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Live Performance

Details

Date: Thursday, 23rd of September 1999 8:00pm 938142000 (18 years 4 days ago)
Venue: Wetlands
Location: New York New York USA
With
Performers
Pat Fish ( guitar, vocals , bass ) , Max Eider ( guitar, vocals ) , Pat Beirne ( harmonica ) , Owen Jones ( accordion , drums , keyboards , percussion , guitar ) , Steve Valentine ( bass ) , Kevin Haskins ( drums , percussion )
Photos
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Credit: Jen Uscher and Jason Conradt
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Credit: Robert Ferin
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Credit: Wilson Neate

Poster

[poster for XX]
Credit: Pat Fish

Press

Village Voice (New York, New York, USA), 23rd of September, 1999 (Thursday)
Timeout (New York, New York, USA), 23rd of September, 1999 (Thursday)

Pat Says

We arrived in New York to check into our atmospheric hotel on The Bowery and to be re-united with Kevin, whose pal Mark took us on a splendid drinking expedition around the Lower East Side. Quite by chance we ended up in the promoter local at about three in the morning.

At lunchtime Max and the Butcher visited WNYU where we recorded an interview and a bunch of acoustic versions, recorded on borrowed guitars, which gave us a whole new kind of groove in the fingers of the left hand.

Sound-check was a confused affair, owing to the fact that we had to assemble equipment from all over the place, none of which was familiar to us. Many thanks to everyone who helped out! Things were further complicated by certain members of the group locking their guitars in their cases and leaving the keys on the other side of Manhattan. Then there was all the rest of it random feedback, electric shocks... it was all happening! As Kevin pointed out, if the Bad Sound-check/Good Show rule was holding good, then this should be the very devil of a concert

First, however, came the opening band, charmingly entitled Asseaters UK. Love that... touch! They were only playing their first gig, but they had a great bottom end with a fine rhythm section and Todd scratching in samples off his decks. Them as likes their Happy Mondays and such should get along and check them out. Their set was short but sweet and went down well with everyone except those few deluded loonies who had convinced themselves that the opening act would turn out to be Love and Rockets

Overheard in the ladies' lavatory just before the show: So do you think this is really the Butcher's last show? Naaah... they've lied before.

Somebody had, indeed, advertised this as the last Butcher show, but we all know that that was back in December 1995, right? Taking the stage I told them that it was certainly the last JBC show in America this century. Seemed safe enough at the time.

Max and I went on to start things rolling. As the first notes of "Partytime" began to roll it became clear that Max had left the heavy distorted sound on his guitar. Oh how we laughed! Luckily he got himself sorted pretty damn quick. Things settled down after that and we played a fairly sweet opening section, with special guest Pat Beirne joining in on his harmonica only hours after arriving in the USA. Kevin arrived for a storming version of "Dracula", but then everything went silent in the rhythm guitar department... it turned out that a fuse had blown in my borrowed JC120 and nobody had any spares in the house.

We spent an incredibly frustrated ten minutes lurking in the dressing room, and even had to beat off one or two punters who thought that we had already finished. Finally Bob the house sound man came up with an inventive solution to the fuse problem and we were able to carry on.

From there on the set was hard and manic, and the vibe was grand. We were called back for two encores, spilled beer all over the place and generally had a grand time.

After the show the party went on to Clay, a bar on Mott Street, where we raged until about five a.m.

Audience: About 400

Line-up: Pat Fish , Max Eider , Owen Jones , Steve Valentine , Kevin Haskins , Pat Beirne

Many thanks to everyone who came to our shows, and to all those who helped set them up, publicised them, worked the sound or the bar or whatever. We all had a grand time and we'd like you to know that we appreciated all your help.

Pat Fish: NN1 September 1999

Ticket

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Credit: Scott Deschaine

Reviews


Because I Found Out Already What Makes My Heart Sing:

The Jazz Butcher, Wetlands, NYC, September 23, 1999

C.A. Schneck

I got to see this show because of a vision I had. I know that sounds mad, but I can't think of a better word. During my lunch hour, one day in late August, I was walking to Chinatown in Boston, listening to the Jazz Butcher song "Rosemary Davis World of Sound" on my headphones. I suddenly had an image in my head of being in New York with my friend Jerry and Pat Fish (a.k.a. the Jazz Butcher). When I got back to work, I looked up the Jazz Butcher web site and saw that he was playing several shows in the US, including one in New York City. I told Jerry and he got us tickets for the show.

