Venue: The Q.I. Club
Location: 16 Turl Street Oxford England
I think that the New Moon are playing support on this one. I shall be bringing my laptop and telling a few stories...
Pat's set was another triumph - seems whenever he comes to Oxford he has an uphill struggle against dodgy PAs, tardy soundmen, hopeless promoters (I think I've previously been both the latter two) and underwhelming audiences. Every time I've seen him here he's delivered something really special and tonight is, unsurprisingly really, no different. He's dumped the DAT for a far-more portable laptop but kicks off with a few new songs entirely acoustic. Couldn't You Use a Beautiful Mind (if that's what it's called) and Mercy are easily as good as any classic Butcher material. Mercy particularly I find blissfully wistful - "there's no beauty without cruelty" and Mercy being a function of this... wow.
I wish I had his setlist in front of me as I was too lost in the swirl of the set to make notes, mental or otherwise. It does occur to me during though that there are an increasing number of songs that can only be heard live from the man himself - could it be time for a new album? I certainly hope so. It's a great set though - something edgy and almost uncomfortable about it that adds something, makes sure it's vital and alive and not some comfy nostalgia-fest. That's not to say the back-catalogue was entirely ignored - lovely version of Southern Mark Smith in particular. Regrets Of A Spaceman has a beautiful twinkling xylophone in the arrangement, and Buffalo Sniper is just as utterly great as I've seen it.
I'm waiting to hear a personal fave, Mr Odd, that we got in the soundcheck but looks like our man has taken a last-minute detour and we get a gorgeous Sister Death from where he segues into Moon River. From Moon River he goes into an angry coda... I couldn't identify it, but it's positively snarled and actually a little scary - the audience is stunned for a moment as our man finishes the song, sweeps off his guitar and disappears behind a curtain. Blimey... I don't know how he does it - you can bet if I did, I'd be doing it too - but I'm already looking forward to catching his next gig as we head off home for a fun and fascinating (not to mention cripplingly late and boozy) rest of the evening.
A great set: I'd been ambivalent about the tape backing at previous gigs, not because of the music coming out of it, but because it didn't give Pat any space to be himself between songs; the laptop allowed him to stop and start and talk a little more.
Several days later, what stands out -- apart from Matt's fabulous "Dark Matter" -- is Pat's version of "Regrets of a Spaceman": there's a really masterly fitting of lyrics to music, in that some of the words are way too polysyllabic for the space allowed them, so they stick out in a really interesting and gently jagged way. (I'd love to hear Charlie Barnard's version, but he is apparently the one remaining person in the Western world without a MySpace profile.) "Beautiful Mind" I liked a lot too: it shuffled seductively. "Whaddya" has been ever so slightly reworked. As Matt says, "Sister Death" segued into "Moon River" -- actually it crashed into it like an 18 wheeler into a 2CV, and "Moon River" couldn't really take the impact -- and then (am I remembering this right?) -- "Moon River" in turn skidded astonishingly into "Tugboat Captain". "Shakey" was good too: has it acquired a new middle section?
You Don't Know
Shame About You
Southern Mark Smith
Regrets of a Spaceman
A great set. Pat, we beseech you to record some of your new material (and the remaining Wilson tracks) soon.
Loved the version of the Charlie Barnard song - bits of it keep floating into my mind, and I'd love to hear the original. Is it available anywhere in digital format?