Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Wednesday 6 May 2009

This morning I’m up OK, slightly early but that’s all right.

When I get to the station this morning it is to the sight/reality of trains being delayed with the one before my usual train being cancelled altogether. All in all this means one cramped train lies ahead. We live though.

As I trawl into work before 9AM the accounts consultant dude is already on the phone chasing and hassling me for stuff. My day had not been structured to include this also. As ever this is a distinct product of our department trying to do too many things at once at this time. The shopping list reads: finishing the 08 audit, doing the 09 audit (before the 08 is even complete), moving the accounts onto a new Sage system (which is turning out to be quit lacking in the reporting and department area), doing the April 09 accounts while setting up the management pack for the beginning of a new year on a new package we have not been shown or instructed in. I wonder if this scenario is appreciated. Fucking hell, everything always feels rushed and as a result bodged and fudged. At least the bosses don’t lean on or impose their presence on us too much but all this shit is always playing at the back of my mind. Oh well, onwards and upwards.

That said not long after getting off the phone with that guy, my boss comes arrives in a panicked and flapping mood today telling me us that we are to concentrate on audit work mere minutes after the consultant dude on the phone has fired his requests at me.

Today is DEVO day though and that takes priority in my mind but it is still going to be one hell of a mission to get there first.

Early in the day Racton gets in touch suggesting that we meet up a place called the Junction Tavern in Kentish Town which is a very welcome suggestion compared the other of the grotty old hole that is the Bull & Gate. Today should be a good one, not only is it Racton and I but also Adam and Lee are heading along, a true gathering/gang for a change.

Ultimately though the day does pan out as hard as expected and when I dragged too far into affairs the day flies past home time and suddenly it becomes apparent that I am going to be working/staying late.

Fortunately I manage to get out at 5.45 which isn’t too late but considering the meet up time is just after 6PM this isn’t looking good.

To just get from St Johns Wood to Kentish Town ends up taking 40 minutes by tube. The reality is that it would probably have been just as quick to walk there.

As I leave the tube station I interrogate my Google map for street names and when I am heading towards the Junction Tavern it suddenly appears that I am heading quite a way away from the Forum and straight into the residential town part of Kentish Town.

The Junction Tavern feels a long trek up a hill and when I arrive there I am unfashionably late. Perhaps this was due to my staring for too long at lady’s plump arse in strange but subtle animal print leggings. From outside I cannot see anyone I know and for some reason the place does appear welcoming enough for me to step in. From outside I send a text while lingering on the corner of the place with the smokers looking like some rubbish male prostitute.

When I finally get a nod I step in and everyone has already been there quite a long time. The first sight that grabs me is the glimpse of an amazing looking Japanese lady in the corner. This makes me feel sad and happy all at the same time.

Today is the first time in a long time that I have seen people and it is a great reunion. These days time feels horribly stretched between events when I get to see these guys and 2009 has been particularly barren.

Excitement abounds regarding DEVO tonight and I find myself chatting at 100 words per minute. In other words I am on form.

Looking at the Junction Tavern menu there is little to inspire us and it is all so expensive. Swiftly we decide to head to our usual pre-Forum gig food haunt and snag some noodles.

We head to the usual haunt where on a few years ago on my birthday just before a Bonnie Prince Billy and Matt Sweeney show at the Forum Will Oldham came storming out of the backroom of the place. What on earth he had been doing back there remains a question for the ages but you would hope it to be something exotic such as gambling or people trafficking.

When we finally get inside the Forum it is with a real sense of excitement and adventure. Everywhere people are wearing/sporting energy domes at the price of £20. Even Lee is wearing one when we finally hook up. Elsewhere offered on the merch stand is the opportunity to spend the night with their powerhouse drummer Josh Freese. Having witnessed how hard he pounds those drums the concept of a night of passion with the guy also equates to something of a potentially rough and painful work out. Good to know though that the avenues are open to fans if they REALLY want to meet to their heroes.

As excitement spews out in me I keep yelling at a fast rate “kickoutthejams!” with view to this becoming the marching call of our ATP weekend ahead.

While we stand towards the back of the venue ROBOTS IN DISGUISE take to the stage. The last time I saw these two was at the Colchester Arts Centre and I actually thought they were a lot of fun. Here tonight however all the fun seems to be gone as the joke quickly begins to wear thin as the girls begin to look old and silly in what they are doing; mainly not acting their age. The set feels like a photocopy of the one from last year and when I robot staggers on stage I am not quite sure if I am imagining it or not. This band will always be tainted for getting an apparent leg up in the industry due to certain boyfriends appearing in their backing videos but as a cross between Betty Boo and a comedy indie act that still desires to be taken seriously, it falls short.