I'm not going to attempt to give a full history of the Jazz Butcher; there's a wonderful web site (actually, it's pretty much the only worthwhile thing I've seen in my limited use of the Internet) at jazzbutcher.com. He's been around since the early eighties, but stopped playing as the Jazz Butcher a few years ago; currently he's not on a label and nearly all of his records are out of print. His music ranges from silly drinking songs to social commentary to gorgeous romantic guitar numbers - guess which ones are my favorites! He doesn't play in the US very often, and I really never expected to get to see him play.

We got to the club around the time it was supposed to open, and of course it didn't open on time. I could hear the tantalizing sounds of the Jazz Butcher's sound check coming through the metal curtains covering the entrance; I recognized "Mr. Odd." Wetlands, on Hudson Street, has the appearance of an abandoned warehouse, but Jerry had bought the tickets there so we knew we were in the right place. We positioned ourselves on the ramp near the entrance and amused ourselves people-watching and singing "All Tomorrow's Parties." Quite a few cute people in the crowd. Eventually they opened the curtains and turned on the lights and made us line up and wait some more. As we were waiting, a tall, gaunt man in a suit came over the chains at the opposite side of the entrance and went into the club. Jerry said something about him looking like he was dead.

Finally they started letting us in. The club was small but well laid out. To my right as I entered were the stairs to the bathrooms downstairs and a DJ booth made out of a wrecked van; to the left were steps up to the bar. Further back, the stage was against the right wall, with a dressing room area in the back right corner and seating along the left wall. Jerry and Sophie got places in the back left corner and then Jerry and I went to the bar. While he was buying drinks, I noticed the tall, gaunt man we had seen before. He was signing autographs. It was Max Eider, the guitarist.

I couldn't sit still, so I found what I hoped was a good spot near the right-hand corner of the stage, and stood against a pillar drinking my beer. I happened to look over my right shoulder and saw Pat Fish. I felt my face light up in a big grin, and he smiled at me. At that point, I didn't care what the rest of the evening was like.

There was a long wait before the opening band played. They had the unfortunate name Asseaters U.K. Their singer seemed drunk and embarrassed, but they didn't play very long. Someone said that the last song that they did was a Mekons song, but it wasn't one that I knew. Immediately after they left the stage, a red-haired woman in jeans and a short-haired guy in a red t-shirt began setting up effects boxes and other equipment. The club was quite full and I was glad that I had claimed my spot early.

Finally, Max Eider and Pat Fish came onstage, to tremendous applause. Someone helped Max over to a stool, right in front of where I was standing. Pat was a little to the left. I had a great view, except that the stage lights weren't on. Pat said, "I'm comfortable with my sexuality, could we have some light up here?" He talked about how he just found out that Wetlands donates any profits they make to environmental causes, and said, "What a good room to be in!" They started the show with "Partytime." As Pat sang, "I could look at all the girls that are in this room," he looked around at all the girls in the front row. He was extremely attractive, although not conventionally handsome. Dark hair, dark eyes, great eyebrows, several teeth out - very British. He wore a dark blue suit over a grey cotton knit shirt with buttons at the neck, and soft-looking black leather shoes. Max was wearing a suit and black Doc Martens. Max was playing a hollow-bodied electric guitar, Pat a solid-bodied one with a sticker of a head of a cat wearing a rhinestone collar and winking its left eye. Several times during the first part of the set he made comments about them playing "pussy music." He also told the audience "Relax, we're going to be up here for hours," and referred to the show as the last Jazz Butcher show of the century (Wetlands billed it as the last ever.) After "Partytime" came "Too Much Falling In Love," then Max Eider sang his song, "Raking Up the Leaves." He seemed horribly nervous or something, but his singing and playing were gorgeous.

They were then joined by Owen Jones, who with Pat and Max played on the earliest Jazz Butcher recordings, through 1986's Distressed Gentlefolk. He was dressed more casually than the others, wearing a striped knit shirt, and had sandy brown hair. Pat thanked someone at the club for lending them the accordion which Owen Jones was about to play, and said that theirs had gotten smashed by United Airlines - "Boo United Airlines!" He urged everyone to fly Delta. He then introduced "Girls Who Keep Goldfish" as a song about small gold fish. The previous weekend I had bought a pair of costume-jewelry earrings for fifty cents from an eccentric old lady at a yard sale; they were strings of gold-colored fish. I took them off the earrings and put them on safety pins, and thought that I would give one to Pat Fish if I got the chance to speak to him. As soon as I heard him say, "Small gold fish," I took off one pin and tossed it onto the stage. He looked at it and left it lying there. Pat also told what he referred to as a joke and said that he was testing people's reactions to it - "In Seattle there was dead silence." He said that when he was about eight, a kid came up to him on the playground and said, "You know your dad?" and he said yeah and the kid said, "He drives with his brakes on." Later on in the set, he finished up a song by saying, "He drives with his brakes on, ladies and gentlemen, the Jazz Butcher."

