Exploding Plastic InevitablePortman Hotel, Bournemouth
Bournemouth's home-grown music scene is a fugitive beast, scurrying among the torrid wastelands of nu-rave and bad house music, bored yuppies, drunken chavs, petulant emo children and slickly-attired students, that populate the town, putting on guerilla gigs among the blackened ruins and foul sea air. Here, in the lovely Portman's Green Room, we were treated to a stream of nice oddities from DJ Michael Wookey (including about a thousand Disney songs seemingly dredged from the lower strata of my subconscious) as low light fell on tree branches draped over speakers, straw deers (or is the plural 'deer'? 'Deeeeeeeer' perhaps? 'Door'?) and Flipron's stacked effects pedal board, complete with Golden Syrup tin (?).
First up was Tex La Homa, about ten minutes late, whose acoustic-singer-songwriter stylings were just right - not too blues, not too country, not even too 'singer-songwriter', his dark, somnambulant voice and subdued, minor-key guitar lending his self-confessed 'depressing songs' and advice about not taking robots on planes a nice presentation. As Neal Casady's film of the adventures of the Merry Pranksters projected over him, the repeated shots of the road complemented the songs well, making him appear like a less-agoraphobic, more-conventionally-tuned Jandek. Eventually Martin Roberts, curator of the night and singer of The Powdered Cows And The Toy Throat Alarm Clock, shambled on stage, plugged in his IPod and let bucolic electronic sounds unfold around him, singing through a Fisher-Price microphone, the eery, crumbling lone voice in a cavern of drifting melancholic ambience. Another song, with Michael Wookey on guitar, stood out as an especial highlight, his voice, almost Daniel Johnston-like in its uncertainty mixing with spare guitar and fading out to be replaced by morning birdsong. The rest of his band, The Toy Throat Alarm Clock, came on for another song, the tension generated by their ultra-spare playing eventually building into a scraping, rhythmic semi-rock-out, Wookey's keyboard blasting the audience with space-weird tones over Roberts' one, maybe two-chord pounding, like slowed-down, depressive garage rock given over to the service of home-grown pop-songs. Excellent stuff.
After a considerable gap spent setting up equipment, all hell broke loose as Skitanja came on, masked, wigged and dangerous, powered by laptop gabba beats, overdriven surf-rock and seemingly completely untrained trumpet blasts from their drummer. Meeting complete incomprehension from a certain number pint-nursing meatheads with their first song (composed mostly of barking through their lady-masks), they quickly got into the swing of bringing their rock elements to the fore, guitarist Steve Potatoes bringing forth a massive cloud of duochord thrash, Sonic Youth levels of feedback powering along on the back of both laptop and drummer going at full pelt, then doing an immediate stylistic u-turn mid-song, guitar twiddles mixing with the odd percussion (the drummer/trumpeter used a maraca to hit the drums, that broke halfway through), until another shift brought the whole thing to a halt.
As for Flipron... Normally I don't like to speak ill of the dead, but I'll make an exception this time: if people haven't learned by now that rock 'n' roll is long dead, then it's obvious that 're-education' (threatening Soviet undertones intended) is necessary for the entire population. I got the feeling they were enjoying themselves, and the crowd seemed to as well. Keep in mind: "Madness is rare in individuals - but in groups, parties, nations and ages it is the rule" - Nietzsche. They did use an accordion on 'Hotel Rustique', though... Alright, they won't be first against the wall when the revolution comes.