High Jinks in Lowlands; Incendiary go on the road with Brakes 8 - 11/03/07

Half an hour later and he was at our table telling us the same thing again before having a conversation with the door handle. Nothing like a babbling skinhead to sober you up before bedtime…

 

 

High Jinks in Lowlands; Incendiary go on the road with Brakes 8 – 11/03/07

 

 

 

wrong date lads...

courtesy Cath Aubergine http://www.myspace.com/upthedownescalator 

 

"Do you know we've hardly sold any LPs over here Richard? I don't get it..." Marc Beatty slurps his beer in a contemplative manner after a raucous though flu-infected show at Vera which attracted a sparse crowd. Somehow after the success of their first LP Give Blood, Brakes' second album, the brilliant Beatific Visions has slipped out almost unnoticed; and the Brakes momentum in Holland seems to have slowed down. Maybe it's the fact that until now the band have only been promoting their new LP over here by way of supporting bigger acts like the Killers (hardly a happy hunting ground for new Brakes fans in the relentlessly bright & shiny Killers land) but still, things can be rectified from here on in with a clutch of shows and an appearance or two at the summer festivals. Rip it up and start again...

 

Typically they nearly didn't make it this far; Tom & Alex White's other band, Electric Soft Parade (as if you needed reminding) were scheduled to play the prestigious South by South West festival in Texas. A delay in recouping their passports from the US embassy had meant the last minute cancellation of some interviews in Amsterdam and a manic drive up from the ferry to the isolated town of Groningen for a show. The band was knackered and suffering from a communal cold, and senses were blurred. (Tom's almost heroic - to those present to witness it - inability to remember who played guitar in U2 during the course of an after gig discussion only served to illustrate the general head-fuck they must have all been suffering).

 

Still there was precious little evidence of this malaise on stage. The one thing you can be sure of with Brakes is that they always put everything they have into a show, whether for the 60 odd people here at Vera, Groningen or for the massed ranks of hairdresser types that populates Killers and Editors gigs. Eamon can hardly speak, yet he raps out his semi maniacal lyrics at full throttle; Tom has become the King of Delay Pedals Everywhere, whereas the understanding in the rhythm section is fast becoming Brakes' strongest suit.

 

They bounce along, bashing out a sonically varied gig, loose in structure and strong in intent. There are two Camper Van Beethoven covers tonight (as Tom says, what other band treats you to two whole Camper Van songs in a set?) and a thrilling rendition of Jackson. There's even the Dutch debut of No Return and after some ritualistic stomping with Grolsch bottles on the stage Eamon comes out alone to do Fell in Love with a Girl, which nicely wraps up a great set. As usual the newbies in the audience are confused but intrigued... why don't they play just rock stuff? Why do they do such short songs? You get the feeling that Brakes' refusal to play the game confounds many people's preconceptions of what actually constitutes a live gig.

 

get down

 courtesy Cath Aubergine http://www.myspace.com/upthedownescalator 

 

Following a rather long night out in Groningen we say adieu to Manchester Music's Cath Aubergine who has Killers dates to attend to in various venues scattered across north-western Europe. Cath will be rejoining us (if we're still standing) in Amsterdam. We decide to miss the Den Bosch gig and catch the band in Antwerp the day after. Our decision causes a lot of retrospective guilt on our behalf. Because by doing so we missed Den Bosch's Phantom Spoon Player and the Doorknob-Addressing Skinhead.

 

Here's what Marc Beatty had to recall.

 

M: I clocked this lanky kid down the front as soon as the curtain went up, he was clearly stupidly pissed in the glorious way only minors can be. He kept running up and down, dancing expressively that sort of thing. We were just about to do The Most Fun when he appeared in front of us saying that the merchandise guy said he could have a free t-shirt if he played spoons on one song. Knowing Matt (emergency merch chap and member of fab Brighton group Actress Hands) he probably just nodded at anything this guy said just to get rid of him. He got up on stage, got round the mic with Tom and Eamon and started tapping it out. Bit out of time at first but with a little help from Tom he got there. The funniest thing is we got the whole thing on DVD. It'll be up soon.

 

After the show we had a drink in our hotel. There was a really pissed and coked up skinhead guy at the bar talking to himself. Tom went up to the bar and got talking to him and he was actually a big softy. He told Tom about the new Stooges album that was "really good but only had one good song and then another two that were alright and that the rest was shit". Half an hour later and he was at our table telling us the same thing again before having a conversation with the door handle. Nothing like a babbling skinhead to sober you up before bedtime...  

 

Part two of this lunacy can be found here...