After "Girls Who Keep Goldfish," Pat switched to bass and handed his guitar to Owen Jones, who sang his song " Don't Let Me Keep You (Owen Jones) ," which was very sad and lovely. Max then sang "Who Loves You Now?" Then Pat switched back to guitar and introduced Patrick Byrne, who he said had flown all the way from London that day to play with them. He was wearing a light-colored suit coat over a dark shirt, and had a rather peculiar haircut with shaved sides; we had noticed him outside the club before the show. He played kazoo and harmonica. Max sang "D.R.I.N.K.," with kazoo accompaniment by Pat, Patrick and (I think) Owen. Pat then introduced Steven B. Ballantine, who joined them on bass. He was someone whose name I didn't recognize - he looked young and a little shy, and was wearing a suit, I think. Near the end of the set, Pat thanked him especially and said that he drove the van on the West Coast, played bass "and is also the band's attorney." Following the drinking theme, they played "Soul Happy Hour." On the recorded version, the introductory lyric is "The best things in life are free/But you can give them to the S.D.P." (the Social Democratic Party). When they played the song, Pat sang, "The best things in life are free/But you can give them to Spacemen 3."

As I mentioned before, most of my favorite Jazz Butcher songs are the woozy, romantic ones from his later albums. Since they were all recorded with a different band, I didn't really expect him to play them, and he didn't. The one song I was really dying to hear was "Angels," from Distressed Gentlefolk. (Regular readers of Feedback will recall my paean to "Angels" a few issues back.) After "Soul Happy Hour," Pat sang a couple of lines from "The Sandman," and then broke into "Angels." I was ecstatic. Superlatives fail me. In the verse that begins, "I can see them..." he added the lines, "They're up in heaven...I know because I've been there." Possibly the closest thing I've ever had to an orgasmic musical experience. Wow.

Kevin Haskins joined the band on drums, wearing a black shirt, with black hair in a sort of quiff. Pat Fish picked up the string of fish I had thrown onstage earlier, held it up and said "Thanks for the fish," then put it in the pocket of his suit coat. He introduced the next song as about being on "the wrong side of the Carpathians" - "The Jazz Butcher vs. Count Dracula." Toward the end of the song, Pat's amp stopped working. The roadies came up on stage and started trying to fix it. People were yelling out song titles and suggestions. Someone said he should play through Max's amp and Pat said, "You don't want me coming through there," and Max looked horrified and shook his head. Someone else said, "Break up," and Pat said, "We tried that." After the same person yelled about four song titles, Pat said, "Honey, I'd be happy to be able to play you ANY FUCKING THING right now." He then announced that they would take a short break while "the Cathy and Rob show" tried to fix the amp, and then more or less ran off stage, very exasperated.

Eventually, the roadies got the fuse changed in the amp, possibly the only time I've ever participated in an ovation for roadies. Incidentally, the crowd at the show was one of the most good-humored and positive crowds I've ever been in. Clearly everyone was there because they really wanted to be, and most of the audience seemed to know most of the songs. One person kept yelling, "Stop mucking about!" but I think they thought they were being funny. After the second or third time, Pat said, "Go see a band that didn't break up four years ago."

