Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

Where : The Crescent, Salford

When : 30th July 2011

Who : Baby Strange, The Hamsters, The Blimp

I have had a bit of writers block over the last week (blame the heat, the rain and other distractions) – so this took a bit of effort to get out …..any way here we go again….

Try as I might to think of a better evening that I have had in a long while I cannot…….pleasant company, good beer, people dressed up in strange costumes pushing a pram around and three great bands.  Got there reasonably early and had a great chin-wag with Fall Fan Dave and Stephen Doyle over a few pints of amber nectar before wandering into the concert room.

Baby Strange (please note the smoke - see below)

“Baby Strange” have only been in existence since the beginning of the year and promise good things.  Their demo EP is very good indeed, especially the rather catchy “Fair is Fair”- and I would have liked to stay for some more of their music but it was exceptionally loud ( which is no good for my remaining good ear and a nightmare for my damaged one – I am a slave to tinnitus) – to the extent that I could hardly hear what Zac was singing – and the damnable smoke machine had been turned on which is always a recipe for sore eyes for me for the next 48 hours so after four songs I took a trip out to the beer garden where there was a mob of people from Islington Mill doing some sort of art thing – pushing a pram around and looking all sort of “fin de siecle”/”Alice in Wonderland”. I took the chance to have a good chat with Tim Lyons of the Sandells and find out what he was up to – which was most informative. Note to self though – get to see “Baby Strange” again.

Up next the force of nature that was the Hamsters – and I use the word “was” advisably and with some degree of sadness as this was their last ever gig. What a way to go out though – starting with a memorable version of the “Chip Shop Song” which was in both parts amazingly funny and utterly brilliant. I was smiling broadly throughout the whole cathartic experience. Moet was in fine form – operating at full tilt as usual – and the very young Josh Dutton has to be one of the best bass players i’ve seen in a while. Dad Chris (the omnipresent Mr Dutton) suitably adorned in black nail varnish – and founder member Bobby Williams shared the guitar duties – and Carl Junglist Allen drove the whole thing with some vigour. The Hamsters were hot, sweaty, loud, occasionally cack-handed and all in all simply stunning.  It had to end unfortunately and a resounding send off with a mosh pit and the utterly potty mouthed and marvellous “I’m A Cunt” – with backing vocals from No 1 fan Stephen SD Doyle and Zac from Baby Strange – was a brilliant way to put the Hamster to bed for the last time. We’ll not see their like again I tell thee! Kill Pretty will emerge phoenix like from the ashes of The Hamsters with Chris, Josh, Moey and one Michael John Leigh. More of him shortly.

The Hamsters in full flow

Off out to the beer garden again for another chat – by which time the pram people had gone about their business and toddled off somewhere else, had a bit of a review of the previous nights business at Islington Mill with my Helmet friends and then in the concert area  again for The Blimp.

I could whitter on with my usual poly-syllabic nonsense but I will let the videos below do all the talking. Suffice to say they were exceptional with stunning readings of “Snowglobe” “Rifleman” , “Science and Technology”, “Fake Tan” , “Hagoda Pagoda” and “Bin Bag Shuffle” sticking out in my mind. What is very noticeable is the rock steady way Ken and Mike lay the rhythm down allowing “The General” to deliver his usual bravura performance. If you have not caught them live yet – do yourself a favour. They are doing a number of gigs across the north-west over the next few weeks.

I’ve said elsewhere how impressed I am with their ability to meld various forms together – both across the set, and even within one song. They can do the short punky (or post-punky stuff) as well as more extended neo-progressive pieces with ease. As reviewed previously “Snowglobe” is a beast of a thing – a surging, hypnotic, nigh on 8 minute piece of intensive bass riffery, psyche guitar, and kraut-rock rhythms coupled with west coast elements, morphing into a manic eastern european barn-dance …. marvellous

So in summary – all in all  an excellent evenings entertainment …..

Thanks to Mike Leigh for the use of the videos which were recorded by Mike of  Ting and Ting  – who by the way put on an excellent show for the princely sum of £2 – a bargain.

So, over to The Blimp…..

The General
Ken The Bass
Mike Leigh

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