Waterfront Fest @ Canalhouse, Hoodtown Sat 20th August 2011

Ooooh it’s here again. That holiest of trinities: Local music, ale and friendly folk rocking out together. All good things do truly come in threes, well except most film franchises. Despite an overcast August Saturday arvo strolling alongside the Trent in the opposite direction to fans attending the Forest Leicester derby (swimming against the gravy tide if you will), I eagerly anticipated the musical spoils I would play willing voyeur to during the next 8 hours.

After being gently lulled round to recovery from the previous evening’s jollity by Mr. Softly-Strum Marc Reeves, I felt the nurturing combo of a well-sugared cappuccino washed down with a pint of rich stout known as Midnight Owl. This omnipotent soundclash complimented the first band’s arrival Prae Vita – dark, brooding, nocturnal and threatening (to small mammals amidst the undergrowth anyhow). After a delayed start following the replacement of some broken equipment it quickly became apparent how and why. Frontman Vaughn repeatedly required microphone adjustments, as the PA never really did their densely expansive sound real justice with his vocal range arching far off the official charts in more ways than one. With Mike Patton-esque mannerisms and a charismatic ‘lost-in-music’ dementia it still all made some form of deranged groove-orientated & reverb-swathed sense. The well-restrained organ-layers swelled around the small upstairs timbers to achieve maximum psychedelic operatic and progtastic effect. Much as their set ended, this review will now slowly self-destruct over sustained delay. 

I present Prae Vita with the ‘Most Sonically Ambitious Award’.

 Next as we strayed downstairs to buy our second pints some enjoyable shoegaze begin to enthral in the form of Strings of Seville who provided song structures reminiscent of Sonic Youth. Through recognition of former Model Morning/Spotlight Kid members, the quartet’s grungy rhythm-led melodic buzzsaw dynamics shot a hole through the main bar much to the surprise of those just arriving – ethereal stuff indeed.

For 4 young scruffy students full of beans, chips and probably vinegar Paranoid Travellers were something were something of an unexpected gem. Unleashing a seemingly limitless supply of doom-laden bastardised blues riffs akin to Clutch meeting vintage Sabbath in an abattoir during a thunderstorm. Drummer and rhythm guitarist shared vocal duties offsetting a well-matched guttural growl with a low semi-tonal moan. Chunky beef drumfills and howling solos were the order of the day in an unstoppable groove-spluttering engine – hugely satisfying.

Hey Zeus felt rather like gate crashing a barely controlled new year’s house party as you peer in through the frosty kitchen window about to have second thoughts. Repeated stage invasions from a whole cavalcade of local hip-hop MCs, beatboxers, drummer changes and singers from Royal Gala and Fat Digester made for a sometimes vocally over-egged assault. Ultimately the core of this group appeared to be a very proficient DJ sampler/scratchmaster and Korg-playing warp bass keyboardist. Everyone’s performance looked mostly improv with thorough smatterings of hype and mad props shout-outs from MC Louie Cypher well on his way and repeatedly requesting approval due to his visibly unstable semi-catatonic state. This crew finished before 8pm but with most clutching bottles like newborns in a warzone some were clearly running on something stronger than adrenaline.

I present Hey Zeus with the ‘Most Lairy & Party Starting Award’

Pirate-comedy punk-folk surely has an unfair advantage over other bands as a crowd-pleasing festival favourite but if you CAN corner the market you’ve got long-term novel (& navel Ar-Har) appeal. With shanties, instrument swaps ago-go and betwixt song scurvy banter Seas of Mirth (Warning: Rated ‘Arrr’) seems to have things sewn-up by way of ever-increasing approvals of ‘Arrr’. Using GCSE marking I’d say they’re about the level of the High C’s/Seas geddit?

Rocking his wispy mohawked megaquiff like a Centurian’s Ghost Messer’s (& Madame) Dick Venom & His Terrortones were determined to convert us to their sinfully sordid filth dungeon of ruckus razor-edged rockabilly despite him losing a tooth on his vintage crooner’s mic after the opening number. A minute later he’s dangling from the rafters by his leather pants and writhing sweat-soaked and topless to earn that dentist’s filling. Two young corset-clad kinkmaidens flagellating him and each other but mostly themselves is only the beginning of the perversely sinful acts that unfold down front. Set highlight? The song about why you shouldn’t knob a big hairy spider. Verdict: Venomous but terrifyingly tuneless overall.

I present DV&TT with the ‘Showmanship in Spite of Self-Harm’ Award

Although we only caught the last 10 minutes of Nina Smith’s timid set she seemed unfortunately unsuited to the average alcohol levels by this time (10pm) i.e. ill-equipped to deal with a baying gang of hounds hungry for tasty rhythms who dispersed quite quickly. Covering 2 Become 1 & Message In A Bottle as an alternating medley prompted the only crowd trouble of the whole event when two blokes presumably had it out briefly over who’d become one with the ‘spicy’ girl in between. Alas her soaring ad-libbed vocal abilities cut through with lamenting tender flourishes deserved stronger backing than stagnant acoustic guitar and occasional beatbox as proven on her recordings by perfectly fitting string sections. Set closer I Won’t Forget You was sadly drowned out by much oblivious group heckling.

