Panelak, Core of the Coalman, Bongoleeros, Ceramic Hobs
Wharf Chambers 27th February 2015
It started badly when the glass of the drivers side mirror fell out and shattered all over the tarmac in Tesco’s car park. I’m off to Leeds tonight I thought and need to get it replaced otherwise I’m in danger of ending up in the side of a wind up rocket I mean taxi.
So I got the glass and fitted it and set off to Leeds where the Wharf Chambers is heaving with young things with beard growth. In the venue part its not so heaving but still quite busy and still plenty of beard growth and the laughing woman.
Panelak Pascal doesn’t strip naked but he does sing songs in various homemade dresses. His equipment is old and battered, a Korg covered in tape, an iPod that gets dropped on the floor, various pedals and wires everywhere, some of it works and when it does he introduces a song and then sort of sings it getting carried away in the moment head back eyes shut running on the spot in his bare feet where his jeans have landed mic in hand knocking over the lamp stand. Its Dada meets Donna Summer. Pascal picks up scraps of tatty paper in-between songs either in a bid for inspiration or to check out his lyrics. He gets carried away and opens two bottles of beer, one with the other which explode into life splattering everybody. Its now Whitehouse meets Dada meets Donna Summer. He douses himself with one of the bottles, drinks half the other before singing a bit more, barefoot in the beer puddles.
Core of the Coalman does battle with his equipment. Knelt on the floor he gets everyones attention by laying on a violin drone riff and once he’s got it he introduces various effects, kneeling on pedals, standing up to pluck said violin, flicking cables, kneeling on gadgets, messing with a dusty laptop. At its peak its a huge noisedrone but the earthing problems rob him of his chance to really get going. But its still sounds pretty good.
The Bongoleeros are scattering various detritus around the WC floor; bits of metal bar, tin cans, trumpets, tambourines with skulls drawn on them, a length of blue rope, battered Yorkshire pudding trays, flattened cymbals, guitars with horse brasses nailed to them, the top of a composting bin. They don hand painted jackets, pull ladies stockings over their heads and disappear out in to the street to begin their set. One Bongoleero has a pair of purple ladies tights over his head with bells in each foot thus making a jangling sound as he walks, falls, rolls, crawls around the WC floor. They sing of the strongman and dirty drawers and the laughing woman. There’s mention of the mythical Yorkshire town of Pitchley before thy start in to the best version ever of Alvin Stardusts. My Coo Ca Choo with one Bongoleero showing the leather Alvin glove that must be adored. They lift tiny metal bars in to the air, intone strange mutterings and it all feels like a revivalist meeting invaded by drunken lunatics. At one stage a bottle of Bogo Juice is handed out to the audience and they drink deeply of the draught. Bongoleeros go missing in the audience but there’s three of them tonight so theres always two up front waving their arms around singing songs of madness, deep rock and roll as it should be, stripped bare of excess and refined to rawness. They all kneel down and pray to Carl Perkins before a Bongoleero takes off one of his silver boots and holds it aloft for the audience to pay their respects. A blue suede show of sorts. It’ll do. When not twanging and banging they sing a capella side by side before disappearing out the door to mess with the young beards heads and out in to the street and gone forever.
Its now ten thirty and I have a decision to make. The car park I’m in shuts at 11pm and by the way the Ceramic Hobs are shuffling about it hardly looks as if their going to get going by then never mind finished. I spy the street outside and theres room for one car right at the end. I dash off to the NCP and drive the short way back to find the space still free. I roll it in and reverse back not noticing the telegraph pole near the kerb edge and smash my wing mirror clean off. I then get mad and reverse back too far and hit the car behind me. At least its free parking at this time of night. So when I get back inside my mood has soured and I feel as if the Hobs aren’t doing it for me. The last time I saw them here they were on top form, with Morris screaming his lungs off, the band gelling and the songs sounding like they meant something. They were tight and coherent and lunatic in all the best ways. A guitarist new to me in tatty England shirt knocking out the riffs. Tonight they seem as if they’re going through the motions and with Hob stage right playing the baby head gadget being charged at by guitarist stage left. The pair of them like rutting stags rolling about on a beer swilled floor. Morris is waving around a pair of angels wings made from white bird feathers that are either on his head or up his back or on the floor, his snake skin skirt hangs below his beer belly and they all seem like they want to be in different rooms. But maybe thats just me and my bad mood.
Its the Crater Lake Festival next week. I’m going on the bus.