I just returned from an extended version of the Shellac Nightmare Before Christmas. The Fall played the first Shellac curated All Tomorrow's Parties but not the one at the end of 2012, however I went to see them for the first time since the "Fall Heads Roll" era at Factory, Manchester the night before I headed off to Nottingham to see Uzeda, Kogumaza and Nephu Huzzband. I then travelled south to London for another Uzeda gig, supporting Bottomless Pit who like Uzeda had been invited by Shellac to play the three day event at Camber Sands. The next day I saw one for the best gigs I've ever heard, the Ex at Cafe Oto, supported by Ken Vandermark solo, a trio of Terry and Andy of the Ex on guitars and Mats Gustafsson on sax, Jackdaw with Crowbar and Arnold of the Ex playing Zea songs acompanied by Xavier Charles. Chairs got folded up and piled high in front of Ex guitarist Andy Moor, as the people wanted to dance!
The first song Shellac played as they opened their return to All Tomorrow's Parties was "The End of Radio" in which Steve Albini sings, "Welcome to my top ten." So here is my top ten of the 35 bands witnessed that weekend, having seen at least two songs from all bands performing:
1. The Ex and Brass Unbound
2. Mission of Burma
4. Shellac (twice)
6. Melt Banana (who would maybe rate higher had they not clashed with Wire, meaning I missed the first half of their set)
7. Nina Nastasia (who regrets eating valuable Twinkies and dislikes Snotsuckers)
8. Rachel Grimes
10. Turing Machine
None of these ten bands were new to me, but there were in fact 15 bands who played who I had never heard before. Only Alix, Buke and Gase, Bottomless Pit and Bear Claw made it into my top twenty...
11. Mono (marred by too much drunken babble)
12. Zeni Geva (preceded by a short KK Null noise set)
13. Shannon Wright (with full on rock trio)
15. Kim Deal (with funny fuck ups)
16. Buke and Gase (with Bob Weston on bass for one song)
17. Oxbow (with orchestral musicians)
18. Bottomless Pit
19. Bear Claw
20. The Membranes
The best song of the weekend was Rachel Grimes rendition of a song written by the late Jason Noble of her band Rachel's, on which Shannon Wright sang. Here is a video of "Last Things Last"
The new songs played by the Ex suggest their next album will be their best one yet. Here they are catching shoes
Shellac had enough new songs to suggest that an album could maybe appear next year? My favourite one featured Steve screaming in an anguished manner. Here they are perfroming "Steady As She Goes" for the second time that festival.
And here's a new song they played twice which sounds rather like "In A Minute" slowed down
Wire have rewritten the lyrics for "Underwater Experiences" and Graham Lewis told me it was now known as "Attractive Space." I came it was so, I wanted to go see Melt Banana downstairs...
Melt Banana are now a duo of Yako and Agata and played a great fast cover of Louis Armstrong's "Wonderful World."
The worst band were Kash, who put me in mind of a Lynyrd Skynard tribute with Eddie Vedder on vocals, and I endured them for three songs.
When it was over, I met Scrawl at the bus stop and sat next to Marcy Mays on the bus back to Rye railway station. I then travelled to Bristol for more Mission of Burma, and then to Leeds where they were supported by the ever wonderful Bilge Pump and Broken Arm. I also interviewed Mission of Burma before the Leeds gig.
Here they are at the Nightmare. I was right at the front on the Roger Miller side.