Tuesday, 8 December 2009

710 SEAFOOD, Fighting With Wire, Swindon Brunel Amphitheatre, Friday 29 September 2006

An object lesson in delivering glorious triumph from the jaws of defeat, from the revitalised Seafood! We were utterly astonished to read on their website that Seafood were playing the Brunel Rooms in Swindon, scene of a couple of my early 80's gigs but a disco warehouse since then. Nevertheless, this was billed as an "Indie Disco" so we went along, arriving at 10 to find the place deserted and the Amphi not even open yet!

When it finally opened, we found a potential carcrash - a horrendous little room, a totally emasculated version of the amphitheatre of my early 80's clubbing education, filled with vacuous discoers and pounding out ear-splittingly horrible drum'n'bass. What are we doing here?

"I have no idea what we're doing here!" was the first thing Seafood vocalist David Line said to us when we ran into him. We could only apologise on behalf of our town. A displaced band, an ugly horrendous venue with inappropriate clientele and music, a late night before an early (Evan visit) Saturday a.m., the frighteningly very real prospect of Rachel and I being the only people here taking notice of the band... how bad could this one go?

Never were we so glad to see a support band, even if they, a young Derry 3-piece, were formulaic and clumsy post-grunge with about one good number. At least they were rock, not this vomit-inducingly loud drum'n'bass dirge! So we lapped them up, then ran for cover to the quiet bar while 'da Food prepared to play. The place was about a third full by the time Seafood readied to start their set at 20 to 12, David (also driving and therefore sober!) needing to scream abuse at the brain dead DJ to get him to turn the crap off!

"Hello Swindon," introduced David, a line I thought I'd never hear him say, and never imagined so under these circumstances. "This has got to be the weirdest gig we've ever played!" So the scene was set for some serious reaction, and my word, we got it... Seafood are the indie-rock "clutch" hitters par excellence, delivering big-time in the face of extreme adversity. This, our 22nd Seafood performance, turned out to be an exemplary demonstration of this art. From the outset they were white-hot, scarily committed, the set bristling with ire, venom and righteous fury and indignation. Initially based on best-yet CD "Paper Crown King", this set saw Rach and I rocking out for all we were worth to some awesome jagged punk noise. "Disappear", their best new number, all Sturm und Drang, "Signal Sparks", the potential 2006 number 1 single, all epic sweep and soaring crescendos, oldie "Guntrip" more violent, acidic and amphetamine fast than ever...

"We're just going to carry on playing, you've paid your money after all!" argued David as they ran over time. A never-more-appropriate "Folksong Crisis" finally climaxed the set, the squalling mid-section showing all the true meaning of visceral noise thrill, and the hook "I hope the wretched town will fall" a strident truism, culminating in a pent-up David raging and collapsing to the floor, exorcised and spent. And that was how we all felt. Those of us paying attention, at least.

We had to clear off, so had time only for quick thanks, assuring David that this type of performance was exactly why we love Seafood so damn much. Possibly the best we'd seen them and possibly the best set of 2006; tonight Seafood faced extreme adversity, indifference and scorn, and scored an amazing and glorious victory!

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