Pat came back onstage without his suit jacket and said something about having his coat off now. They played "She's on Drugs" and "Mr. Odd," two of my favorites from 1990's Cult of the Basement. Pat then introduced "Walk With the Devil" as "having been written during the Cold War, when writing about St. Petersburg was supposed to be ironic." They played "President Reagan's Birthday Present" and "Caroline Wheeler's Birthday Present." Then Max played his song "The Long Night Starts," which was quite lovely. Pat sang a verse of "Purple Rain" as the intro to "Rain," a song that I'd never heard, yet which sounded oddly familiar. Next was "Girlfriend," another favorite of mine - "Well, it's funny cause I thought that it could have turned out quite romantic/But it isn't like that, which is fine, cause it means I can stand it." At some point in here, someone brought a beer up to the stage and tried to hand it to Pat. He had his back turned to the audience and Max Eider tapped him on the arm and said, "Pat, someone's trying to give you a drink." Pat introduced "Old Snakey," from 1995's Illuminate, as being from "a record that never even got released over here," and referred to it as "a newer old song." He made great snake movements with his hands while he was singing it. His moves were great - he danced and did great stuff with his feet while he played, and ended a couple of songs with Max standing up and Pat falling to his knees at the end of the song. It sounds cliché when I describe it, but it looked very spontaneous, natural and cool while they were doing it. "Bigfoot Motel" was next, followed by "Zombie Love," which Pat introduced as being in "the saddest of all keys, A minor." I found myself liking the goofier songs a lot more when I saw and heard them being played live.

After "Zombie Love," the band left the stage and returned, after much applause, to play a cover of Camper Van Beethoven's "Take the Skinheads Bowling," which Pat dedicated to "my close personal friend Curtis E. Johnson," in whose band, the Stranger Tractors, Pat Fish plays drums. They left the stage again, and returned again. Pat sang a verse I didn't recognize about "a thing of beauty is a joy forever," and then said that the next song was about a particular section of highway outside Northampton, Pat's home. He then said, "It's not what you think," and chanted the "One-two-three-four-five-six!" intro to the very special Jazz Butcher version of Jonathan Richman's "Roadrunner" with a section about "Maximilian Eider did not know it, but he was entering the Twilight Zone/That's where he went/Said I wouldn't live next door to one if I were you...Rock and roll vegetable live next door to you/Rock and roll vegetable, vegetable stew/Roadrunner, roadrunner..."

This ended the show. I went over to Jerry and Sophie. Sophie immediately said, "I loved him, he's so cute!" which would have made her my friend for life, except that she already is. Jerry said that I looked so ecstatic that he thought my facial muscles were going to cramp up from smiling (they did get sore toward the end of the show, but it was a small price to pay.) Part of me wanted to stay and try to meet Pat Fish, and part of me was scared to, and Sophie wanted to go home, and so we left.

Credit: C.A. Schneck

Here's a feeble attempt to convey the thrill that was the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy show at the Wetlands in New York City on September 23, 1999. I hope it gives a small vicarious thrill to those who couldn't make it. And for those who could have come, but had some lame reason for not attending, I hope it makes you kick yourself.....

The Wetlands itself is an open, clean, spacious yet informal club. This place donates all profits to environmental and political causes. There is an actual VW Bus coming out of one wall, complete with resident hippie girl passing out political literature for a variety of good and questionable causes. Ventilation of the club was great. The beer selection was good, if expensive, but hey, some of that money's going to protect the environment! Give me another, I'm saving the planet!

Got there early, and got to meet Mr. Pat Fish! He's taller than expected (6' 2"-4"?). He courteously chatted with a variety of fans and admirers before the opening act.

The crowd was mixed - young and old, male and female. Surprised at how many early twenty-somethings were there, and how many I talked with liked The Butcher's older stuff. How did they hear it?? One gent told me his first exposure to the Jazz Butcher's music was hearing "Big Questions" used as a theme song for a television show that reviewed music CDs! Anyone know the name of this show and other details?

There was a short set by an opening band.

Mr. Pat Fish and Mr. Max Eider took the stage. Pat said, "Welcome to the last great rock concert of the century!" And then they began gently playing what they called their "pussy" songs. "Partytime" was first. Over succeeding songs, Pat and Max were joined by Mr. Owen Jones, Steve Valentine (who Pat later thanked for, among other things, driving the van and being his attorney!), and another gent whose name I missed but who flew in from England just to play with the band that night.

For those who care, to me the sound mix was fantastic, perfect. But to be honest, these guys could have been playing oatmeal boxes and kyotos and I'd have found no fault.

Early in the show, the gents traded instruments around for different songs. On Owen's sad song " Don't Let Me Keep You (Owen Jones) ," Pat played bass. Some of the other quieter songs included "Raking Up the Leaves," "Girls Who Keep Goldfish," and "The Long Night Starts."

And then they started getting wound up. Don't quote me on the exact order of the songs, but along came "Falling in Love," "She's On Drugs," "Soul Happy Hour," "D.R.I.N.K."

