Wednesday, 21 July 2010

423 and 424, GIGOLO AUNTS, Peacemaker, Orlando, Profumo, London Kings Cross Water Rats, Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 October 1999

An unprecedented hat-trick for new venue (for me) The Water Rats, and 3 gigs in a row by Boston bands! This time it's a 2-night stand in the company of my personal favourites, the returning Gigolo Aunts!

Monday necessitated an afternoon off work, as we'd heard unsubstantiated "sold out" rumours, and Aunts bassist Steve Hurley hadn't replied to my frantic e-mails requesting guest list slots, so Clive picked Rachel and myself up early and we hit The Rats at 4, finding it locked and deserted, with even support band Peacemaker stood outside scratching their heads. So we repaired to the Lucas Arms across the road for drinks and a few rounds of pool with a chatty but incomprehensible Nigerian student called Malik. Wandered back about 6 to find 3/4 of the Aunts had arrived and were waiting outside for their gear; a familiar scenario! Chewed the cud awhile with the boys, finding out vocalist Dave Gibbs had been suffering with his throat and was at the docs! We sorted guest-list spots, thanks to Steve, before disappearing for KFC and more pub!

Into the relatively deserted venue (sell-out, my arse) at 9. Peacemaker came on and played an innocuous blend of pop and funk, which only Clive took notice of, really! Quick chats with the Aunts as they arrived and before they took the stage, including telling Dave not to damage his throat any more by replying to me!

The Aunts took the stage at 10 past 10, and Gibbs finally opened his mouth to introduce them with his usual sincerity, also asking the by-now more ample audience to, "take your sticks out of your asses and leave them at the door!" Ho-kay then... no problems for us on that score, though, as we immediately rocked out from the opening bars of "C'mon C'mon". The Aunts were cooking with gas indeed tonight; dispensing with millstone number "Where I Find My Heaven" second in, their set was punchier and much more confident than the recent Garage set. Practice makes perfect, they say, and the guys have been on the road awhile now with these new, mellower songs from current CD "Minor Chords And Major Themes", so this was to be expected. "Everything Is Wrong" was a shimmering masterpiece again, a bouncy "Serious Drugs" happy and sing-along, and the encore "Cope" an impressive trip down memory lane! A great set, as ever, with handshakes and congrats afterwards. We shot off home quickly after, however, as we needed to save something for tomorrow!

Having secured guest-list status for the next night's show, Rachel and I didn't bother setting off until after 5, hitting the Rats at 8. We watched the venue fill up whilst listening to supports Profumo (a spiky girl-led band with good bouncy tunes) and Orlando (an atrocious waste of time) from our vantage point at the bar. A much busier night tonight, with punters including 2 ex-Kenickie chicks, plus Miles, Malc and Fiddly Bell from the Aunts' former tour companions The Wonderstuff! Chatted to "Romulans", Aunts drummer and guitarist Fred and John, plus gregarious Aunts tour manager Ryan, as they arrived, before taking front centre stage again for their set.

T'was evident from the first number that The Aunts were much more "up for it" tonight; a slightly modified set brimmed full of their usual trademarks of harmony, melody, charm and humour, but also possessing power and resonance, and projecting much more dynamically tonight, and for once Rachel and I weren't the only ones dancing! "The Big Lie" was a punchy early highlight, and a surprise "Bloom", introduced by Dave as, "for those of you who remember grunge!" was messy but totally exhilarating. The place was roasting tonight, Dave even commenting from onstage that this gig was hotter than any from their recent Spanish tour, but that didn't stop us - and them - rocking out. Encores of a wild "Ask" and "Serious Drugs" topped the best show of the 2; in fact the best performance I've seen from the new line-up.

Stuck around afterwards for some more Aunts chat, photos and mutual congrats. John, f'rinstance, stressed that we (dancing down the front and singing along both nights), "made the gigs," for him, but as far as I'm concerned their wonderfully joyous and deliciously harmonic music gives us no choice - we're compelled to dance! We finally dragged ourselves away, getting back at 2.30 am, late but well worth it. Thanks Gigolo Aunts for a couple of great sets - you guys rule!

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