Saturday, 27 October 2012

Music-related Adventures in the Nation's Capital

I love gigs, I love record shops and I love music-related exhibitions, so cramming all three into one weekend is my idea of heaven...

Someday All The Adults Will Die!

First stop was the Southbank Centre's Hayward Gallery, for a gawp at its punk graphics exhibition. 'Someday All The Adults Will Die!' celebrates the raw and unique feel of punk design during the '70s and '80s, and how bands, artists and DIY-ers adopted its style for posters, flyers, t-shirts, fanzines and record sleeves. Partly curated by Jon Savage, the knowledge on all things punk, this exhibition has some absolute gems from the early years of punk.

Like a hand grenade thrown at popular music, fashion and art, it's hard to imagine now just how shocking punk must have been in during its infancy, how different it must have sounded and looked to everything else that was going on. The story behind the exhibition and the punk graphics in general is displayed as you enter, complete with a great quote from Jon Savage, which I think really sums up punk's impact and legacy: "A few years later, people wake up and wonder what happened. They're still wondering."

Some notable items that got me all excited included posters and artwork from Jamie Reid, the artist behind the Sex Pistols' iconic, cut 'n' paste style 'Nevermind the Bollocks...' album sleeve.

Work by Jamie Reid

There was also an original copy of the front page of the Daily Mirror from 2nd December 1979, the edition that ran the famous 'Filth and the Fury' headline after the Pistols' notorious appearance on the Today show.
It also includes the story of the guy who kicked in his TV because he was so angry. Twat.

Daily Mirror from 2nd December 2012

What I'm thinking: Umm, this lot would look
lovely on my walls at home...

DIY Crass poster. They like their stencils.

Original t-shirts, mainly designs from Vivienne Westwood

Unfortunately, this was the last shot I was able to get, because Mr Security Man came and told me off for taking pictures. It means that I don't have a photo of one of my favourite pieces from the exhibition, a copy of the press release that accompanied promo copies of The Ramones' debut album, released in 1976. I also would have loved to get some shots of cut 'n' paste posters and flyers, and the whole wall of fanzines from '71 to '84, including an issue of Sniffin' Glue! Alongside the 'zines were two walls of 7" singles, all self-released by the bands themselves. Here's a little fact for you, the very first self-released 7" was 'Spiral Scratch' by The Buzzcocks.

The 7" allowed bands to record and release their own music for the first time because it was such a cheap format, which is why so many emerged during the punk years, as bands desperate to be part of that DIY culture recorded and issued their own music. Those records would make a lovely addition to my own collection.

After picking out sleeves, songs and bands I knew, I started thinking about all of those I didn't recognise, who those people were and how life turned out for them. There was a music room tagged onto the exhibition that offered an opportunity to listen to some of the bands/songs I was unfamiliar with, which was pretty cool. I heard some tracks from a scary Norwegian punk band whose name escapes me now and a Japanese trio called Mirrors.

Someday All The Adults Will Die! is on until the 4th November. Go! Now! It's free!

Kerbdog at The Garage

It's been 15 years since their last album, 'On The Turn', was released. It's been 14 years since they split up. Aside from the occasional reunion gig, mainly in Ireland, Kerbdog have remained off-radar for a fucking long time. So, when rumours on Twitter began surfacing about a one-off London date I just about pissed my pants. In the year that I've witnessed reformations from Refused, Ugly Kid Joe, Black Sabbath and Soundgarden (I missed out on At The Drive-In, but that's an open wound I can't talk about too much), adding Kerbdog to the list was an opportunity not to be missed. And that's how this whole weekend came about.

A lot of people had travelled a long way for the gig, outside in the queue we got chatting to two lads from Stafford about '90s music and waiting forever to see Kerbdog. It seemed to be a common theme. It also made me laugh how specific the age range was, everyone was in their late 20s or early 30s. There was certainly no need for the '14s and over' comment on the ticket, it's highly unlikely anyone under the age of 25 would know who they were.

It was also very funny how excited a bunch of grown-up girls and boys can get when they finally get to see something they never thought would happen. The atmosphere in The Garage was like Christmas. A group of about eight dudes were so excited they came dressed in matching Scooby Doo costumes, one even stage dived.

It was an awesome set mainly made up of 'On The Turn' tracks, with a few from their debut thrown in too, and I enjoyed a great barrier view down the front. When they played 'Sally' the crowd went absolutely mental, in fact, it's been a long time since I've seen so many people crowd surfing at the same time. There were a couple of fuck ups, of course, and the band looked pretty worn out afterwards - then again so did the crowd - but you wouldn't think it had been so long since they were touring band.

View from the front

Kerbdog's Cormac Battle and Dan

Rough Trade

Independent record shops are awesome, but are sadly dying off. I always try and seek one out when I'm visiting a city - cos they're the only places that have them these days - and I always buy something. I can't help myself, it's like crack to me.

Before I get into how awesome Rough Trade is, let me do my preachy thing about why you should buy independent. They have a wider and better selection of music than you will find in HMV, because they stock more than just that pile of bilge played by Radio 1. They sell more than just major label releases. They have proper genre sections. They stock vinyl. The staff are actually interested in and know stuff about music. You can buy something you can look at and hold in your hand! Oh and they don't tell their staff to cover up their tattoos.

As record shops go, Rough Trade is one of the sweetest experiences I've had in recent years - second only to Amoeba Music. They have a punk/hardcore section, American/Canadian section, they've got some cool music documentaries, a decent book section and 7" and 12" racks. Impressively, they even have a tape section, all independent releases, with some beautifully packaged. I love just trawling through the racks, looking at album covers, letting band names jump out at me. I came away with '119' by Trash Talk, 'Couple Tracks' by Fucked Up and a stunning Sex Pistols re-issue with foldout sleeve. I could've bought much, much more.

Other little touches that make Rough Trade special are the old school photo booth, and its black and white pics that adorn the walls, and hand prints,signatures from Billy Bragg and Nick Cave. Apparently Sonic Youth have also signed the ceiling somewhere, so spotting those squiggles is a game I'm planning for my next visit.

Looking suitably rough outside Rough Trade East.
I'd just washed my hair with tea tree shower gel.
I wouldn't recommend it.
I would recommend a trip here though, you can find it just off Brick Lane.

Awesome haul of goodies picked up over the weekend.
Items of note include Sex Pistols 'God Save the Queen'
 re-issue 7" - well it is Jubilee year -
 and '119' from Trash Talk.

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