Saturday, December 09, 2006

Lost In Music Part 1 : Even In Blackouts


It was one of the first real biting cold evenings we've had so far this winter, not the sort of night where you expect much of anything to happen. Certainly I did not expect to experience something that left me caught in a moment of wonder, an entire hour of that rare time where you think of yourself in the third person and just KNOW that you will treasure this most perfect of moments forever.

I feel like I'm constantly on a journey with music. Just when I think I can no longer be surprised by new songs or new sounds or new styles, just when I feel burdened with cynicism about the industry having no cards left to play, something like this comes along and shows me a way out. And it's got nothing to do with technology or relevance or that strange thing people call 'cool' - it's to do with feeling and with music's unique ability to touch the truth.

A friend of mine with a good few friends and contacts in the punk scene, had arranged for a US band called Even In Blackouts to play at his house. From the moment I first heard the idea I thought it was an unusual but quite brilliant thing to do. In fact the band are veterans of this type of guerilla gig. For a nominal fee they'll come and play at your house, the internet being littered with pictures of similar gigs of theirs in America and Europe. How great is that! For that reason alone they should be crowned the greatest band in the world.
With their name already implying their non-requirement of electricity to perform, Even In Blackouts are 'acoustic punk' - two and three minute blasts of love and anger bursting forth from thrashing acoustic guitars. The room containing this gig was no more than 4 or 5 square metres, an audience of around 20 people close enough to hear the strings buzzing and literally FEEL the vibration of resonating guitar tops. On top of all this fantastic musical physicality are Lizzie's vocals. Without need of a microphone to bolster her, a voice of gorgeous American clarity simultaneously froze and melted everybody present. I felt like I might never hear a voice like that again, and couldn't stop listening to it for a single second. All five of my senses felt alive. I have never been more involved in a gig.

The picture above doesn't do justice to how special this night was, its fly-in-amber staticness depriving you readers of the boundless kinetic energy emanating from every band member and infecting everyone in that tiny room, leaving you only with a visual impression of the glorious hats the band were wearing - which is something I suppose. Perhaps my horrible, stark flash photograph serves only to highlght the ordinariness of the surroundings, (if a Chinese guy dressed as an American Indian chief drinking a can of lager counts as ordinary) and tells you everything you could ever know without having been there. Maybe it is all only there in that moment, to be either half remembered or lost forever.

3 comments:

Even In Blackouts said...

He, thanks for the great read, We all appreciate the specialness around doing gigs like this one. Each living room adventure never leaves our heads. We carry them with us, hopefully, forever.

John Jughead
Even In Blackouts

KaH said...

I love your way with words Charlie!!! Thanks for sending me the song, it is very much appreciated snd I really like it!

Mate you sooo gotta go on tour with Dides and do her journal!! I love reading your reviews!!!

Ester said...

whops there ya go, I can only copy what KaH just said! :-) :-)