I got all excited yesterday. I did. I got excited because I thought Portishead had released a rather brilliant new single in advance of the headlining shows they will be playing at the ATP festival at London’s Alexandra Palace at the end of this month. A festival that will include not just PJ Harvey, not just Grinderman, but also Godspeed! You Black Emperor and Factory Floor. It turns out, though, that Chase The Tear was released two years ago in support of Amnesty International- it is rather good, mind. If a world away from the level of bass that caused a speaker to jump off Gabs room in Southampton so many years ago. Ah, Wandering Star…
Neither Godspeed or Factory Floor hold much relevance to me really. I mention them only because as recently as last December, Godspeed were responsible for one of the loudest gigs I’ve ever heard in my life at the Troxy. I had a headache after half an hour- clearly these guys don’t know what a soundcheck is. What completed my misery that night was the fact that there was no let up from it. Jo loved it, I thought it was self indulgent, muso wanking. But I could see (and hear) that some of the playing was brilliant. I’ll be sure to be in another part of the Palace- like the toilets. Or maybe outside somewhere. Factory Floor? Not heard as much of them as I would like, but either their bass player, or the drummer, I forget which, spent a day temping with us a few years back. A nice bloke, Gabe.
*rockthecasbah77 belatedly remembers LastFM and starts Factory Floor radio- Post Is Here. rockthecasbah77 likes it.*
Unfortunately, if Jo and I do get tickets for this event, which has been the cause of much debate over the last few months, we won’t be seeing Factory Floor because they’re playing on the Saturday, the same day as PJ Harvey. And we’re opting for the balls out rock of Nick Cave’s Grinderman project on the Sunday- which also means Godspeed.
Nurofen on stand by.
I’m just happy that we’ve finally agreed to go. On the face of it, it should be a no brainer- Portishead, Cave and a London venue- what’s to discuss? Well, to start with, the price. To continue, the venue- the high ceilings of the Ally Pally mean that it’s far from being a favoured venue of ours. And to finish, the location- anyone who’s ever been to Ally Pally knows that you have to walk up a massive bloody hill in Haringey to get to it. It’s enough to put anyone off.
Nonetheless, as it takes place on my birthday weekend and I want to go- I’ve pulled a bit of a sulk, basically- Jo has relented. It also happens to be our anniversary weekend, so we’ve decided to take each other by way of a compromise. I’m excited just thinking about it. Despite being a Portishead fan since my mate, Chris, played me Dummy in ’95, it wasn’t until a benefit gig for victims of the 2004 Tsunami, that I got to see them sharing a stage with Massive Attack, Damon Albarn and Robert Plant. It was worth the wait, although not a full gig. We waited another three years for that one and it didn’t disappoint. From the opening Silence, through the stunning change from a stripped down Wandering Star into a hammering Machine Gun and then the brilliant closer, We Carry On, it was clear that Portishead’s 11 years away had been spent well. I’m intrigued to hear what they might come up with on the 24th July.
In other news, Pulp following up their headlining- and, by all accounts, triumphant- appearance at Hyde Park’s Wireless Festival this weekend by announcing an August show at the Brixton Academy is what you might call a bit of a result. I won’t be missing out on this one (he says).
Portishead- Chase The Tear