Venue: The Thunderbolt (Website)
Location: 124 Bath Road Totterdown, Bristol England BS4 3ED
During this set, Pat Fish announced that there may be no more band gigs. He may perform solo sets, but the Jazz Butcher as a band, well, it seems those days are over. 'How many of you like football?' he asked of the faithful. One bloke shouted 'yeah' but I bet many there, though not football fans, had watched and enjoyed the recent World Cup. I know I had, and I usually don't care about football. Anyway, Pat then quoted the well-known footie saying, 'leave nothing on the pitch,' which means, well, work it out. He, and the band, then went on to put this into practice by performing a blistering version of Solar Core. Is that enough? 'A blistering version of Solar Core', those six words are simply not enough to describe what we witnessed. Writing about music is like fencing about horticulture.
Hi, I'm Nick Walters, you might know me, I write Doctor Who books and horror stories, I've been following The Jazz Butcher since the late 80s, and, as the Thunderbolt is just down the road from me (literally - it takes about 45 seconds to walk there) I thought I might as well pop along. And so I did, in the company of the Emperor Ming, who had popped by to sort out our weather. And he did - it chucked it down for most of the day, providing a welcome, cooling cleansing. Some other famous Bristol people were in attendance - Gerard Langley from The Blue Aeroplanes, and Hazel Winter and Gerard Starkie also from the 'planes and The Flux Capacitors (who released their first album Courtesan earlier this year). I sort of know Gerard L to talk to (I interviewed him last year for a music mag) and also Hazel and Gerard S as I reviewed the Capacitors' album and gig earlier this year. So I could have said Hello! to them but the shyness that overcomes me in social situations took hold; I become convinced they are going to tell me to fuck off. Silly me. They are nice people and it was great to be in their company and in the company of the great Mr Fish and his band.
All this talent, splendour and joy, in a little pub just down the road from me, that used to be the Turnpike, a total shithole and drug den! Who'd have thought?
The Emperor and I didn't see the support acts as we had a lot to discuss (Hot Hail, Dale Arden etc) and I coulnd't stand up for long as my new boots (as work by Ryan Gosling as Officer K in Blade Runner 2049) were killing my feet. But I mastered the pain and managed to stand through the entire 1 hour and 15 minutes or so of the JBC set, go me!
Pat Fish has aged well and now resembles a dapper, suave cross between Bryan Ferry and Peter Capaldi. His eyebrows are a wonder to behold. His voice and guitar playing have only got better. Supporting by a full band this was a full-on sonic experience... writing about music again. I'll just list some of the songs: Last of the Gentleman Adventurers, Animals, Party Time, Black Raoul, Sister Death, Mr Odd (a personal favourite), Shirley McLaine, Southern Mark Smith (brought a tear to the eye), all culminating in the coruscating sonic catherdral (argh) of Solar Core. A quick cool off then an encore, a single song, the quite beautiful Thoughtless Kind by John Cale.
And then everyone went out into the blissfully, thankfully cool night air for drinks and a chat, and I singularly failed to approach Mr Fish to tell him how much his music has meant to me over the years. Well, I'm saying it now. Hope this won't be your last visit to the Bolt.
So then I began the arduous 45 second trek up the hill to home whilst Ming jetted back to Mongo. Hot Hail is on its way...
Some videos from the gig