Friday, September 07, 2018

Billy Childish at Koko

Ian Damaged must be very proud: Koko was sold out last night and packed with pop stars old and new. I met up with Shanne and unfortunately we didn't see much of the first band but we did catch Johnny Moped's high-powered set. Funny, because punks looked so different from everyone else back in the day that when they get older they look just as normal (or abnormal) as ever.
Johnny's band were mega-energetic and whipped the crowd up into a party mood.
Next, Nurse Julie strode on to the stage and strapped on a big, bad, red Gretsch bass; the drummer settled himself at the kit and Billy appeared in his First Word War finery, enormous moustache trembling in the heat radiated from the massed crowds, many bussed in from Chatham to watch their Kentish comrade strut his stuff. They weren't disappointed and roared for an encore, which featured more false starts for a song that I've ever seen in my life. This was a really great gig for Billy, and of course for Damaged Goods: selling out Koko is a great endorsement for a little record label that has weathered all sorts of storms and still managed to survive.

Billy is a scorching guitar player. Years ago he came in to speak to the students at the University of the West and declared, 'I'm going to show you how to play guitar really badly, really well', which he then proceeded to do. I think some of the students had thought they were the clever ones before that; some of them didn't understand what he was about, but the rest of them were mesmerised for the rest of the session.
Last night however, there was no playing badly really well; there was only playing extremely well and it was extremely inspiring to see and hear a guitar being thrashed in such a spirited way.
So who was there? Gaye Black, Dec Hickey who ran a record label at the University of the West, Kevin Younger, Zoe Howe (somewhere in the crowd!), numerous musos from the past and present, and Robert from King Kurt who told me that they have re-formed and have been playing all round Europe. You could have knocked me down with a feather; it was nice to see him again after all these years and we had a good yak.
Today, the world is back to normal, or rock'n'roll normal anyway. Gina and me are going to meet Doc'n'Roll to discuss screening Stories from the She-Punks in November. Fingers crossed....

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