Paul Henshaw, Spam Javelin, Rabo De Toro, Cane Toads, Dilation
Curiad Pulse Festival in Bangor is run by the tireless James Phillips and his team of dedicated workers. It’s a celebration of local music, mainly those centred around the city, but also spanning across North Wales too.
There’s a great buzz at The Skerries tonight, lots of people milling around, lots of acquaintances reacquainted, we (Spam Javelin) didn’t get there in time to catch James’ latest creation… Dilation were on at 7pm. Rich Phillips was present to witness what he described as inscrutable drumming, great bass guitaring and general all round weirdness… I’ll buy that for a dollar!
Cane Toads have been around in various guises since before music was invented and I recall seeing them at The Harp in Bangor several moons previous. Ex-Burnham Burnham maestro David Hopewell (he now of Hopewell Ink) is performing guitarisms and there’s a bluesy sensitivity making a great impression on a responsive audience.
There’s no shadow of doubt who the majority of the crowd are here to see as Rabo De Toro return to the stage after a six month hiatus. People are clamouring to get a look, jockeying for position as vocalist Charlie Garlic is so highly sprung you fear he’s going to shit in his hands and clap, and then have an aneurysm.
Subject wise, this is anarchy, but it’s not anachronistic like the tired old bands preaching to the already converted… This is bang up to date, bang in your face, no holds barred, kick you in the ovaries anarchy. Garlic is angry, he hates the world he’s living in, hates what we have become. ‘£220,000 for some cladding, £300,000 for a dress,’ he despairs over the Grenfell fire and the cause of it through cut-backs, yet the fairy princess will waltz down the aisle on Saturday.
Humour is the best way to get a message across and Rabo De Toro manage it without being a circus act, it’s channelled aggression with a slice of wicked humour. The band play intricate fucked-up jazz that’ll blast into pure punk rock then lounge-off, slide under a stone before leaping out and grabbing your throat. They’re rattling a life-force into you that you’ve never felt before. Paul, Dave, Duncan and Charlie are pioneers and Rabo De Toro, as I’ve said before, are the most important band of our time.
John Robb made a valid point when he approached Glove after a gig last week, they were all excited at the prospect of supporting his band The Membranes and he said, ‘No, there’s no support, we’ll simply play a gig together.’ That’s the good thing about a lot our bands, we leave our egos at the door. The bands who kick off wanting a ‘higher’ slot simply need punching back into reality. However, imagine my despair on seeing Spam Javelin going on after Rabo De Toro, ‘How the fuck will we follow that..!?’ – I guess, we did OK, everyone seemed to enjoy our own brand of shitness and we aired a couple of new songs.
Paul Henshaw is a scientific simpleton native to Shrewsbury now fully encamped in Prestatyn. He first appeared on my radar when my old buddy Deggsy, suggested I pulled him in for a session on my TudnoFM radio show. I took his advice as gospel and in January was treated to an excellent blast of intelligent folk-punk. He, like me was a bit concerned tonight about playing after what had gone on before him, but even at this late hour he held the crowd and held his own. The tales were of yore and songs painted pictures in your mind as the story unfolds. From jovial drinking songs to the sadness of losing his dear friend Paula only yesterday, we had it all. Throw in awful crowd participated three-part harmonies and some ludicrous pirate fighting and you have the full package. Great entertainment.
Curiad Pulse continues over this weekend with Grant Sharkey (Fri), White Ether (Sat) and so much more… Sleep…sleep… I haven’t slept in days….