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Sunday, 27 February 2011

Lux Lives 2011 - Bar Bloc (Glasgow)

When someone tells you that they are playing a gig in honour of Lux Interior of the Cramps and all the proceeds from it are going to a charitable disaster fund then there doesn't seem any good reason not to offer some support and attend.
Then when they add that it will only cost £5 and the first fifty people will get a free CD it starts to sound like an opportunity that can't really be missed. In fact it sounded too good to be true, but sometimes fact is stranger than fiction and it was indeed true.
Eleven bands were going to be doing three or fours Cramps, or associated songs, each between 10 pm and 3am in Bar Bloc in Glasgow, and like a true Cramps devotee I wasn't going to miss it.
Kosher Pickle were the first band of the evening to step up and pay homage and did so in true psych garage style. Resplendent in blonde wigs a la Brian Jones - except for one who had drew the short straw and was wearing a Doris Day styled one - they ripped through “You got good taste and Garbageman.”
Refreshingly enough they managed to avoid doing straight covers and instead warped the songs with a sound that was sort of reminiscent of the British invasion. Nicely done.
Straight on their heels The Bucky Rage put the shambles in shambolic with a raw beating up of Strychnine and then a take on The Crusher that could only have been made better if they had some Mexican midgets to throw about.
Although I have been accused of claiming that everything can be improved with the addition of some Mexican midgets in wrestling gear so maybe that's not saying too much.
Louise McVey & The Cracks In The Concrete took things down a different path after that with some imaginative re-workings of Bikini Girls, Flamingo and TV Set. I've seen them once before and left unimpressed, but this time with the punk attitude turned up a notch I was left thinking that a reappraisal may be due. Nicely impressive.
Everything was moving pretty fast by this point and without wasting any time a guy by the name of “The Charles Randolph Rivers Slim Rhythm Revue” decided that it was time to up the ante and delivered what would be the best set of the night, and one that included quite possible the best cover of Green Door that I have ever heard. Forget the chart friendly Shakin Stevens cover as this was how it should be played.
Throughout his short set I kept hearing a fleeting glimpse of something familiar, but for the life of me I couldn't grasp at it until right now. It was that Charles Randolph Rivers is similar in style to the very talented Dan Sartain, not so much as a soundalike, but more so that they share an attitude in how they sell a song to an audience. Things got a bit more raucous after that when The Acid Fascists brought their idea of what aggressive garage rock should sound like to the party. Elvis Fucking Christ hammered by in a blur, before giving way to a pretty muscular Strychnine that sounded nothing like the earlier version that The Bucky Rage played, and then as a finale Shortnin Bread was given a real hard adrenaline shot to the arm. It's a sweaty vain popping throat stretching set that could be filed under R for relentless, and I'm definitely going to have to check them out again sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately the night took a little dip after that when The Bastard Suite made some self indulgent swipes at Pussycat Kill Kill, Psychotic Reaction and All women are bad, although they managed to redeem themselves by shaking The Gun Clubs “For the Love of Ivy” about a bit.
Filthy Little Secret were unfortunate to be the band to hit the stage just as about half the audience decided that they had enough for the night and headed for the door, then it got worse when the vocals dipped so low in the mix that it would be difficult for anyone who had never seen them before to tell if they were any good or not.
I have, more than once, and I can assure anyone wondering that they are actually a very good band, and this was hinted at in the last song when the vocals were finally balanced out.
Not the ending to the night that I envisioned, but over all the quality and passion of the bands who played was there for all to see and I'd had a blast.
There was still another couple of bands to go, but this was now 2am and I was flagging. I would have probably toughed it out, but with another all-dayer on in the morning and a thirty mile journey home I capitulated and said my goodbyes.
All in it had been a night of new discoveries playing the music I love for a very worthy cause and barring famine, pestilence, floods or other dire apocalyptic scenarios there's a good chance that I'll be back next year to do it all again.

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