Yesterday I enlightened you as to the nature of Steampunk and I would imagine that you are all terribly excited and wanted to hear more. Well, my lovelies, you shall.
On Saturday night I went to The Shed in Leicester for a Steampunk gig and I took a stall at the venue selling my jewellery, goggles, hats and pocket watches. I was a bit nervous because I would only know a couple of people there and it was the first time I had wheeled out my merchandise to a solely target audience.
I am a bit rubbish at finding my way round Leicester, so I took rather longer than I should have to find the venue, dragging my boxes and bags behind me, through the multi storey and down the darkened streets. I should also point out that I was wearing pvc/fetish platform boots, a top hat swathed in poppies and organza and a full length velvet cloak. I must have looked like a cross between a dominatrix, the Mad Hatter and that bird off the Scottish Widows ad. Actually, what am I talking about …. that’s a good look!
Anyway. I was made extremely welcome by the other traders and we had a laugh and a drink before everything kicked off. There were four bands scheduled for the evening, only one of whose early music I had heard on YouTube and, if I’m totally honest, I wasn’t expecting great things. I remember all too well some of the early gigs by new bands that I went to see in the Eighties and braced myself to think up encouraging but meaningless things to say afterwards.
But I had no need. They were fabulous. The four bands were very different in style, none has been going for any great length of time, but this was not obvious to the audience. I was very struck but the musical mastery of these bands; each one had outstanding players and it really brought home to me how many good bands there are out there doing brilliant stuff and simply not getting the recognition they deserve.
First on was Crimson Clocks fronted by gorgeous Linzi Cooke with boots to die for. Their sound put me in mind of early Siouxie Sioux but with a more folky / ska feel to it. Interesting lyrics, varied song styles and a strong vocal made this a very listenable band. My favourite track was ‘Gonna get it’ which felt like an instant classic.
The next up was Metropolis all the way from Bury St Edmunds. This was really accomplished stuff and they created an extraordinary sound for a small band. Their lead singer had a rich, melodic voice somewhat reminiscent of Midge Ure and the music was rock/new wave kind of stuff. Metropolis are a very new group but you’d never know it and their promotional material is very sophisticated which is encouraging.
Birthrite from Birmingham bounded onto the stage for the third act. These guys were such fun, really confident and full of energy. The lead singer, wearing what appeared to be an untied strait-jacket, leapt on and off the stage, dancing wildly in front of the audience and did some cracking numbers, including a stonking cover of T-Rex’s ‘20th Century Boy’. Fab.
And last of all were the wonderful Gladstone. The charismatic lead singer is a confident and characterful performer backed by some talented young musicians, and this makes for an incredible vibrancy which makes this band very special. Gladstone’s music is more traditionally punky but includes elements of gritty folk that tells stories of pirates, highwaymen and general swashbuckling. And we like a bit of swashbuckling. There was also a stonking guest performance from Mike Bower of BB Black Dog – crikey can that man handle a bass.
By the time the bands had finished and the traders had packed up, it was nearly three o’clock and I was starting to lose focus. I left my stuff with my friends and went to get the car. I had completely forgotten where I had parked it and took surprisingly long to find what can only be called a ‘distinctive’ vehicle in a practically empty car park. I took my ticket to the machine, and handed over the required number of limbs to pay for. The machine immediately spat my ticket out and deposited it on the floor with around fifty other identical discarded tickets which I then had to rummage through to find my ticket to re-insert into the bloody machine. I drove out and began circling the centre of Leicester in a distressingly inept attempt to find the venue. I eventually came upon it by accident and we loaded the car and, after convincing my friends that I didn’t need a police escort or Social Services to take me home, I allowed Sean the Sat Nav to steer me gently in the direction of Desborough.
I lurched sleepily through my front door at three-thirty, tripped over the welcoming cat that we all thought had been run over earlier in the day, engaged with the winceyette and fell into bed. I toyed, for a nano-second, with removing my make-up, contact lenses etc but decided that, as I had to be at Harborough Market at seven – a mere three and a half hours away – it was likely to still be intact enough to carry me through. It did – thank goodness for Lipcote.
It was a fantastic evening and I hope to have many more of them, but I’ll have to put in some serious practice if I want to continue with this going out lark. Huzzah!