Thursday 18 December 2008

The Call Of The Wyld Review of the Year.

Band Of The Year - Death Cigarettes

There have been many great gigs this year and I can’t really mention them all.

Death Cigarettes at the George Tavern was pretty much my idea of heaven – astonishing levels of energy, deafeningly loud and astoundingly good. The performance of the year. The same band were also devastating at Proud Gallery, especially with singer Maya railing against the injustice of having to contend with a crowd barrier. Seriously, if you go to just one gig in 2009, don’t waste your time with Blur or Oasis playing in some giant shed – find out where Death Cigarettes are playing, get down the front and let your teeth rattle.

The whole Offset festival was a pleasure – a nice small site with dozens of great bands and minimal set clashes. And the rain held off, mostly. SCUM played in a tent full of smoke, Glam Chops fell apart in a tent full of people and Rachel from Kasms wrestled a girl to the floor and squashed her ice cream. Also in a tent.

The most crowded gig of the year was Telepathe at Catch. Theirs was the only set during which I never actually touched the floor.

The biggest crowd of the year was that at Gallhammer’s Water Rats show. Metal fans are HUGE. It was like being wedged in a forest of double wardrobes. The band were great too, occasionally appearing out of clouds of dry ice, gurning ferociously. This was also the loudest gig of the year and the most painful – I still have the broken drumstick that flew out of the mist and impaled my neck.

The funniest sight of the year was the drunken girl who totally usurped Shitty Limits at the Old Blue Last. She had more energy and was more chaotic than a molecule in the Large Hadron Collider.

Mass audience participation at the last ever performance of Be Your Own PET, the band eventually being crushed out of existence by a pile of well wishers.

In terms of stamina, it is a toss up between the non-stop bouncing aerobics of You Love Her Coz She’s Dead at Offset, or Mark Stewart & The Maffia playing two sets at the Royal Festival Hall, the second of these in the foyer and still going on some three months later. Probably.

And did I mention Death Cigarettes playing during the Camden Crawl and weirding out an entire bus of pensioners who pulled up outside the pub just as the band were leaping on tables?

I spent half of Vampire Weekend’s gig at ULU in the cold outside, after some bright spark set off the fire alarm. Later in the year, at the same venue, I found Pink Eyes of Fucked Up daintily moving through a crowd of small girls, being the gentleman and not crushing them, much to their disappointment.

Also having difficulties were Ladytron, who had to retire half way through their gig due to synthesiser-knack.

The apparently dead girl being carried past us by her mates at Mindless Self Indulgence’s marvellously pyrotechnic Roundhouse show

…and the singer from Hearts Revolution being unable to continue her show because of an earlier concussion.

The Fighting Cocks freezing their parts off in a tent in the middle of Trafalgar Square in January. To the complete bafflement of passing tourists.

The worst gig of the year was Alex and Stephen, Dirty Projectors, Six Organs of Admittance and Frog Eyes on an endless, stultifyingly boring night at the Forum. This was what I imagine being in cryogenic suspension must be like.

Hissy fit of the year came from The Tamborines, whose guitarist threw down his instrument and stumped off, only to have to return moments later to reclaim it and clear the stage for the next act.

Venue of the year was St Leonard’s Church, where SCUM, Kasms and An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump put on a dazzling son-et-lumiere amidst the pews. Shame about the drug dealer touting his wares by the font.

And of course the two gigs in Japan, which were utterly delightful and deeply bizarre.

Aside from those mentioned above, there were great sets this year from Cobra Dukes, Client, Esser, Oh No! Oh My!, Battlekat, The Bookhouse Boys, O Children, Fleet Foxes, Sparks, Gang of Four, The Favours, Mindless Self Indulgence, Rochelle, The Duloks, Wire, Trademark, Maria & The Mirrors, Shit and Shine, Rolo Tomassi and Bodies of Water. And others I’ve temporarily forgotten. Like Yeborobo.

Another cracking year. Roll on 2009.

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