coughy dogs should put Cambridge on the map, chaps.   Leave a comment

So when Bugs asks me at short notice to support the new band he’s drumming in I agree, because he’s a mate and I’m an implausibly kind and gracious individual, but I don’t expect them to be any good, not because Bugs is a monkey or anything, just because most bands aren’t, let’s face it.

But, actually, Ruby Nicholls are, as I immediately realize when I saunter in on their soundcheck. It’s quite a shock because there’s something eerily fully-formed about them, and like, the singer is a good singer, and he’s singing loud and clean. I’d already decided that I was going to have a good gig because there was no pressure because it was their debut gig and I doubted we’d get a whole lot of people, but now I felt like I’d better be good despite the fact. As it happens, the place ends up near to full and I end up having the best Um gig in months, and the best in CD sale terms ever without doubt. A Greek man bought five, for instance, as I was walking out the door. Such a cool night – a fucking lesson in how to do it really. Like, two of the band had never even really played onstage in a group before (although I recall guitarist Mario adding improvised live noise to Dans Ma Salon’s intense electro-wiggery at the upstairs at the last Good Times I did) and yet when almost every other new band in the world would settle for not-too-shambolic, it all seemed incredibly well-organised. They’d brought lights that turned the Portland stage into something that looked like a band might appear impressive on, setlists taped to the floor for each player, and a comedy 60’s bar (including fake fur) for the doorperson to prat about behind, which he did rather well, as though pissed off his head, which he was. And they were tight, and they opened with a real killer song too. Plus they hire two really good DJs – Squirrel and another bloke, who’s name I forget, who play interesting funky stuff that women like also, and so we have a kind of party atmos.

We were all a bit worried, y’see, because The Broken Family Band were playing at the Boat Race that night. Apparently they sold out too, so that makes it even weirder. How does that work? What the fuck is happening to Cambridge? How come there are decent local gigs? How come there are decent local bands? How come we’ve got loads of international electronic artists visiting the Portland Arms and people come and see them? Where the fuck is my record contract? Sorry.

Anyway, this is my theory: the music scene in Cambridge has been conspicuous by its absence since the dawn of time, as far as I can work out. If things are on the up, we should make haste with the hay whiles the sun shines, and not fuck about. Players of all stripes and sizes should have respect for themselves and knuckle down. You never know, it might happen. Even the Songwriter’s Night at The Boat Race was pretty busy the other night. I should go on about this. I ought to. I have a whole flow chart in my head about this… but I can’t be arsed. I’m very tired. Last week went on and on and then everyone in my house got sick at the weekend and are coughing like dogs.

Posted December 10, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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