Afterwards we danced to the Human League and talked about the pizza Yuko Yuko ate in Inverness. This is the stuff of dreams, of legend.
The place is full, and I mean FULL of teenagers. They go round in packs. They run and skateboard around the upstairs complex. They run up and down the steps, pressed together for reassurance and maybe just for the fucking hell of it. They sidle up to the bar under the stairs in groups and demand (DEMAND) beers off the poor, spaced-out bar dude (who has difficulty remembering what galaxy he's in whilst dealing with this tumultuous, hissy, preening and squawking mass of Jeugd). This is the weirdest trip ever at the SUB. Imagine if this lot got turned on to shit like Kode9 or Carter Tutti Void and started hanging out in Vrijplaats and demanding at least 3 shows a week in the Generator.
Turning up after a long and very pleasant afternoon eating curry and playing Julian Cope, we were confronted by this gibbering youthquake. We took immediate refuge upstairs with fellow oldsters The Homesick; who sprawled like the gentlemen retainers at the court of King Charles II. Ah, The Homesick. I've seen them about 15 times this last 6 months, and it's not only Jaap's hair (once a fringe that wouldn't look out of place on a thoroughbred, now a peroxide shock of thatch) that has changed. They are now growing into a band that is being really talked about, and rightly so; their heady rush of gauche, Postcard-pop now being forged into something of real substance and strength. This gig at SUB though, I suspect, was a gig that quietly bemused them. It must have been like Groundhog Day for Elias, Jaap & Erik. One minute dealing with increasingly professional set ups in foreign climes, enjoying cool press from their fawning Dutch "peers", and playing with and in other cool bands, the next facing a bunch of skateboarding 15 year old provincials let loose from parental supervision for the night. No matter, SUB is the place where the unexpected happens. That's the rider here.
No Future Kids was the reason for such a mental crowd. Incendiary had been knocked out by them in de Nobel at the April AA night where they'd managed to play a straight, sharp show without any silly business, and given an inkling that they could offer something other than the run-of-the mill, "first band" punky teen bombast. And they did a MEAN cover of the Stooges' I Wanna Be Your Dog to boot, which was boss squared. In the SUB, and with all their mates cheering them on (and often invading the stage - some mean feat given its Lilliputian size) the Kids initially kicked up a storm; and their brutally direct songs and intensely-messy-but-intense-nonetheless playing (as if they were soundtracking the end of the world, or at least the school year) came on like Rocket From the Tombs. Yowzah! The singer also has a way with words that only a frustrated kid from the sticks can muster, and a voice that sounds way older than he actually is. This is a major thing to have in any band's locker, and they really need to work on how to keep musically balancing out this simple, often overpowering, no-nonsense directness. After the Stooges cover (again a concrete driller of a take) they relaxed a bit and stuff started to get a wee bit slack here and there. They also indulged in some soloing. For this once we'll let them off, but never again (solos are for side, or solo projects.) This old git says; "go and listen to Can's Monster Movie, or Pere Ubu's Final Solution without delay." But hey, come back to SUB as often as you can. And bring all your mates.
Sadly many of the No Future Kids' fans (outside of the band themselves) came down to check The Homesick. This lack of curiosity, or nervousness in breaking ranks is a shame, and one that Jaap from The Homesick sarkily picked up on this as The Homesick kicked off.* It was almost as if there were two audiences in the rammed SUB. Still it matters not. The Homesick are a joy to watch and one of those truly rare bands who can hold your attention playing a floor show, kids party, main stage or a shop. Their versatility is vitally important and something they should treasure. I always worry when I see bands who get quickly get taken up into the Dutch circuit, because they never seem to get out of it. Bombarded with idiot advice from a cast of talking heads (who see music as something cool and not their lifeblood) and slowly atrophying along the way because of the circuit's bullshit, pretend "professionalism" (which actually hampers growth and warps perspective) it can be a bitch for a genuinely good Dutch band. Doing all sorts of gigs, in your own way (BB King style) means you never ever get stale or precious about your art. And keeps you good, regardlesss of the Hilversum daleks.
Enough. Back to the night. The Homesick blasted off, with their tremendous opening "left-right" of Hyperventilation Baby and Stereo Lisa leading the charge. Once Jaap had sorted his bass out (which, in SUB's gloomy burial champer, had taken on the aspect of a runaway road drill) the band raced into the brilliant Gucci Gucci, a track that combines the best of Litter and Count Five in one, and gives both these hoary old fuckers a C21st pixel sheen. A stone classic and a sound of the future-past. The crowd started warming up; with Boys' and Purple Maid's singalongability slowly being picked up by an increasingly restless and joyous SUB. Shit; everyone was spaced off cheap Shultenbrau, the dude under the stairs was talking to the moon, and even some youngsters had come in to groove. And yowzah! some of the oldies who had stood through many a SUB gig with nary a gentle nod of the head saw fit to cut rug and rhumba; others started a mosh pit. Motherfucker, some shaman had decreed that SUB's ancestral bones were to be brought out and to be celebrated in true burial mound style. On the gig went, Jaap a-screeching and a-squawking, Elias doing a crotch-bustin' belly dance, and Erik looking like he was drumming up Loki, in falcon form. By the time Cut Your Hair - their "no one loves me" anthem was aired, the lyrics were belted back at the band. Oh, and all hell broke loose with forthcoming single, The Best Part of Being Young Is Falling in Love With Jesus. Sinews were ripped, bruises were given and taken and the lovely old SUB even saw some inept crowdsurfing. Class. More of this. Afterwards we danced to the Human League and talked about the pizza Yuko Yuko ate in Inverness. This is the stuff of dreams, of legend.
*Jaapje unwittingly summoning up / mirroring a brilliant put down by Edwyn Collins on my Orange Juice "Live at Sheffield University 1982" bootleg: "There's a lot of NASTY OLD people in the club tonight, children".