Venue: It's Got To Be Belgium (Slurp's Wino Bar)
Location: Northampton England
Christmas. New tunes. Absurd polarities of cold (courtesy of the weather) and heat (courtesy of the industrial flamethrower hired in). Nearly no P.A. Yes, that's right, we had a scream.
Feeling close to ecstatic at the thought of being back in the town of parking tickets and wingless pigeons, I headed along to Slurp's wino bar, a small island of bohemianness and Jaegermeister in the morass of XR3is and shell-suits that is Northampton. Company was provided by my brother who is (un)fortunate enough to actually live there.
Heart-warmingly, the moment we walked in through the door at 8.30pm, we got a cheery wave from Pat. Surely soon comes the day when Pat is pesonally acquainted with every single purchaser of his latest album...
Anyway, it was good to see the man again, and I can break the news (which Jim Murray for some reason found unworthy of mention) that Pat is now the proud owner of a rather fetching goatee.
The music? Well, we missed the openers by Curtis, cos we were in the bar asking Pat about the new album (has a good song about dolphins, 'pparently). Then the oddly familiar sound of David J. 's voice (to someone who has never listened to his solo stuff) summoned us into the music tent. (Slurps had extended its lebensraum into the frosty December night with a large semi-permanent marqueee, heated by what appeared to be a decommissioned military jet engine.)
Anyway, David J. 's minimalist 2 guitars plus vocals set was short and sweet, finishing with a stomping version of "Run, run Rudolph!" (by Chuck Berry, of course).
Then came the headliners, Dooj Wilkinson , Pat Fish , Gabriel Turner , and the two guys who I don't know their names. Somehow, whenever I see Dooj now, I'm put in mind of The Grim Reaper (see the report on the last Northampton gig), but anyway, reports that he had excelled himself on the new album were amply confirmed. Pat claimed defensively that the 3 or 4 songs they played from the new album, they had played together for the first time only the day before, but everything came together regardless. A particular stunner was a kindof inverted version of " Excellent! ", called something like "I hate!", which involves Dooj shouting an awful lot.
Plenty of other great songs, oldies too, including Caroline Wheeler's Birthday Present and Take The Skinheads Bowling (Camper Van Beethoven) .
But the most amazing thing about this gig, as opposed to all others? They didn't play Mr. Odd (nor Sister Death , for that matter). Looks like the band is finally ready to move off in a whole new direction.