You may have heard "Jazz Butcher vs. Count Dracula" before, but you never heard it like these guys played it that night. Roaring along, full of sound, all cylinders hitting, fun and scary at the same time! These guys mean it! Almost appropriately, Pat's guitar fritzed out at the end of the song. Even the equipment was not prepared for how this band was reaching critical mass!

A quick break to fix the equipment. Good - a chance to squeeze through the crowd for one of those beers and help support the environment some more. Then the band was back on stage, ready to go again.

Max Eider sat off to the right, in full concentration, looking up once in a while with a smile. Several times as the show heated up, he stood and walked around, seemingly moved by the music and quite enjoying himself.

Owen Jones and Steve Valentine provided a driving, solid beat, adding OOMPH to songs that deserve it. Some live performances can't live up to recorded versions, but I've never heard some of these songs sound so rocking and full of life!

And there's Pat Fish, center stage. Singing and playing guitar with control, then letting go with wild abandon, then pulling it all together again. Proudly showing off the talents of the gents around him. And delivering those great songs, one after another. Pat Fish, looking like a natural.

The place was packed, hardly enough room to even move! As the show went on you could see ever increasing numbers of people begin to move with the music. At first, maybe only die-hard Butcher fans, but then more and more, until those standing still were a small number indeed!

What's that? A rousing "President Reagan's Birthday Present" that segues into a pounding version of "Caroline Wheeler's Birthday Present." OKAY!

"Rain" - Alright!

"Walk With the Devil" "Girlfriend" "Mr. Odd" "Bigfoot Motel" - THEY KEEP COMING!

"Forever" ("A thing of beauty is a joy forever...") - sigh - too true!

SIDE NOTE - Not many songs were played from some of the more recent JBC records and no SUMOSONIC tunes. From ILLUMINATE, only "Old Snakey." This is a flat out horror story of a song - get that shocker ending!! On stage, this had a galloping, jerky quality quite different from the slithering riotousness of the album version. When introducing the song, Pat made some comment about Sony deciding not to release ILLUMINATE in the U.S. - talk about a horror story! What's the deal there? Anyone know why they chose not to release this monster of a disc??

"Angels" - HIT THE CEILING! Why that girl over there is actually crying! Who can blame her??

"Zombie Love" - YEAH GO! These guys are out of control! This song just COULDN'T sound so menacing and driving, but it does!

First encore - "Take the Skinheads Bowling."

Second encore - "Roadrunner." The whole place was bouncing. Even people who just sat along the back rail for the whole show jumped into the mass of dancing and shouting.

I've never seen the Jazz Butcher before - never even thought I'd get the chance! My sincere thanks to all who helped make this tour possible.

Not much comment on the list after this show and the end of the tour. Maybe too many mixed emotions. I look at that ticket stub and read "The Last Show Ever!!!" I don't know what will happen in the future, but I'm left with this memory --

One of the best bands in the world, fronted by one of the best songwriters in the world, at the top of their form, pounding out great song after great song in a crowded New York club full of Jazz Butcher fans on a cool night in early fall.

The last great rock concert of the century.

What's next?

Credit: Scott Deschaine

XXX

The Jazz Butcher, Wetlands, New York City. September 23, 1999.

SPECIAL REPORT and PHOTOS by WILSON NEATE

This gig was billed as "THE LAST SHOW EVER!" for the Jazz Butcher and at the risk of sounding overly millennial and apocalyptic, I do hope that by the time the dust settles on the history of rock, sorting the men from the boy bands, Pat Fish will have been recognized as one of the Great British songwriters alongside such luminaries as Ray Davies. The total Value-For-Money experience of the Jazz Butcher live, coupled with a decade's worth of consistently fine recordings, make you wonder how on earth it is that Pat Fish still remains a marginal entity, his status bordering on that most horrible of all rock cliches: the well kept secret, the, ahem, cult figure.

But never mind, I come to praise The Jazz Butcher not to bury him/them. Besides, as Mr Fish himself pointed out last night, this band has been around the block more than a few times already and actually split up four years ago anyway; and given the reception that they got from a packed house of Jazz Butcher Conspirators of all stripes, I suspect that they'll be back sometime next century. Indeed, The Jazz Butcher draws a very eclectic, boy/girl crowd these days: suits and ties straight from their law offices, younger indie enthusiasts who missed out on the 80s but who have a sense of history and taste, and, of course, heavy drinkers of all persuasions, shapes and hairstyles came together to sing along to two hours of the greatest hits.

