The Punk and the Mods' Mecca. Cornwell in Brighton. A review.

Having a fancy weekend in Brighton ? Life could have been worst. Well, You know how I feel good as soon I'm in the white cliffs country. Won't bug you with my whole weekend but only the Man in black's gig, Hugh Cornwell, playing Hooverdam and Rattus Norvegicus, with a short break. I've discovered the Komedia and to be a perfect mod, I've parked my car just in front of the "Jump the gun"'s store, a kind of Mod's Mecca in the Mods' Mecca. Mike opened all the doors to me and gave me all the tips to have a good weekend.

Stranglers? Oh Have to admit they've been very important to me... I've seen them first time in Lille, in 1983, just because my Friend Vince wanted me to come with him, it was the Feline tour but punks times were not so far away and there was a smell of scandal, venom, black mystery when they played and it opened a new door to me, after the one opened by Sound Affects in 1980 for a 14 years old kid. When Hugh quit the band I lost a bit interest in both part of the band, Hugh Solo and new Stranglers. Stranglers because I was too disturbed by another voice and Hugh because Internet wasn't massively there and couldn't find his records in France. With Norfoalk Coast for the band, Beyond Elysian Fields for Hugh, my friendship with Mike, I came back into their zone. Hooverdam is very good and I was really realy interested by this idea, playing two records, the last one and one of the most black and dangerous Stranglers LP: Rattus...Strange challenge, playing the newest songs, and considering this way the whole LP as interesting live (who does it?) and playing the oldest one, considering it as something you can't share into different pieces. Imagine Weller playing In the city and Wake up the nation!

After an hour late, he came on stage, dressed in black of course. on the Dambusters march sound. Chris Bell and the mighty Steve Lawrence on Big Bass. He has a very fantastic style, a kind of mix between Foxton and Entwistle (the sound John had on RAH DVD 2001), very agressive, very easy, and you can really feel he always have fun. Then to start the party, a very unconscious fan flashed Hugh! He hates it and the old punk was ready to shoot "No flashes or I'll kick your face!".

He apologized a bit later, saying it confuses him but the first reaction has been very brash and brutal. Sure he can kick! Musically it was absolutely brilliant, Hugh is an excellent guitar player, he doesn't play much with sustain or shredders' acrobatic style but he's very good and clever in the way he plays, more influenced by spanish and classical guitars' than rock'n'roll ones. Chris Bell bangs the drums as a lumberjack and more and more wood Splinters splitted out. He's a complete drummer, powerful and you can count on him to keep the train on the rails. Hooverdam takes another dimension on stage, it's more coherent from the sound point of view. Something has been proved: Hooverdam is good and there's only good songs on it. Then, they went out of stage for a break, fortunately for our ears, it was extremely loud, the loudest gig I've been, honest. Had earfit deep in my ears and it was still loud! Has a buzz in the left ear for hours and hours...

When they came back, old punk wolves were out, eagerly waiting the pleasure to sing and pogo all along their album, Rattus, the one they were here for for sure. It's a very basic social analysis, but suddenly Punk times were there, and you could have touch it. It wasn't the first part audience anymore and I even dare to think than 33 years of "money and Bank" politic, like here, kept the frustration punk expressed in 1977. And I did admire these 55 years old guys, still proud and fighting... They knew the Thatcher's years and for me, as a french, the worst way a political personality can treat his people, the workers and the weakest ones. There was, really, that kind of light in their eyes...It was very impressive, it was a time capsule but not a nostalgic one, a way to say, whatever you did to us, we're there tonight alive and we sing Down in the sewer again, you took us many things but not that... The pogo party went high and my son (6 feet 3) has been a bit upset and unfortunately the guy who bugged him had a little flight for free.

The music? Well what a challenge to play it with a three pieces band. If you know that record, you know how keys are important on it! It's time to remind than the Stranglers were probably one of the best band, if not the best, from a technical point of view. JJ was very personal, playing with a very hard plectrum close to the bridge, Dave was excellent and Hugh has a personal way to play the guitar. Can't say much things about Jet Black's drumming, never knew, it was pretty basic, wasn't it and efficient. Hugh does it with a guitar pedal effect which fills the sound and it's a kind of mix between a guitar sound and a keyboards one, well done and it works perfectly, the sound is warm, full and everybody forgot the lack of synth. It became an adrenalin rush all along the second part and before the encores. He came back to play a few songs and all ended up by No More Heroes.
Ten minutes later, Hugh was at the merchandising shop to sign as much as you want, he even draw what he called "D'artagnan" , the musketeer on my "Guilty" cover. he's clever smart, intelligent, je know exactly the way to make you feel personal and also the way to let you know the short chat sessions is over, shaking my hand with a french "Bon Voyage". A very polite way to say me "It's over", you have had your three minutes with me. Not sure talking about the 1983's Stranglers with me has been my best idea. The boys were above the clouds, So was I! We had a very cool stroll in Bright town streets, it was just a perfect moment.

How's JJ? Look at him in Action (Another gift from MikeC). Yes, Punk brought back the bass in music!

1 comment:

Ian S said...

As always Yann i love your passion for the music.Sounds like you had quite an adventure !