get naked from the waist up, for at least providing a habilimental diversion, and for inspiring Jared to reciprocate.