Friday, 24 November 2017

Review: Tank & The Bangas

B texts me, first thing.  I wake up about 10.30 with a strong headache.  And then again at 11.15, 11.45, 12.15 and 12.30, each time with a strong headache.  Eventually I get up.  R is asleep on the sofa.

Last night was some beer lairyness done our way, but now we’re back in the light of day…
I look at B’s text again.  “Yo. You good?  Still up for the gig tonight?”
My immediate responses, in chronological order: Y-yy-oooo…no, not really.  Whaaaat?  What gig?  Whatever it is, no I’m bloody not.”
I don’t text him that, obviously.  I just think it.
I recover quickly enough to remember what the gig is.  But it will take all day to recover enough to want to go.
D and B also had it fairly large last night, so we are all in the same boat.  (But I stayed up the latest, so I win, yeah?)
Anyway, here we are.  And Everyone is here.  And not just in that fashionable way that insufferable wannabees mean: everyone is represented, music and poetry in Bristol, most strongly.  There’s people who put on great things, brilliant poets, musicians of all styles, producers, artists of all kinds.  Lovely people, funny people, talented people.  I see lots of faces I recognise.  I’m almost too overwhelmed to talk to everyone, and some of them I haven’t seen for ages.  I do say a quick Hello! To BC and McK, who have put the thing on.  “Why a Sunday?”  B asks.  It was the only night they could book them, says BC.
I tell B & D that if a bomb hits The Trinity Centre tonight, there will be no culture in Bristol.  For a least a few weeks.  On facebook, the day after the gig, I will learn that loads more talented and cool people were there than I saw.  And I saw many.  It seems to have been a huge draw for a lot of the creators in this city – a bit like the Godspeed You! Black Emperor show recently (although that was a bit more muso, a bit more male dominated and not very diverse.)
The person who told me what “piff” means (and then made a very funny race-based joke about it), the person who floored my mate GDog with her poetry (and who has done the same to me once or twice), the person who invited me to guest with his well-known and well-liked band when I was a wee loudmouth teenager starting out, the person who hosts the poetry night where I tried something out (and who was very encouraging to me about it), the person who always does a great job with sound and is so relaxed and welcoming about it, the person who I’ve seen play in a million bands that are all different but all pretty (or very) good, the person who asked me to join him on stage for the biggest gig of our lives, the person who also played there and backed us both up, the person who interviewed me on her radio show many years ago, the person who runs a great pub where I have played many times, the person who fronts that brilliant band with all the lovely people in it, the person who is that well-loved solo artist with all the fun wee instruments, the DJ who played a Public Enemy song I hadn’t heard in that pub that night, the person who produced my friends’ excellent album…
They are all here.  (Some of them are more than one of the above.  That’s what writers do, yeah?  Conflate several people into the same character, or parcel tem out into discrete dramatic units, for their own purposes?)
Art is not made in a vacuum: all these people have inspired and helped me, in innumerable, immeasurable ways.  And they are all here, probably to be immeasurably inspired by what’s happening tonight.  It occurs to me, even during the proceedings, that all of the above have already inspired me more than what is happening on stage, engaging as that is.
I will also learn from facebook that Charlotte Church was apparently there.
Big Ups to all the people there, those I know and those I don’t.  Those I spoke to and those I didn’t.  (Why do I do that?  Why do I see people I know and like and not talk to them?  I’m shy.  No one ever believes me when I tell them, but…)
Who could draw such a crowd?  Tank & The Bangas, that’s who.  What do you mean you don’t know who they are?  They’re from New Orleans.  I would find it tricky to describe them, and I’m not inclined to try.  Which should be alright, since no one has asked me to….I’m tired.  But happy.
Anyway, it’s so easy to just look things up these days, isn’t it?  Remember when we had to go to A Place for A Thing?  How quaint.
B says he hopes I will review the gig.  He also apologises for telling me this blog had gone right downhill, going into some details about the ones I used to do that he preferred.  He was drunk that night, and apologises for his candour, but I appreciated it.  He hopes to get a mention – NO CHANCE, Son!
I tell B that sometimes it’s nice not to review a gig – and to decide that early, because then I’m not making notes, or thinking about what to write about it, which frees me to be more present, to just enjoy it.
For the record, I enjoyed it.



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