Whether or not it was the last show ever, it was certainly the last show on their current North American tour, for which Fish has reenlisted his very able former cohorts: ex-Bauhaus and Love and Rockets drummer Kevin Haskins, multi-instrumentalist Owen Jones and, of course, guitar maestro Max Eider.

Things got off to an unexpected start as this reviewer was granted his completely pathetic 15, er, seconds of fame when the Butcher opened the proceedings by introducing him to the crowd as England football celebrity and husband of Posh Spice, David Beckham. The moral of this very short story is, if you've got blond hair and are wearing a Manchester United football jersey, do not stand too close to the stage when someone with wits as sharp as the Butcher's is on the prowl. It being an American audience, though, I don't think that anyone really got the joke - I mean, people actually applauded and I even gave a polite, yet awkward, wave of recognition to play along.

But enough about me, Pat Fish and Max Eider set the festive tone for the evening, kicking things off as a duo with, not surprisingly, Partytime from 1983's Bath of Bacon. What followed was a two-hour-plus set with (and occasionally without) the rest of the band mapping out the finest moments in the JB catalogue, except Southern Mark Smith curiously enough, despite the relentless shouting of requests for it. But then we got to hear pretty much everything else.

Nevertheless, the set was truncated by a 20 minute intermission when Fish's guitar amp chose a particularly inappropriate time to call it a day. Consequently, the band retreated from the stage to regroup, the Butcher himself visibly frustrated and uncharacteristically flustered; still, it was a special occasion, łThe Last Show Ever!˛ and all that. Luckily the problem proved to be nothing more high tech than a blown fuse and a replacement was soon found much to everyone's relief. The band re-emerged and a more relaxed Fish informed us that he had gotten over his moody fit and was ready to continue. By the end of the evening, which came about all too soon, we had been treated to outstanding renditions of Jazz Butcher Theme, Girls Who Keep Goldfish, Bigfoot Motel, Drink, Zombie Love, Girlfriend, Walk With the Devil, Roadrunner, President Reagan's Birthday Present, The Jazz Butcher vs Count Dracula, Soul Happy Hour, She's On Drugs, and Mr Odd, among many others.

A particular crowd-pleaser was a version of Camper Van Beethoven's Take the Skinheads Bowling, at the end of which you'd have sworn that it was a Jazz Butcher song. Somewhere in the thick of things, we were even treated to a very brief, impromptu interpolation of The Artist's Purple Rain, much to the consternation of bassist Steven D. Valentine and Kevin Haskins who, for a couple of seconds, were clearly not in on the joke.

Pat Fish was in fine form all night, by which I mean that he was completely himself. The Jazz Butcher has always demonstrated that it 's possible to be yourself on stage and remain engaging and that's always been one of the great things about his live shows, in addition to the music of course. He's effortlessly funny and immensely likable; the kind of person you wouldn't object to having sit next to you on a four-hour bus ride through Wales, albeit with twelve cans of Special Brew and a couple of bags of crisps. So many acts rely on a cultivated persona or maintain a distance from their audience, yet Fish thrives on a constant, straight-up interaction with his public.

The Butcher is often mentioned in the same breath as Robyn Hitchcock but, in my book, Fish's spontaneity and charisma set him a head and shoulders above the former Soft Boy. While Hitchcock seems to rely on studied idiosyncrasy and 6th form surrealism for his humour, you always know that the Butcher is relating to you directly and without any need for a performed identity or weirdness. Consequently, Fish's jokes are funnier, even if you don't get them, as the was the case last night. It's the way he tells them, as the appallingly bad Irish comic Frank Carson used to say.

In the final analysis, a thoroughly good time was had by all. Pat Fish is a true original. That he writes brilliantly funny songs that you can dance to is no mean achievement. Most people can only do one or the other these days. Although I don't really believe in essential categories, I have to say that he's a uniquely English songwriter with a global appeal.

At the risk of making a massive generalization, who else writes songs in a typically ironic British tone that reference the A23, exotic locales like Tescos and fine beverages such as Special Brew and that make people want to groove the world over? And what's more, who else can write songs in the potentially VERY dodgy horror rock genre like The Jazz Butcher vs Count Dracula or Zombie Love without having them descend to the status of camp novelty pieces like, say, The Monster Mash?

The Jazz Butcher vs. New York? We went the full 12 rounds but The Jazz Butcher won on a majority decision.

Credit: Wilson Neate

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