Tuesday 27 December 2011

Call Of The Wyld- Review of 2011

The Good Natured - C.O.T.W. Band of the Year

So that’s 2011 then. Another year packed with excellent performances.

Back in January I first made contact with Insect Guide, a marvellous bunch who made a tiny room above a Camden pub into a very privileged place to be.

In February I negotiated my way to a very run down part of East London to see P J Harvey perform her ‘Let England Shake’ songs. I caught her again later in the year at the Albert Hall. I have to admit that I find this whole current project a lot easier to admire than to love. My wish for Peej going forward is that she allows herself to loosen up and enjoy herself once more.

Also at this time I saw Yuck on the brink of a wider breakthrough during a performance at Bush Hall. They’ve done really well this year and their album is creeping into a few end of year ‘Best of...’ lists.

March was the only time in 2011 that I managed to catch long time favourites Cold In Berlin. Magnificent as always and my spies tell me that their new material is tremendous. Watch out for an early catch up on this blog in 2012.

In the Spring I saw the impressively histrionic Anna Calvi, who I really like on record but who displays perhaps a little too much artifice on stage. Another artist who could stand to relax a bit more.

No gripes on that front from Telescopes and The Coathangers, both of whom were having such a good time that resistance was futile.

I also checked on the progress of Homesick Hustlers, who are pretty much my favourite of those kids who are just getting started. It’s all potential at the moment, but I genuinely believe that they have greatness in them.

Judging by the widget at the side of this blog that helpfully indicates who has visited the site, it seems that my trip to see Asteroids Galaxy Tour was the most popular report of the year. Quite right too – the band are terrific live and are guaranteed to always cheer you up. I reckon that they would do well in front of most audiences.

I had a wonderful evening with Niki & The Dove, who turned the whole venue into some kind of weird neon rave complete with hula hooping dancing girls. The band has been picked up by the BBC as one of the Sounds of 2012. They deserve to do well.

Fun was had with Florrie and Paradise Point at the Borderline and a much more gruelling experience with Atari Teenage Riot. ATR are deliberately disorienting, but this is certainly the first time that their incessant strobe lights have made me feel nauseous.

June was more genteel, with safe and enjoyable sets from The Sonics, The Fugs and Yo La Tengo at various venues on London’s South Bank.

As summer wore on I enjoyed The Good Natured at Hoxton. This, together with a brilliant set at the Lexington a few weeks ago cements them as Band of the Year and one that I will try to catch each time they play. An album is due shortly and should be a cracker.

I found the 1234 Shoreditch slightly disappointing compared to 2010, a blinding Lydia Lunch performance notwithstanding. No Offset Festival this year either – I hope that this event can be revived.

I saw CSS turn XOYO into a bubble-filled aquarium and then had a quite astonishing evening back at the Lexington with Screaming Females & Human Hair. The sheer power and ferocity of the former and the tight-shorted strangeness of the latter will live with me for a very long time. The runner-up to Gig of the Year.

I enjoyed Shonen Knife’s 30th Anniversary celebrations and then couldn’t quite figure EMA out.

One of my favourite performances of the whole year was that of Paris Suit Yourself at Madame JoJos. They had ludicrous sound problems, but turned adversity to advantage, eventually abandoning microphones altogether and simply hollering from the front of the stage.

I had another memorable night with Japanese gender bending rock outfit Versailles. Not only do my friends and I still amuse ourselves by copying the uniquely fey guitar pose that we first saw that evening, but I also got so lost going home that I spent nearly two hours wandering forlornly around some pretty rough estates down the back of Kings Cross.

A night to be remembered for all the right reasons was the all Scandinavian bash at Hoxton Bar & Grill featuring Razika (whom I’d not seen before), LCMDF (whom I’ve never seen better) and Sykur (who were too drunk to see- and were brilliant).

I satisfied my metal urges with Kvelertak & co at the Underworld and was completely blown away by a resurgent Wire at 2011’s Venue of the Year XOYO. Great support that night from Talk Normal as well.

XOYO also provided a lovely evening with Givers- a band who in an ideal world really ought to be poised for world domination in 2012.

I had a thoroughly entertaining time spending Halloween with Britney Spears. Not a guilty pleasure, a pleasure full stop.

December ends with what has turned out to be the Call of the Wyld Gig of the Year. Duchess Says, o F F Love and WE are all worthy of mention, but came together in a manner that was both magic and mayhem. It was art. It was a Happening. It was a gig. It was an assault. I can’t stop smiling when I think about it and I’ve still got a very painful crick in my neck from when Annie-Claude forced my head into the floor.

Unforgettable events that bring to a close an unforgettable year.

2012 - .Top that!

Duchess Says: Gig of the Year

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