Musings and pic-taking from Alan Dearling
At a risk of sounding a bit like a judge at Crufts, the Trades Club in Hebden last night hosted an array of musicians with fine ‘pedigrees’! The Trades Club is steeped in music histories. A socialist co-operative club, an upstairs music venue and bar, complete with Thai food, real ales and more at reasonable prices. Artists who have performed there include Patti Smith, The Fall, Laura Marling, Steve Hillage and Gaudi. I’ve been lucky enough to see a number of the mostly fabulous gigs there.
Here’s a pretty fair assessment of the place from a post on-line from Chas Birch:
“I grew up in Hebden. Can’t really begin to describe to you what that was like. Only that it was one hell of a place back then. I worked at Aurora Wholefoods and was so very fortunate to know some incredible people. Pretty much all of them used to gravitate to The Hebden Bridge Trades — it was the very CENTRE OF THE EARTH as it was host to many LEGENDARY ARTISTS & MUSICIANS (and it continues to attract incredible talent). I wonder if there’s a record of all those who have played there, because it would blow your mind?!! It’s not without its flaws but that’s part of its charm and for a real GENUINE MUSIC EXPERIENCE, I can’t recommend the place highly enough!!”
A double-header music event.
First up, the Miki Berenyi Trio performing what Miki called “A sort of K-Tel compilation of songs from Lush”. Then, headlining, a newish outfit, Aircooled (members from Elastica, Jesus and Mary Chain, The Wedding Present and Piroshka and other bands) showcasing their debut album, ‘St Leopards’. A mighty pulsating, throbbing slice of mesmeric, vaguely Germanic electronic beats – shades of Neu!, Can and a shed-load of EDM.
Miki Berenyi Trio
Before the gig, Miki Berenyi said, “I played some Lush songs with KJ ‘Moose’ McKillop and Oliver Cherer at book events for my memoir, ‘Fingers Crossed’ and enjoyed it so much that we’ve decided to extend our set. Expect new songs and old, and a ton of guitar pedals which we may or may not gaze at.”
I’m not a Lush aficionado. Formed in 1987, they are often characterised as the original ‘shoegazers’! I just recognised some of the songs and the Lush ‘sound’. It’s kind of doomy, with a heavy, distorted bass undertow, underpinning Miki’s half-whispered vocalising style. I have listened to many recordings from 4AD artists such as the Cocteau Twins. Lush music seems to feel like a link between Siouxsie and the Banshees, Throwing Muses, This Mortal Coil and Dead Can Dance. Ethereal walls of ululating sound. There were certainly swathes of stalwart fans in the Trades’ audience, many swaying and humming along. Miki was up front and personal with the audience, making such comments at the end of one song: “That was an obscure Lush B-side…No, actually it’s a new song, but if I told you that, you’d all fuck off to the bar.”
‘Desire Lines’ live in the US, on KCRW in 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiP9e4UDQFs
Wow! Quite a sound and presence. Swirling electronica… Persistent, driving, incendiary beats – screeching sounds. On the edge of frightening off-kilter darkness and dread. Militaristic beats. Dance Music – not Dance music. A Can-type of sound, but much more distorted. Here are Aircooled rehearsing their track ‘Supamoto-disco’ from their debut album, very recently: 4/3/22. Perhaps Japanese kraut-rock?
I can’t help conjuring up the Dr Who theme fronted by a deranged Laurie Anderson. Wonderful, eerie and strange. It’s mostly instrumental, a big sound, and really very original. The machine-gun sounds made by electro-plasms (whatever they might be)!
From their press release, we learn that, “The debut album, St Leopards started life as a lockdown project and features four tracks, two of which break 14 minutes. You’ll hear the influence of bands like Neu! and Amon Duul but with a bit of disco-glam swagger reminiscent of Le Crunch and the Ballroom Blitz.
The addition of Katharine’s no nonsense, so solid bass for live shows triggered the band’s explosion into something altogether more vital and exciting. The first few packed shows, featuring guest stars, extended motor grooves and disco blitz have achieved ‘I was there!’ status among those that truly were there (and some that weren’t).”
St Leopards is out now on Music’s Not Dead.
Justin Welch – drums/programming [JAMC, Piroshka, Elastica etc.]
Katharine Wallinger – bass [The Wedding Present]
Oliver Cherer – guitar/keys [Gilroy Mere, Piroshka]
Riz Maslen – occasional vocals [Neotropic]
Mew – occasional vocals/keys and album artwork [Elastica]
After the gig, Oliver, who played with both bands messaged me saying:
“Cheers Alan. Really glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the fab pics. I think we made friends in that room. We all loved it.”