(Planet Me)
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
INDIE DAZE : Neds Atomic Dustbin, Jesus Jones, Graham Crabb (PWEI), Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls, Power Of Dreams : London Forum 13 September 2014

So here we are. A watershed moment for a certain scene. For a small subsection of the world, this is pretty much the Ground Zero. This is pretty much it. These bands, from the once huge – Jesus Jones had a number 1 in America, Ned's Atomic Dustbin selling over 1,000,000 copies of their debut – to the thwarted genius of some of the bands lower down the bill, particularly the staggering undervalued Power Of Dreams who had their career largely destroyed in order to help a record company save itself some tax dollars in 1992 – were all, for some people, near enough everything. This band could be your life. And, then raggedy Kurt came, with his Dennis The Menace jumper, and all of that was suddenly shoved away, as if it had no meaning – never mattered – never was. 5 years after headlining Reading in 1992, no one would admit to liking The Wonder Stuff. Memory was so cruel. I've never known such a big part of growing up, and growing into an adult, and being a music fan, be so unjustly shoved to the side. These bands were huge, and these bands were better than anyone tells you.

Sure, it's called “Indie Daze”, and it takes its logo from a short lived set of compilation CD's, and there's very few songs recorded after 1994 in tonights entertainment, and at times, it feels like the kind of moment where my parents would go and see fucking Dire Straits, but the point was, is, that Dire Straits WERE shit. These bands – some of whom hardly anyone ever heard of – exist in the world of unflinching history and future promise, but, but, but also – they were much better. There was a striving in the words and music, an aspiration for something better, a level of thought you simply could not get in bands that wore headbands and played turgid blues rock. These were bands that taught me how to think, to question. To wonder.

INDIE DAZE : Neds Atomic Dustbin, Jesus Jones, Graham Crabb (PWEI), Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls, Power Of Dreams : London Forum 13 September 2014

First up, for a small group of us anyway, are – in their first show in four years, and without rehearsal – the original lineup of Power Of Dreams. Though they mostly look identical to who they used to be, haircuts aside, and the set still leans away from their artistic highpoint of “2 Hell With Common Sense”, it doesn't seem like the first time these four people have played these songs together since December 2010. Some of the earlier songs were the sound of an embryonic band finding their feet, such as “Bring You Down” and “Never Told You”, but then there's songs that last forever. “Mother's Eyes” is a song that only gets better with age. If for no other reason that people that never met my Mother now tell me I have my mothers eyes, and these songs help us connect with the people we used to be, with our hopes, our dreams, our beliefs. It's easy to forget in the fog of life ideals and hopes and ambitions.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

And then there's the 6-song climax, where they slip out of playing their debut into a virtual greatest hits set (and honouring um, my earlier polite request for “Metalscape”), which is fabulous. This is the band that U2 could have been if they had the guts to be honest and not tax dodging stadium wankers : “Cancer” still sounds as fresh as the day it was born, somewhere on a support tour in 1990, and “Stay” still sounds like the best song of that title ever recorded. And then there's just one song from “2 Hell With Common Sense”, which is “Metalscape” - a song that sounds like the type of alternate world Metallica could have inhabited if they hadn't disappeared up their own bottoms in the mid 90's. Don't you know I loved you? And it's true.


The Jokes On Me
Does It Matter
Bring You Down
Never Been To Texas
Never Told You
Mother's Eyes
Much Too Much
Little Piece Of God
Where Is The Love?
100 Ways To Kill A Love

INDIE DAZE : Neds Atomic Dustbin, Jesus Jones, Graham Crabb (PWEI), Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls, Power Of Dreams : London Forum 13 September 2014

Next up are The Flatmates, I think. I have requirements though, for food. And following that, the 'acoustic wing' of The Wonder Stuff. With credit due, Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls. Whilst in their ninth year performing together, also eschew the easy option, by loading half their set with newer material, with a couple of solo-years songs and some of the stronger stuff from their latest, and consistently excellent “Oh No....” album, alongside several big hits from the 90's. It's a rather wonderful interregnum – and a gentle and welcome change of pace as they are the only act of the night without huge drums over everything. As ever, they perform with passion and no short wit, even if having seen The Wonder Stuff in their various incarnations 149 times, I am probably more familiar than most with the material.


Clearer Through The Years
Fill Her Up And Foot Down
Oh No
The Cake
Mission Drive
Friendly Company
The Right Side Of The Turf
Welcome To The Cheap Seats
Golden Green
Here Comes Everyone

INDIE DAZE : Neds Atomic Dustbin, Jesus Jones, Graham Crabb (PWEI), Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls, Power Of Dreams : London Forum 13 September 2014

Following this are The Darling Buds, livened up by the fact that the one punter who steadfastly stayed under the barrier front row centre for the rest of the day reading a book gets to see the band he clearly loves before talking their ears off in the bar when the next band are on. The next band being Jesus Jones.

