Afternoon Delight

I once read that the legendary German electro-pioneers Kraftwerk work six days a week in the studio, and on the seventh day they listen to and play no music at all, of any kind. I’ve never understood this. I’m not knocking it since they seem to make some great music working that way, but …

I cannot imagine a day without music. Its what makes life worth living as far as I am concerned.

Music has been a major bonding factor between me and my friends, between me and my parents, between me and my wife, and between me and my kids.

I quite like music. You get the idea.

Live music in particular, whether its a band I know and love playing a big stadium gig, down to an intimate folky concert in a small bar, and all points inbetween.

I’ll happily go and see a gig in Camden featuring four bands I’ve never heard of – I always end up liking at least a couple of them.  This was what led me to Alphabeat, Ida Maria, Airborne Toxic Event, Grammatics … and many more.

I can’t honestly recall a completely wasted evening spent watching live music.

Even the terrible bands are interesting, for the wrong reasons. To this day all I have to do is say to my wife “Louder, louder, louder” and we both grin like idiots at the memory of the worst – and yes, the loudest – band we ever did see. I’m sorry if you’re reading this and you were in a band called The Electrics in the early 80s, but frankly you deserve it for the kicking you gave to “Nutbush City Limits”, a fine song which never did you any harm.

In short, a week without live music is a week wasted. And I realised earlier to my horror that this last week has been a wasteland, apart from the parodical musical stylings of Bill Bailey doing a rendition of what “Scarborough Fair” would sound like sung by Rammstein. Which was brilliant, of course, as was the rest of the show.

This is why I head into Barnstaple on a Sunday afternoon to watch a classic rawk covers band playing at Marshall’s pub. Ten Feet Tall, they’re called. Two oldish guys playing bass and drums (as opposed to drum and bass), an excellent young guitarist and a girl vocalist up front – a masterstroke when you need somebody to hit the high notes in “Highway To Hell” and “Run To The Hills” without losing any power.

Ten Feet Tall are way, way better than they need to be for a Sunday afternoon in Barnstaple, and more power to them.

The crowd are mainly in their 40s upwards, plus a few younger people intrigued at the packed house and the great sounds filtering into the street. In the break I have a quick walk round to check such action as there may be elsewhere – all the other town centre pubs have a maximum of ten paying clients and zero atmosphere. God bless the proprietor at Marshall’s, they always have music on a Sunday arvo and its always packed. Other pubs in rural market towns who wish to attract drinking customers, please note.

So, Barnstaple may only have one Sunday afternoon music venue, but its friendly, welcoming and the bands play songs people know. Twill suffice until I get back to Ver Smoke tomorrow …

… and over the next fortnight I intend to make up for the gig drought in a big way.  I’ve got Young Knives on Tuesday, Chairlift on Thursday, Her Name Is Calla on Friday, the Airborne Toxic Event on Saturday and Los Bloody Campesinos next Sunday afternoon. The week after its The Chap and a fantastic Welsh acid-folk band called Colorama who I have been dying to see for a couple of years now.

Can’t wait !

I’ll be blogging about all these things and more. Hope you enjoy reading it.

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