Venue: The Labour Club (Website)
Event: Masters of Budvar present
Location: 95-97 Charles St Northampton England NN1 3BG
As headliners we have the brilliant psychedelic electro pop duo from Leeds, The Echo Chamber. Kraftwerk meet the Beach Boys in a Detroit warehouse and decide to cover a few Elevators tunes. No, really...
Influenced by both deep house and deep guitar psychedelia, the Lewis brothers mix clean, driving dance music beats with fat guitars and beautiful, lush melodies. Having grown up in the same Northamptonshire village as Mark Refoy and the legendary Studio Morocco, where the Spacemen 3 recorded some of their earliest demos, Ben and Andy Lewis relocated to Leeds a few years ago. Here they hooked up with the very wonderful Choque Hosein (FunDaMental / Black Star Liner) who produces their ever-growing catalogue of tunes. Over the last few months they have played across the North, including an appearance at In The City in Manchester. Currently there are a good few record companies sniffing around The Echo Chamber. After their appearance at Masters of Budvar they will go on to play their first London dates. Their star is in the ascendant, so this should be just the right time to catch them - for free, of course.
Our second guest tonight is the profoundly strange and oddly endearing Syd Meats, a singer-songwriter of the old school who has long held the title of Southampton's Leading Weird Bloke. Not to worry, though: Syd's wry observational tunes and disturbingly methodical flights of lyrical fancy are delivered with sweet and tuneful backing. One of his tunes has just been covered by gratuitously musical stand-up comedian Boothby Graffoe on his new album. Oh - and make sure you demand Syd's version of "Common People". It really isn't the same as all the others, it really isn't.
Opening the bill is Northampton's own Pat Fish. The songwriting power behind the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy and Wilson will be making quasi-digital karaoke whoopsie-daisie once again, this time giving a good old mauling to his 1984 album, A Scandal In Bohemia.
The beer is cheap, the vibe is sweet, the PA clean, the speeches short. Masters of Budvar. You know it makes sense.
Who is Syd Meats ?
Syd Meats first came to the public's attention as a topical songster on BBC Radio Lincolnshire, providing freshly composed ditties every Friday night during 1989 and 1990.
In the early 90's he formed the surreal band Meet The Vicar whose 1991 album "The Truth About Pork" contained such gems as "You're So Indifferent You Probably Think This Song Might Be About You".
Solo projects have included a one man show "Meats Saves The Planet" and the acclaimed "Revenge of The Sponge Fingers" album. Cover versions of his songs recorded by Boothby Graffoe and Antonio Forcione have recently been receiving airplay, adding bemused Americans and Radio 4 listeners to the audience for this material.
He is probably best described as a singer-songwriter of (mainly) humorous songs, but he is hard to categorise even when you have seen his act. To quote Syd, "I sing songs in English accompanied by acoustic guitar", and that is exactly what he does.
For up-to-the-minute information on Syd's activities, visitArtist Website: www.sydmeats.co.uk
Quotes from the Media
"Uncategorisable, and all the better for it" -Viewpoint Arts, Southampton.
"Grabs the subject matter by the throat and tramples it into the ground" - Brian Hinton (author of various music biographies).
"A walking perverse rhyming dictionary" -BBC Radio Lincolnshire.
"Far Too Serious is one of the best songs on the album - an engrossing story which bursts with raptures of hilarity".
Independent Online Magazine Review, referring to a Syd Meats song which appears on Boothby Graffoe's "Wot Italian" album.
📝 Pat Says
It seems to be becoming something of a regular pattern, albeit not one that is too good for my mental health: every time I bring my headliners back from their tea, the Labour Club is practically empty...and every time, fifteen minutes later, the place is full. It's as if the audience have all just pulled up outside in some big old charabanc. It might be the lovely weather we've been having, I suppose. Maybe I'll get used to it.
Whatever, there were plenty of folks there to see me start up my set with a last-minute rendition of Out Of Touch, inspired partly by Mark Refoy's sending me a lovely photograph that he had taken recently of the Fishcotheque by night (yes, still going strong), and partly by Terry Walpole telling me how he had just picked up an American edition cassette of the Fishcotheque album for 79 pence in an Oxford charity shop. (He wuz robbed.) I do so enjoy shouting "Welcome to folk club" over a fat Fun Lovin' Criminals sample. Then I felt it was time for a nice sea shanty, so we had My Desert, rapturously greeted by a disbelieving Refoy. Onwards through the ill-advised Scandal In Bohemia stuff: a well-received Southern Mark Smith and a fairly chaotic Real Men. Then a couple of covers and I'm done. Thanks everybody, you made it nice and easy for me. I enjoyed it a lot.
Syd Meats was feeling the love too: he tells me that the audience at Masters of Budvar is easily better than the one at Lincoln Prison. (Better looking too, one kinda hopes.) Alone with his guitar, Syd launched bravely into his first number, cocked it up almost immediately and restarted before anybody had quite figured out what the hell was going on. As he pointed out, his songs are short, but that just means you get more of them! Syd sailed through a set of lovely originals, perhaps the finest of which is the gorgeous "Walking Sideways", and still found time to lay that special version of Common People on the crowd. You know, the one that goes "You'll never be like Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po."
Back to the digital stuff, then. The Echo Chamber were up next, stirring up hyperactive house beats with lush, heavily-delayed electric guitar and sweet vocal melodies. They started with their "theme tune", In Love With The City, then rushed through a thirty minute set that was crammed with wide-eyed psychedelic pop invention. Faced with demands for an encore, they pleaded that they didn't have any more material ready to play. No problem. We just made them play something a second time, and this time there was dancing.They brought copies of their very first single with them (it's a double a-side featuring 6am and Good Times, and it's available from the Wrong Crowd Recording Company, fact fans), which sold well after the show. And I'm chuffed to bits that the copy they slipped me turned out to be numbered 001. Cheers, gentlemen, nice touch. The Echo Chamber are on their way, and I only hope that we can still find a way to afford them in the future.
So another cracking night at the Labour, and a nice garden party afterwards.
Next month we have some real, bona-fide pop stars coming to play, in the form of Gerard Langley and Rodney Allen of the Blue Aeroplanes. In support we have Northampton songstress Bee Church and that suave gentleman of the road, Paul Cox.
Don't miss it, now.
Cheers for the gig Pat, don't worry, you will be able to afford us in future, though hopefully you will be booking a bigger venue, lovely though the Labour Club is.