Baggy Soggy Symbiotica
Unless Primal Scream blow the roof off the Brighton Dome next Wednesday then gig of the year must be The Stone Roses at the Etihad in June.
Celebration, unity, bucket hats and rain (baggy soggy symbiotica) and the skull crushing revolutionary wakeup groove call which is Public Enemy, thirty-four years since forming in Long Island NY in 1982.
I have an interesting approach to finding somewhere to stay when attending Stone Roses shows. For the Ally Pally there was no need to sleep, although sensibly we didn’t take Tam up on his offer to walk back to Scotland.
Photos of Ian Brown at Spike Island capture him in full shamanic modernist pomp but I arrived in Widnes the night before the show expecting a huge party only to find a pub with a few locals playing the Birdy Song; wicker man's eyes staring at my parallel jeans as if I was insane. Exactly what I was thinking about them.
I slept that night inside a speedboat I had stumbled across whilst tripping in an industrial estate. I woke to a welcome morning sun whose rays opened the curtains on a day that would soon become legendary in British music subculture.
The Colour Is Sound crew opted for the luxury of a campsite in Oldham for the Etihad show. If you ask anyone from Oldham for directions to the campsite they will more likely point you in the direction of a speedboat in Widnes.
For the record, there is no campsite in Oldham however there is a fella called Steve who lets you put your tent up in his garden, more mechanic than Ray Mears, Steve offers a view of some loos which can be found on the wrong side of the tracks on the outskirts of the town. We had a ball.
Despite sniffer dogs sniffing warm plastic five-pound lager, the atmosphere was superb inside and outside the stadium and the band delivered an outstanding set that never let up. ‘All For One’ came alive at the Ethiad, revealing an aggression that reminded me of an MC5 call to (link) arms, high energy hooks and melodies so infectious you're locked in from the get go. It was a flawless set, the perfect soundtrack for a night of unity.
A Roses show is now an intergenerational joyous experience of coming together.
We wait now for the third album and the summer shows in 2017, the possibility of an extended live version of the superb Sly influenced ‘Beautiful Thing’ to add to the cannon of grooves which find the stratosphere then keep going.
A close second for me in terms of best concerts of 2016 is without doubt Teenage Fanclub’s recent Brighton show. This band are a phenomenon, impervious to the trending world of here today gone tomorrow. Songs as good as the lineage of Big Star and the Beach Boys pour from the stage, a relentless offering of harmony, hook and the ultimate chorus.
The Brighton indie crowd is notoriously lacklustre at times and the Concorde is a pirate dressed as a venue (£4.40 for a can of Red Stripe) whose anti-fun insecurity patrolmen really need to go and get a life, nut despite these hazards, the Fannies brought a warmth and humour to this Victorian soul desert. Scotland’s finest have honed their live sound over the years and have found perfection. At times the three-guitar interplay is reminiscent of Television’s Marque Moon covered by Dinosaur Jnr with two J Mascis’s letting rip. It really is gorgeous to hear.
TFC are a band that have long since escaped the confines of indie; a band who effortlessly and evocatively write about love, personal freedom and the world of transatlantic globalists leaving the common man to wonder and wander. Lyrics underpinned by a wall of sound that is undisputedly a sound all their own making. Gene Clark and Alex Chilton have left their mark but there is only one Teenage Fanlcub.
High five to the fugitives.