I present Nina Smith with the ‘Vocal dexterity despite poorly-tailored timeslot’ Award

A jolly old good time had by all, well 2 of us & not just due to divine salvation in the form of Castle Rock hydration. To briefly summarise: Notts Rocks!



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Who do you think you are kidding Mr. Griffin? Warning: opinionated blogger at large on something of an anti ‘column-filling-gotta-reach-the-wordcount-rant’ rant…phew!

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” Edmund Burke (although I’m sure women have felt equally powerless)

The BNP’s first member of mixed ethnicity (in their eyes) – step forward one half-Turkish Mr. Lawrence Rustem (http://www.redaction.org/wwwboard/msgs5/6642.HTM) was beaten up by another party member mere weeks after being paraded around the PR circuit as proof the organization has widened its ethnic recruitment drive/appeal ten years ago. More recently black BNP members have been permitted despite apparent uncertainties as to their ‘indigenous’ origins or the ‘black underclass’ Nick Griffin fears will burn this country to the ground. Why is all this highly unsettling? Pray read on…

“Significant numbers of decent, especially Christian West Indians are taking themselves and their young lads back to the stricter discipline and staple society of their homelands” Mr. Griffin was quoted as saying on his recent youtube video response to David Starkey’s Newsnight comments regarding the widespread riots. Presumably he is indicating that so long as patriarchal rule and western religious dogma is practiced then families are British enough for him. He continues “How much longer must we cruelly pretend that feral youths bought up on a diet of gangster rap, chip-on-shoulder indoctrination about slavery and an obsession with ‘respect’ and guns are ever going to fit into our society?”

"I think i missed my stop"

Presumably he’s trying to address African-Caribbean adolescents to which the obvious answer would be “When you start treating them like they have any part in it Nicky boy”. I guess no-one told him gangster rap is 20 years past its sell-by date meaning all my mates who grew up (not literally thank fudge) with NWA, Enter the Wu-Tang, West Coast G-funk et al. are at least 30 by now. Alas contemporary sub-cultures such as grime, dub-step and drugs named after cat noises would only dumbfound the podgy Marty Feldman-eyed archetype of athletic national purity. Slavery, quite like losing to your son at swingball repeatedly, takes quite a while to forget and mentally overcome when for many families it is still within living or recorded memory.

Then he actually uses the term ‘serious adult debate’ which nails the lid firmly shut on the coffin of irony. He THEN envisions a giant burning cross the length and breadth of the British Isles which none too subtly reasserts our (again in his eyes) Christian heritage. This tag peppers all his speeches and conveniently overlooks the fact the most British Muslims share a sense of community and solidarity with their home country through tolerance and common courteousy – ask them next time you get the chance. How can anyone truly trust and endorse a figurehead who can’t even pronounce basic words sufficiently like ‘proven’ as ‘pro-ven’ and ‘communal’ becomes ‘cominal’.

Bigotry, racial fear-mongering and insighting prejudice to divide Britain based on arbitrary ancestral ethnic bloodlines has long been the BNP’s sole aim and policy. Ultimately we’re all from African descents so it really does depend exactly how far back genealogists are willing and prepared to trace. Still I suppose every UK citizen should have their family tree mapped by government Gestapo units at astronomical cost to our economy before we can really feel safe and certain that our money’s only being accidentally stolen by colonialist-descent purebred stock that can follow their families roots back to Brutus of Troy.

Rivers of blood have and will not run. The recent riots and lootings were not rival gang warfare but merely gross status acquisition with several London boroughs wanting their piece of capitalist pie denied them (in their own minds) for too long. Clearly David Starkey can’t make any sense of who is of which racial origin anymore including London MPs and he’s been a social & constitutional historian for almost 30 years (leaving the rest of us little hope allegedly). To try and summarise his point all I could muster was that Enoch Powell was completely right in one sense but was also completely wrong???  

‘Mad’ Melanie Phillips of Zie Daily Hiel (to credit the paper’s original title during Mosley’s fascist 30s) has espoused her philosophical dribble (no doubt backed by her paper’s thorough statistical background checks) that just about everyone else is to blame but whinging frigid morally-bankrupt harpies who threaten biblical dominion over a youth they never once stop prattling on like a broken dishwasher full of slugs and disgusted bile to hear out or comprehend – how very Christian. From reading her columns she must have a head like a half-eaten old termites nest with a moldy jam sandwich brain slapped on its roof. Don’t even get me started on Richard ‘You-couldn’t-make-it-up-unless-you’re-me’ Littlejohn.

Of course capital punishment-pushing 50-somethings who inhabit gated mansions in rich rural counties tend to have regular contact with street-level community development initiatives. Socio-economic issues such as an apparently ‘black underclass’ becomes a self-perpetuating demographic if reminded enough with no eventual loyalty to the system that heartlessly holds their heads barely above water. Thatcher’s imprint of dismantling care and all other social support but the welfare state still looms over us predatorily like an apocalyptic albatross with a swollen ego complex. Still, nothing to lose sleep or taxes over on the real-life Midsummer Murder set of dreams.

There you have it – my two cents for what they’re worth. Thanks for taking the time imaginary readers.