Monday, April 25, 2005

Friday Night at The Villa

So... it was time for another Hat gig. This time at The Villa with Cicatrix, Betika and The Equidistant Sound. All 4 acts were brilliant and vastly varied. Cicatrix reminded me of some of the old ambient/trance stuff I used to listen to back in 1994/1995 like Orbital, Autechre, Manna and Banco De Gaia so I felt a good connection in the music.

Next up was Betika. Now this is the first time I've seen them live. And this was the full band - all 7 of them - which is probably the best way to see them for the first viewing. Dave Von Betika was understandably not happy with the sound settings and board mix, what with not being able to hear the monitors correctly and the bass and vocals being a bit on the quiet side. (you can catch his take on the proceedings here.)But, to be honest, I don't think it made a difference as the tunes were all top quality anyway. I must admit to being blown away by them actually, as the only stuff I've got of theirs on CD is Heads Smashed In By The Boy/Girl Thing and the Superglider Sampler 2003 CD (available on Superglider Records here) .... oh, and I downloaded the MP3's a couple of weeks ago while I was designing the poster for The Hat (that's a point, I dunno if they were ever posted up around town at all cos I haven't been in town much recently. But Steve wants me to design some more for their next gig next month so I guess they must've!!) Anyway, got side-tracked a bit there, what I was trying to say was that the tracks on those CD's are more chilled out with a slight Pulp/Cardigans feel to them but on stage they kicked supreme asses with their "finger click, hand clap singalongs"!! Simone said to me during their set that if she ever joined a band she'd want it to be Betika. Gonna defo see them again (either at Alcatraz on the 28th or at Mr Smiths on 6th May ... oh that reminds me, I get paid on the 28th!! Yippee!!!)

And then The Hat!! Superb is all I can say. They played an outstandingly atmospheric set from start to finish oozing oodles of stage presence and confidence starting with "The Church of Speed" - the last 8 bars of which was blasted at such a volume it made my left eye twitch and stray outwards to the left!! (You know what I'm talking about, Simone!) I think somebody on the sound board must've slipped their elbow on the master volume! Other songs included "Luftwaffe", "Alphabetise" and "U.N.I.T" - a homage to Dr Who's regular military interaction and how they set out to "sort them out good and proper". The Hat's equivilant to Smells Like Teen Spirit, in that everybody knows this as THE Hat song, is "Sway". It was given a slightly accidental sneak preview introduction by Mr James Burton in that he tested his keyboard before the song started, resonating that well known electronic bassline, which kinda ruined the element of surprise. But on the contrary it actually got the audience stoked and excited and made them wanting it to be played even more.

And finally it was time for Equidistant Sound. This is the first time I've seen these boys and it reminded me of a kind of Stereo MC's meets old school intelligent jungle. Which is a good thing. I expect if I know their music a bit more I would've probably enjoyed it more.... or maybe if I stood at the front?!? Who knows! I was trying to scrape together a couple of quid at the bar for my last pint as I was soooo skint - God, I felt like a student again! Speaking of which, there were moments in Equidistant Sound's songs that went from being really solid and infectious to sounding really bland and studenty! Sorry boys, if you're reading this, but I couldn't help feeling this during some of the funk-wahwah-guitar sections. I've heard too much of that before when I was at college (back when the Chilli Peppers were starting to hit the mainstream) and now all it reminds me of is that. Although, who am I to tell you to rewrite some of your tunes?? Nobody in particular that's who. But on your next album's worth of tunes you might want to take that into consideration - it's the only thing that's keeping new listeners back. Other than that it was a fucking great performance.

Other events during the night include sticking Betika website ads to our foreheads, appending sounds to kisses of different sexes (a boy-boy kiss was followed with an oooooh! a boy-girl kiss was followed by an aaaaahh! and a girl-girl kiss was followed by an aaaayyyy!!) that Dave Von Betika was all too shy to get involved in. Must've still been seething about the sound set-up. Er... what else.... me and Simone trying to piece together cash for beer, Scott and Mooro heckling "yes, miss" at Carolyn Von Betika - must've been some kinda in-joke! And I agreed to play bass in Gary and Mooro's new band - which should be interesting! Right, here's a few pics...

currently listening to: Betika - Boy/Girl Thing

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