I don’t usually go out on a Sunday – I usually prepare radio shows and listen to a lot of the new music material that comes in…..but this particularly Sunday the musical treats on offer were just too tempting to ignore….plus it was Shaun Maxwell’s birthday party (he of the Taser Puppets and Sinister Chuckles) so it would have been churlish, nay impolite, to turn down the invite.
I have commented previously on Mr Christopher Dutton’s navigational skills and I am pleased to report that this time around they were just as fascinating as they have been in the past – more of that later.
A pleasant Sunday afternoon/evening drive up the M61 to the people’s republic of Chorley and the delightful “Railway” pub. As we arrive we spot Dusty Moonan indulging in a swift ciggie and MJ Leigh unloading his gear. Into the pub and a quick hello to Mike, Shaun, Dusty and Luis Drayton who is up from the deepest south for the weekend.
Sound checks, melodica practising and then SD, Moet and entourage arrive, having been busy watching United beat Newcastle at the Salford Arms, and finding a train to get them to Chorley.
A few pints of “Boondocker” some technical jiggery-pokery and then it’s time for a short set from the aforementioned Mr Moonan. Dusty’s self-effacing approach is charming – he is actually a lot better than he pretends to be and delivers a handful of songs including a lovely rendition of “This Ain’t London” from the new album, and finishes with a Half Man Half Biscuit cover.
By this time it is safe to say that our host has exceeded the legal limit for alcohol intake and is having jolly old time of it. The Sinister Chuckles perform a set of manic punk classics and Luis joins in on a couple of tunes. Stand outs are “Wiggy Brown” and “Mono Brow” and the impressive “Picture of Dorian Gray”. Interesting to see Shaun without a guitar taking the centre stage role with a degree of aplomb, and some great moves. They are fun, fast and rather special.
Luis is up next and delivers a scatological tirade against humanity,life and more or less everything else in his eye-line – with some degree of venom – more or less every anglo-saxon epithet I am aware of plus one or two others that are new to me make an appearance. Luis is a force of nature but I would honestly prefer to see him with a full band, rather than backing tapes, as the evidence from his two numbers with the Chuckles is that there is something quite memorable about his style and delivery.
Hot Pot Supper is dispensed and then up next the always dependable and rather marvellous Kill Pretty – I am invited to play melodica on the opening “Dark Heart” but cannot hear what I am doing so I shake a few percussion type thingies – it lasts a good ten minutes and feels pretty damn good from where I am standing between the two Duttons. Back out into the audience, and we get the usual raft of memorable KP tunes including “Rob A Bank”, “Breakdown Man” and “13 Moons” which has Dusty beaming in admiration. There is a brand new tune – which I didn’t catch the title of – which sounds very promising indeed. SD and myself provide backing vocals on “I’m A Cunt”, the crowd demands an encore, and everyone is very happy with the performance.
By this time our erstwhile host has vanished into the night…..time for bed , it’s been a long day!
More ales are quaffed as Cactus Knife set-up. I had heard a couple of tracks from the band – courtesy of Shaun – which I found to be very impressive indeed – so I was looking forward to seeing them. I was not disappointed – the excellent twin vocal line-up of Bobby and Rachel sets the band apart from the general spiky indie morass of the current north west scene – they deliver quality music floating mysteriously between psyche pop/surf music and a general late 60s/early 70s San Francisco feel plus a fair smattering of post-punk energy and delivery. What is impressive is the tightness of the band and the arrangements, and it’s clear a great deal of thought has gone into the song-writing. Definitely a band to catch live if you are in a search for something new and exciting.
And it’s all over – a few more beers and a lively debate follows on the state of the music scene around Mancunia and then we notice the melodica has disappeared – fortunately after 24 hours of extensive investigation it turns out Moet has taken it home with him. It lives to play another day. Hoorah! The car is loaded up and we are off…..
And so it’s back onto the motorway network in the general direction of Salford but due to the aforementioned navigational problems – mostly down to me nodding off and missing the turn we end up heading toward Leeds for some reason – however a few quick alterations to direction and we are homeward bound again. We drop SD off and then for some reason Chris forgets you can’t go west from Swinton on the M60 so we head east and take a quick detour around Prestwich before heading back to the general Eccles direction.
A marvellous evening’s entertainment, a great pub with great beer, and a rather tasty hot pot….and great company.
Let’s do it again sometime!