Once their set is over we head straight to the front(ish) of the venue and wait in anticipation. The last time (the first time) I saw DEVO was very special, they performed an almost perfect hits set without missing a beat. Tonight however the vibe is different. Whereas that show felt special, a one off, tonight appears to be for the more casual observer. As a result of this as we endure the throngs at the front people appear to lack the wonder and excitement of the band’s eventual arrival.

Almost on the dot at 9.30PM the venue rattles as the video screens at the side of the stage light up with retro futuristic commands. Suddenly it is DEVO time. You can’t help but acknowledge that these were the same videos the band were using twenty years as they became multimedia pioneers. They may look dated but the sentiments most definitely have not. It is still silly, unnerving and almost disturbing to view the sight of two naked men in monkey masks spanking a lady in a baby mask. And every time the band’s name gets spelled out the electronic fizz plain hurts.

While the video for “Secret Agent Man” plays out you realise that everyone around you is singing along and you almost feel that you are at some kind of rally.

By the time it is announced that it is time for DEVO the room has spewed over in excitement. As the first notes and strains of “Uncontrollable Urge” kick in the audience of spuds surrounding me go insane. Behind me are two rabid drunk fanatics that proceed to sing every single word of the set very badly but confronted with such tunes and rhymes it is impossible not to get caught up in the spastic funk and not move.

Tonight DEVO look re-energised. Mark Mothersbaugh looks healthier and happier than he did two years ago and this evening he fully throws himself into the performance with a new intensity. Once more DEVO are a hardcore act as the pressure levels rise to a point where you once more feel that they actually “mean it.”

The stage set up tonight is old skool and basic seemingly in a grand effort to recapture the scene of when DEVO were performing Q: Are We Not Man A: We Are Devo first time around.

As the band slip into “Satisfaction” it is met with a universal funky pogo. The gratitude is further reciprocated with the audience participation that occurs during and comes with “Praying Hands” as the evening truly represents congregation.

All is devastation as the set reaches the couplet of “Mongoloid” and “Jocko Homo” descends into one huge mass of yodelling baying bodies. This is probably as good as live music gets.

There is no escaping the fact but tonight DEVO are super tight, a well oiled machine that appears super rehearsed and manages to chew up the scenery in the process with the performance of some of the greatest and most inventive songs to have staggered out of the (post) punk era.

With “Gut Feeling” comes a real sense of dread attached to something of a breather in the set as the performance of the album draws to a close and there is a real sense of urgency applied to “Come Back Jonee”, as if the message is as relevant today as it was thirty years ago. After that things just get silly.

As the finish off the album and leave they return for an inevitable and sadly briefest of encores and it is a shock to the system at just how concise and professional the performance is, all in all clocking in at barely an hour in return for my £35. Thems whore rates. Not even “Whip It” gets performed. There is however a sense that this is the set of a band that once more is a going concern. Whereas two years ago the set at Shepherd’s Bush was a real treat, a greatest hits set marking a special event tonight feels more the kind of set delivered by a touring band. However for a band as good as DEVO such financial concerns can only ever be minor when returns are so good. Kickoutthejams.

On a brighter note the relatively early ending to the evening now equates to actually returning to Colchester tonight at a decent hour. As people/casualties are lost to cloakroom those of us that remain feel wowed.

When I eventually get on a train home tonight there are lots of sad looking Chelsea supporters. As I pass a bunch of them I accidentally kick the leg of one of them and actually feel a little retribution but instead they appear too depressed to get worked up over anything. Obviously if I were wearing my Millwall shirt they would have started on me but not tonight. What on earth could have happened to them tonight?

Upon inspection of the internet it turns out that they went down to Barcelona in the most frustrating of manners as the referee certainly was not on their side and with a late goal Barcelona smashed their dreams of getting revenge on Manchester United. Diddums.

Also looking on the internet on my iPhone I discover that Philip has been booted out of The Apprentice this evening. Yikes, I have no idea what happened there but I did have him down as one of the stronger contenders in a very mediocre bunch.

When I finally get back to Colchester I feel exhausted. The getting down to the rhythms of DEVO have really taken their toll on me and the excitement appears to have been overwhelming. As I partake in the long long walk back to my car I begin to wish that I knew how to steal cars by hotwire.


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