London Calling Paradiso, Amsterdam - 31/3/06 - Part the first

As for where we were, it involved a bar, a couple of Incendiary heads, Mr. B, a blood soaked Jacket and a number of Fire Starters. The occasional Futurehead was in attendance till the early hours too, but to be honest, Richard singing British Sea Power songs in a George Formby voice proved the highlight of the after hours entertainment.

 

 

London Calling Paradiso, Amsterdam - 4/4/06  Part the first

 

Please forgive me if I'm acting a little strange. I'm still awake you see. It's 4pm on a Saturday afternoon and I'm still waiting to put Friday to bed. Actually, that's a lie, I put Friday to bed for about half an hour at around half past four this morning, but that was on a train platform, which obviously doesn't count. I must stress, however, that if this article wanders off into strange territory then for once I have an excuse. I've been up for the best part of 40 hours, I've been completely smashed, lived through a horrendous hangover and am currently smashed once again. In other words, be warned. I take all responsibility for my actions, but you read on at your peril. This could get messy.

 

Meeting up before the gig always seems to generate problems for the Incendiary team. This was one such occasion. Meeting an hour or two before a venue can give rise to such folly as drinking the odd pint too many before a gig, thus rendering any form of note taking redundant as our (read my) handwriting seems to turn into a strange shorthand code that even an enigma machine couldn't crack after a couple of Old Speckled Hens, but today, sorry yesterday, was worse. We met up at 12 o'clock. Well, a couple of us did and as the day continued into evening the Incendiary clan added more members. In the end, a whole squadron of badly dressed, passionate music lovers descended on the Paradiso. We were well oiled, well fed and well excited. We were also rather late.

 

Thankfully, the Tiny Dancers were running 'a tiny bit' late too, to the point that they hadn't even arrived at the venue, so we hadn't missed anything, which was somewhat of a relief.

 

The Dirty Pretty Things. Ah yes. Actually, this was a big surprise for me. Last time I saw Carl Barat he rushed his way through a terrible Libertines gig in the Melkweg, roundabout the time that Pete Doherty went on the run and turned up in a bath in Paris. Jesus, the band was terrible that night, but they had their reasons. I have to give Mr Barat credit for avoiding as much of the media circus that has developed around his former band and band-mate in particular as he has, but his return to the limelight must have put him under some ridiculous pressure.

Let's face it, even I, who couldn't give a flying buttress about The Libertines, save for a few songs, was eager to see if there was any life left in this young lad. What surprised me first of all was that Carl seems to have recruited two clones of himself to stand on either side of him. They looked like some sort of police line up, save for the drummer of course, who is ridiculously cool, and secondly they surprised me because, no matter how hard I tried to fight it, I thought they were bloody brilliant. Even though Carl seemed to growl instead of sing, even though the sound was flat and it was entirely impossible to determine which member of the band was playing what part of the noise coming from the speakers, they were marvelous. Bang, Bang, You're Dead is just the start of these guys. I would give them a comeback of the year award already, but they're a new band so that doesn't work and now I'm all confused. Just forget the Libertines, if you haven't already and look forward to these guys coming round your way soon. Carl, all is forgiven. Come back soon.

 

Carl's prize comeback got me in a good mood, but I still don't think that accounts for the fact that Bromheads Jacket were marvelous too. They made such a superb first impression that I actually forgot about how much their songs had annoyed me on first listen and sent me and the rest of the Incendiary team into a fit of clapping and 'hoorahing'. Not only that but they sent the kids that wild with excitement that we actually saw Dutch people moshing and dancing in the Kleine Zaal. I know, I know, we couldn't believe it either. Christ they were good. I had previously thought that they were a guitar version of the Streets and I can't stand Mike Skinner's nonsense so I hadn't given them a chance but after checking them out here I'm gonna have to say that they're a guitar version of the Streets and you should all give them a chance. I've made them our myspace friend and everything. These guys are cool. In fact, the single best moment of the night came when lead Bromhead Tim became so excited he jumped into the crowd, head-butting his guitar neck on the way in and carving a big slice out of his forehead. After clambering back onto the stage, broken guitar in hand and blood pissing from his forehead he surveyed the crowd and said, "Amsterdam, we'll never fucking forget this."  Neither will we, Tim, neither will we. Top drawer.

