Thursday the 22nd... We had a leisurely start then finally made it over to the Tate Modern, with Tim. We also met up with a friend, Larry - from LA - after arriving. More amazing Bacon paintings... the Seagram's building Mark Rothko commission... which I last saw at the Tate in the early 1980s... AMAZING! Nice Pollocks, some Hermann Nitsch canvases, and on and on and on... quite a building! After a bit, and after a spicy lamb doner, we made our way to the George Tavern for an intense power-electronics/noise show with Slogun, Sickness, Fire In The Head, Shift, and Soft Option Killing. It was a great night, all around. Being the night before our London show, it was great to meet up with tons of folks... from the UK, from Italy, from Germany, and from the States, and just be able to hang out. Martin from Shift filled the room nicely and the night built from more death-industrial-tinged P-E of S.O.K. to the audience-baiting style of Slogun. Sickness probably won in the volume and crystal-clear sound department, while John's set had all of the necessary aggro. A very fun show!
Friday the 23rd... we met up with Xavier, appropriately, in Whitechapel... and we quickly went around Brick Lane for some cheap (relatively speaking, that is!) and tasty Indian food. We ran into Savage Pencil at the cafeteria, which was fun. We then headed to the venue, to get all set up for the show. Let me just say that our soundcheck nearly deafened me. Lawrence, the guy who does live sound for S.J., really sorted us out nicely!
The quick rundown... Costes had cancelled. Shift and Fire In The Head opened the night... sounding great, over a superior sound system. Pete's video program was up next, although he was nowhere to be seen at that point, dodging the possibility of a humorous introduction, unfortunately. "Buyer's Market" and "Waitress" (etc.) fans would have to love what was playing. Sutcliffe Jugend were up next, and they were every bit as intense as at No Fun Fest last year. Really heavy, forceful, and well composed. And again, over the Slimelight PA, it was brutal. We ended the night... a bit pressed for time... which added to the urgency of the set. Fast, heavy, intense... great interaction with Xavier... Disorientingly loud... to the point of even being blown back by the stage monitors. I felt it all in my chest and in my stomach. Lovely.
After a long cab ride back to Tim's, we ended the night on a quiet note. Xavier came with James and me to King's Cross station, to see about maybe getting a ticket to Edinburgh, but same-day fares were ridiculously expensive, so he hung out in London. James and I had a sleepy train ride to Scotland, went straight to the venue, and after some meat pies, etc., got set up to play.
We played in a small room upstairs at Arcade Bar. By the time we went on, it had completely filled up. Linwood Flats and Usurper (a trio that night, with our host [and savior], Grant) both did quieter sets, which built up nicely... particularly Usurper, who were true electro-acoustic masters. We played a pretty intense set, in front of a pretty receptive crowd, including our friend Shane (ex-Noizeguild) from NYC and the Birds of Delay lads. All seemed good until near the end of the set, when the bar manager complained to Grant about the volume. We finished our set, only to find out that the show was shut down and that Family Battle Snake were not allowed to play. So as good as we felt about our set, we felt like shit that Bill and his girlfriend (I think) had trekked over from Glasgow, all for nothing. Again, our apologies go out...
We finished the night by making the rounds of a few pubs, with a parade of people helping us with all of our luggage. Everyone was amazingly hospitable. It was a very fun night and we met some great people. We spent the night at Grant and Sarah's, and they made things very comfortable for us. Yesterday, we went to the local mosque for a great Indian brunch, and then walked around town a bit. We met up with Tim Holehouse - who James had met recently in Milwaukee... he put us up last night --- so we transferred our stuff to his place --- then with Grant, we went to the flat of two guys from the night before, Sandy and Mark, for drinks and uplifting films: Bill Douglas, Ken Loach, a BBC documentary on The Fall, etc. A nice relaxing night.
Today, Tim cooked us a filling and tasty breakfast, and soon we are off to Glasgow...