Not "proper" busy, with meetings and appointments and people to see and things to do and blah blah blah. Mostly just the drinking and frolicking kind of busy. The best kind of busy.
I battled Warhammers for for two solid days at the start of the month, at a local gaming club tournament - the Bristol Vanguard's "Vanquish". I typically turn up to such events with the principal aim of not coming dead last; if I can win just a single game, this is seen as a bonus. But it turns out that since various rulebooks got re-worked and re-printed, my marauding Ork horde is now the very epitome of badassery; and even the hastily cobbled together army that I turned up with was good enough to see me finish 6th out of 55. Here's a photo of me and my boyz inflicting a crippling and permanent sense of humour failure on some guy who just moments later was removing his army from the table with a dustpan and brush.
He should have pulled a Renton; a little known gaming technique, reportedly used by a former Head of UK Retail for GW whilst he was being thoroughly trounced by some smug kid.
- You may "pull a Renton" at the start of your game turn.
- Observe the futility of your present situation. Desperately seek some way of preventing humiliating defeat at the hands of a pre-pubescent gobshite with a chin full of wispy bumfluff occasionally punctuated by weeping acne.
- Seeing no way out, place your left hand under the edge of the table, about a third of the way in from the left.
- Place your right hand under the edge of the table, about a third of the way in from the right.
- Sharply lift both hands and flip the board up, shouting "WARHAMMER IS CUNT".
- Stomp away, leaving the child sobbing amidst a pile of broken toys and trapped beneath 6'x4' of chipboard.
I love Palehorse, and am unable to adequately explain why. Their set began with a barrage of noise, and the drummer yelling incoherently from behind his drumkit like an escaped mental patient. An escaped mental patient that plays the drums. After that it all got a lot more noisy and savage. Here is the wonderfully low budget video to their soon-to-be hit single, "What Community What Scheme".
Big Naturals set up in the front room and cranked out some doomy psychedelic hard rock type stuff. For just two guys they made a lot of noise, and I seem to recall quite liking them; but at this point I was still quite blown away by Palehorse, so it's hard to be sure. They'll be playing again in a few weeks, supporting the ever-amazing Taint, so I'm sure I'll be seeing them again.
And finally, the very splendid Baroness. Their twin-guitar proggy-space-metal comes across as a slightly more easy listening version of Mastodon; it's the same kind of set-up, except the beards are slightly smaller. Apparently, a new record is on its way later this year - looking forward to it.
The next day was mostly spent attempting to recover, though my efforts were hampered largely by the fact that I had to spend my bank holiday working in the Big Gay Department Store; and then go out for birthday drinkums with Dom and my other geek buddies.
Through some devious cheese-eating ploy, Dom managed to make his birthday last an entire week, and so the following weekend involved yet more birthday drinkums - this time at Dom's own house. I spent a considerable portion of the evening wearing my powerful shirt; then it all goes a bit blank; then I woke up on Matt "Ich werde Sie sprechen Mexikaner machen" Smith's sofa feeling like death.
Another week passes, and a double whammy of gig action! Wednesday 22nd April; ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead at The Thekla, supported by So So Glos and Middle Class Rut.
So So Glos weren't really my cup of tea; competent enough, I suppose, but they sounded like if they were a bit more rubbish and had a few more trumpets they would be just another shitty ska band.
Middle Class Rut fared somewhat better, despite there being only two of them. On record, they still sound a bit tame to me, but live they sound massive. I guess when drums are the only other thing in the mix and the guitar is turned up to 11, it can only sound awesome (even if the Jane's Addiction-esque vocals start to grate after a while).
...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead have as many band members as both of the other bands put together, so should be at least as good as both of them combined. Well, that's the theory; but how does the maths work out?
- So So Glos had twice as many guitars as MCRut, but MCRut's guitar was 50% noisier than all of the So So Glos.
- So So Glos had one bass, whilst MCRut had none.
- So So Glos had, at times, all four band members contributing vocals; but they all sounded the same, so it was effectively only as good as two sets of vocals - still one more than MCRut.
- So So Glos and MCRut each had just a single drummer, but MCRut's drummer had "FOR SALE" written on his chest in red marker pen.
- ...AYWKUBTTOD had three guitars, a bass, keyboards and drums, with vocals predominantly handled by one of the guitarists, but with others chipping in here and there, and sometimes one of their guitarist/singers would play keyboards and the keyboard player would play drums, and sometimes one of the other guitarists would play drums, and sometimes he would grab a mic and charge into the crowd hardcore-style.
And then the next day... more gig! Earth, supported by Stebmo.
Stebmo are a jazz duo made up of half of Earth; pianist/trombonist/hip geography teacher Steve Moore, and bassist Don McGreevy on drums. It all started a bit iffy, with an awkward plodding piano line sat on top of a very ordinary beat; it sounded like we were going to have to endure 45 minutes of the emperor's new jazz wank experimentalism coming in our ears. Or go to the bar. They're all good options. But by the end of the first song, they'd started to ease up a bit and things suddenly got very groovy. Like, really groovy. This was great. And for all the face-peeling, bile-fueled, spleen-rendingly angry brutality I often like to pollute my ears with, it's sometimes just great to see people playing music and smiling. It was fun to watch the interplay between the two guys, too, especially at the end of a John Coltrane cover (I didn't get the name of the song) where they were each clearly trying to catch each other out with a fearsome exchange of piano and drum solos.
Earth slowed things down again with their megalithic desolate country drone. Not a band for those with short attention spans, they rumbled through a set consisting mostly of tracks from last year's "The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull". Almost impossibly slow, quiet and heavy all at once, and with so much bass reverb that my innards were almost certainly liquefied. Frankly, it's a miracle that I'm even able to sit here typing this crap out. I love this band, but you'll probably hate them.
Not us much as you hate Palehorse, though.