Jesus Jones, now back with former drummer Gem in the stool after a 17 year absence, look – and sound – like the best future that never happened. The sound, like many of the other bands, is sadly abysmal and muddy, with guitars loud but quiet and indistinct, distant and echoey vocals, drums that lack power. After a few songs it becomes crystal clear, but for parts of the set, including a rare outing for “Trust Me”, which is built on intricate guitar parts, furious dynamics, clipped verses, and a precise attack that wouldn't be out of place in some of post-apocalyptic robotic Ramones. History of course, remembers them a different way, but on the basis of this set – the whole of the number#1 album “Doubt” in full by the original lineup, alongside a b-side, and an assortment of extra tracks in a 40 minute greatest hits set, makes the show as good as any they have done, in fact, better in many ways, as many songs - “I'm Burning”, “Welcome Back Victoria”, “Two & Two”, “Stripped” are being aired for the first time live in London for something like 23 years. “Stripped”, a song that was committed to vinyl in a somewhat rushed form that the band were never happy with, and a form that they only played half of live previously. Here, it's reworked and sounds what Jesus Jones would be like, if they did do anything new : it's been well over a decade since their last release. As “Blissed” fades to nothingness, the supermegaextended carcrash mix of everything-and-the-kitchen-sink that is “Bring It On Down” is born slowly, and the band veer into a succinct greatest hits set. Jesus Jones are a smarter, and better band than history remembers, unable to see beyond the neon socks we all wore at the time, pretending that we were all cool and hip and seeing Tad at the Astoria, which we certainly weren't.


INDIE DAZE : Neds Atomic Dustbin, Jesus Jones, Graham Crabb (PWEI), Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls, Power Of Dreams : London Forum 13 September 2014


Trust Me
Who Where Why
I'm Burning
Right Here Right Now
Nothing To Hold Me
Real Real Real
Are You Satisfied?
Welcome Back Victoria
Two & Two
Bring It On Down
Zeroes & Ones
Move Mountains
Idiot Stare
Info Freako

– Next up is a short DJ set and PA from Graham Crabb, the main behemoth behind PWEI. The DJ set is somewhat shambolic and plagued by technical problems, but is quite contemporary, and the PA sees the live premiere of a rough mix of a song from the new album, the first live take of “Axe Of Men” in six years, and a ramshackle roll through old hit “RSVP.” It's intruiging, but really, having a band on stage would've been a fiercer sound.

Axe Of Men
No Kisser

INDIE DAZE : Neds Atomic Dustbin, Jesus Jones, Graham Crabb (PWEI), Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls, Power Of Dreams : London Forum 13 September 2014

With their third London show in three winters, Neds Atomic Dustbin, who are still unfortunately named, offer a set where, like most of the rest of the day, no song is under twenty years old. The songs are, by and large intimate snapshots into life, lyrically astute, musically far richer than both the bands earlier stuff and their reputation, as Caitlin Moran cruelly had it, as floppy fringed short wearing ciderswilling cunts ; for which she has apologised, even though it practically put 5 men out of jobs. The night has sold a lot of tickets, but with a noon to midnight running time, there's no moment where the room is 'full' but more a steady flow of comings and goings. Neds draw the biggest crowd, and thankfully play to their strengths, with most of their fair-to-middling Top 40 hits of yesteryear frontloaded and at the end, with a short set at just 65 minutes, and the opening 20 minutes, and closing 20 minutes comprise (largely) the highpoint of their career. There's also welcome appearances for “Traffic” and “Stuck” from the much maligned album-out-of-time “Brain Blood Volume”. Sadly this album came out in the USA several months before the UK, pretty much leading a challenging album in difficult times to be commercially stillborn. The Neds play their last show for a self-confessed 'considerable time', to 1,000 or so rather keen punters, and to all intents and purposes, it is 1992 again : the band near enough look the same aside from the haircuts, and no song less than 20 years old is aired. They play with as much passion and flair as they ever did.

But, for all the joy there is, this is an Indie Time Machine, and time goes one way : I have a hankering for something new, something challenging, something that reflects the here and now, what it is like to grow old in this day and age, this world, this century. In the world run by people born after this and people born to rule who treat as mere cogs in a machine, with our sole purpose to buy things. What is It like to be here now? And why do bands from 5 years later sell out stadiums – Oasis, Blur, Pulp – and bands from 5 years earlier don't? Time is cruel and sometimes, we all need to remember who we are, where we are, and why we feel this way.

INDIE DAZE : Neds Atomic Dustbin, Jesus Jones, Graham Crabb (PWEI), Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls, Power Of Dreams : London Forum 13 September 2014


: Suave & Suffocated
Not Sleeping Around
Until You Find Out
Walking Through Syrup
Less Than Useful
You Don't Want To Do That
Leg End In His Own Boots
Cut Up
Throwing Things
Grey Cell Green

INDIE DAZE : Neds Atomic Dustbin, Jesus Jones, Graham Crabb (PWEI), Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls, Power Of Dreams : London Forum 13 September 2014

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