Neil Campbell is an inspiration and a bit of a hero to me. So to get to finally meet him, hang out and chat was fabulous. His solo lunchtime show at TUSK was great – really physical – the way he chased and tamed mischievous, malfunctioning sequences of e-skronk through an array of flashing kit: whoo! – and that evening set as part of a ‘power’-trio with Mick Flower and Oren Ambarchi was pretty fucking special. That and Astral Social Club’s Electric Yep album.
Heritage Rock and Classic Albums Re-presented type shite doesn’t sit well with me normally, buuuuut, c’mon… Zappa plays Zappa turning Roxy & Elsewhere back into a living, breathing body of music again.
Richard Youngs: the Summer through My Mind album. Beautiful.
Hugh Metcalfe: within 10 seconds of meeting him at Salvage I thought I’d known him for 30 years. Hilarious, poignant, scatological, wonderful Hugh: “The Force is strong in this one…” Film-maker, musician, raconteur, comedian, organizer, lightning-rod, disrupter. Too many anecdotes – and some of them incredibly personal – the wee-stained long-johns, Bob Cobbing, broken abstract-Blues solos, chocolate brownie sandwiches, being serenaded by him at TUSK with a fart, etc, etc.
Getting drunk with Rick Kemp in my old local and hearing some amazing first-hand stories about Mick Ronson and Michael Chapman. He even did Ronno’s voice.
Richard Abberline at The Cube, Bristol. Damn, he’s good. Really good. Focused intensity. The West Country Brel.
Smegma, live at TUSK. Fucking awesome. For forty years these dudes have been tearing up the rulebook. They said afterwards they thought it was a messy show – gear not working, etc, but – Christ, man – it sounded like a master-class in outsider psych-improv to me. And a bleary 1am aftershow minivan ride with them through Newcastle with the wonderful Toby at the wheel. Wonderful.
Ashley Paul at Salvage. The ‘silence’ in her music – the gaps; the gorgeous pin-drop quiet – the strange Anti-Cagean tension that built when she Went Quiet; the implied emotion, the gathering absent-presence of The Untold. The Unspoken.
Hacker Farm road-trip to Den Haag, Holland. The people, the venue, the show: amazing, absolutely amazing. Everyone so warm and friendly. Wout and Jonny. Bumping into my old Flemmish friend Bart Sloow. 5am, drunk, up on a balcony, looking out across the park at the Russian Embassy from a squat in the former Swedish Embassy while a Canadian girl told us about the protests to get the Greenpeace 30 released. Drones in the basement, handmade modular synths, their own radio station. Gonna carry those memories to my grave.