Monday, 26 July 2010

413 THE GRAVY, Federal Twist, Pistola, TT The Bear's Place, Cambridge, MA USA, Thursday 5 August 1999

A day spent shopping for CDs up Massachusetts Avenue, with none other than Jed Parish of The Gravel Pit as my guide! A tremendously enjoyable and humbling experience at the same time. I then chill out before heading off at 8.30 to TT The Bear’s Place, just off Mass Ave, for the Gravy show. Have to go back to Ed’s for my passport, having been “carded” on the door (I’m 34, for fucks sake, and I’m not even drinking!!), so finally get into the small venue at 9.

Meet Michael from the Gravy and chat endlessly during the first band Red Planet, who peddle a standard rock fare despite the vocalist’s cool leather trousers. Michael introduces me to the hyper energetic Todd Spahr, Gravy vocalist and former Cavedog. We check out the second band, Pistola, who are much better, an odd looking 3 piece with good tunes and a dual vocal attack reminiscent of the Jam. Federal Twist, 3rd on, looked quite eclectic, with a large black bass player wearing a zoot suit, suggesting an element of swing or even ska in their music. However they played a disappointing sub-US rock radio mishmash, with slight plodding Radiohead overtones.

I bump into Ed at the bar. Ed is staying at Carrie’s again tonight, as she’s going to be out of town for the next few days. However, I’m down the front for The Gravy, on at 11.45. They rock a lot harder than their quirky but slightly muddy pop CD suggests, with Todd in particular a very dynamic and energetic frontman, reminding me of early Julian Cope. The punchier sound is no doubt aided by guesting drummer Tom Polce, formerly a Cleo and now a Senor Happy, who bangs a mean drum and contributes to the more hard rocking show. A superb set, despite my unfamiliarity with their new material, with oldie “Memory” my best memory of it!

Converse with Tom Polce outside the venue after the show – an entertainingly odd conversation in which Tom replies “awesome” to pretty much everything I say! – then risk the spooky walk through Norfolk Street which despite my slight trepidation is actually no problem. Hit the hay just about 2 a.m. after a quick chat with Toirm the sub-letter, who is getting his stomach checked tomorrow and has been on Peach Juice all day.

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