 

My Latest Novel on the other hand, were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The organisers of London Calling always do this. They get everybody in the Paradiso excited with a bunch of guitar bands, often shoving the best of them into the small room upstairs and then they throw a bunch of beard stroking folk musicians on the main stage, just after everyone's warmed up. It's as if the organizers are Romans feeding Christians to the Lions whilst they sit around and watch the carnage that ensues. They did this with Aberfeldy a few years back and they were simply ignored. People actually ran away from My Latest Novel. Personally I lasted until they spent seven minutes repeatedly shouting the phrase "When we were wolves". At that point even I had to flee. To be fair, one of the Incendiary clan managed to survive their whole set and came out of it at the end proclaiming he'd just witnessed something wonderful. We fear he may have been brainwashed. Further investigation is needed to draw a healthy conclusion.

 

Oh dear. I think the next band that we actually saw were The Immediate, but I'm probably wrong. Anyway, they were immediately dull and by the time they finished they were immediately forgettable, so the less I say about them the better. I do remember one of them lying down at one point though, so I suppose they were getting into it a little. Just imagine you didn't read this paragraph, then we'll all be better off.

 

The Futureheads. I'd been waiting a long time to see these guys. Four canny lads from Sunderland (Although it turns out one if them is actually from Newcastle) playing short, sharp, punk rock. Actually, they're more than just punk and they're more than just another guitar band playing short, sharp, aggressive guitar songs. They are, for want of a less banded about phrase, bloody marvelous and tonight, sorry last night (I'm getting confused again), simply reaffirmed that. And they talk proper an'all. What a performance! The Paradiso may well be one of the greatest venues in the World, but more often than not, the sound can be a little disappointing in the main hall (see Dirty Pretty Things earlier in this rambling article). I don't know how much the Futureheads are paying their soundman, but he deserves every bastard penny because they sounded fantastic here. The sound was so good you could hear every little mistake. Each guitar came across crisp, clear and precise and their vocal harmonies, which are as big a part of their sound as the razor sharp guitars, were easy to pick out. Like I said before, they were bloody marvelous. Decent Days and Nights, The City Is Ready For You and Robot were all fantastic, as was last single Area, but I was most impressed with how the new songs, whose names I can't remember and simply can't read from my notes (told you!), seemed to fit in alongside their well known favourites and more than held there own. I think the new album will sound very different and slightly more 70's rock influenced, but after this performance I'm practically gagging to get a listen to it. Sadly the appearance of Hounds Of Love received the greatest cheer of the night, but that's got more to do with the fact that I hate all things Kate Bush than it has to do with them not playing it very well. They came, they saw, they blew the bloody roof off. Fabulous.

 

We Start Fires. Off up the stairs to the belfry we strode once again to see what was easily the best looking band I've seen in years. The girls in the audience certainly went mad for the appearance of Mr Barat earlier in the evening, but the lads in the belfry went beserk for this bunch of lasses (and one lad) from Darlington. Not only do they look good, but they sound great too. Their set was strong, fast, passionate and filled with more energy than a bunch of sex starved rabbits. We loved them, as did the kids, who started jumping up and down again. Hoorah. Sexy, smart and fiery (no pun intended – I'm too tired for that) we predict big things for these four and not just because they are the sweetest smelling band we've come across in years, but that did get them a bonus point.

 

Apparently Tiny Dancers did eventually turn up, but to be honest, I was elsewhere, as were most of the Incendiary team. The couple of clan members that did hang around told me that they played guitars and yelped a lot. I suppose we'll just have to believe them. Perhaps we'll find out more about them later on down the line.

 

As for where we were, it involved a bar, a couple of Incendiary heads, Mr B, a blood soaked Jacket and a number of Fire Starters. The occasional Futurehead was in attendance till the early hours too, but to be honest, Richard singing British Sea Power songs in a George Formby voice proved the highlight of the after hours entertainment. We may have to put this down on record.

 

 

London Calling Night 1 is over. Richard will keep you informed of Day Two here. I'm going to bed.

 

Words: Damian Leslie