Live at Carpe Diem on Saturday, 14th August 2004
Carpe on a Saturday night: I'm a fan of the stone floor and the wood surround, so, of course, once I'm ensconced at the bar with a glass of orange juice and a curly straw I'm happy enough. Lots of adorably kitsch bob-headed girls with round-toed shoes and scruffy boys with nice trainers and practical shoulder bags - I'm slightly jostled by the Smirnoff Ice crew who, no doubt, came for the alcohol, but whatever; in vino veritas, in medias res, Panem et circenses...
Dungeon Dungeon look cool. Really. I liked The Tennessee Traincrash for their alternate take on line up (I'm also thinking Baby Food and That Fucking Tank etc) and I like this lot even more. Two drummers, both clad in red t-shirts, and two guitarists, an SG (plus bizarre Larry Blackmon meets Picasso appendage) and, to my (personal) amusement, a Telecaster - however, if this is country music it's from one not covered by Rough Guide; a complicated realm where the nights are no doubt a little longer, and the food is really rather tasty.
Adjectives? Well; jagged, atonal, asymmetrical, serrated, supple, spiky, harmonic, warm, anticipating and wiry spring to mind, as, of course, do united, loud, competent, humorous and quasi-autonomous. And that's the guitars. The drums veer from stereophonic, (lets reclaim that one), Wipeout style surf-rock, to military snare-driven beats that wouldn't be out of place at a God Speed You gig, to the frankly bizarre. Lots of start/stops and, oh, (checks pulse), one-forty going on one-fifty BPM. This is also good. I wouldn't particularly want to make love to it, (unless you asked nicely - and I'm sure you would,) but I reckon it's a format practical enough for progressive, active and respectable fore-play. Barry White is gone, after all, and the big guy left quite a void behind him ...
Verbs? Yes. Lots. Including drumming, guitaring and fusing, forging, melding, slinting and F-minor-flat-ninth-plus-seven-suspended-fouring, (which, it is hereby declared, will henceforth be recognised as a veritable 'doing word' of much prestige and honour). Other associated verbs probably include head-nodding, beaming, throbbing and pulsing. Not much Bonhaming, but someone else can have that one. No point being unnecessarily greedy.
No introductions, merely slight, polite, pauses for breathe. I couldn't really tell you if there were four, five or six songs. Maybe just the one. More riffs than William Burroughs in a Swiss Army Scissors Shop, loaded on Red Bull, looking for the photocopier.
A review is not about me but, hey, I wrote it and you didn't - so sue me; I did laugh/smirk/imagine the whisper of a grin/find it poignant when, later, collating my notes, I found that they were written on the back of a ticket for a Gwyneth Herbert gig earlier this week. Well there's nothing to report there kids. Herbert (the big P.I.M.P. that she is) like a few sacred others, has joined the exclusive club of twenty-something jazzers signed to Sony (or whichever outfit are fronting this week) for ridiculous advances (that still amount to less than a flat in Notting Hill, or a very wee segment of a chart video); a select few that, like the evil goblin that is the Radiohead butchering Jamie Gollum, play pretender torch songs to four-by-four owners (who are simply too busy to explore accessible nightlife) with the ready cash to pay a tenner-plus a ticket for an airless gig and the nerve/affront/stupidity/God-given-right-as-fellow-human-beings to consume a slick saccharine album a year (to play in the Four-by-four en route to jobs as media-salespeople or office managers etc, etc.)
However I assure you that Jazz, my friends, is not dead. Or if it is (Saint) Milla Jovovich has decided to let it walk amongst us for a little while yet. Praise be indeed. Catch it while you can.
Draw your own conclusions - preferably with a chunky crayon. Dungeon Dungeon are now on my ever-growing list of favourite Leeds bands, admittedly behind the god (with a small 'g' (not Slick)) - like Polaris. Of course, I no doubt need to spend less time with the Herberts and more in the bars, but whatever. Next week (okay, later on tonight), I will fall in love again, but for today I will try to rationalise the unmemorable by conjugating the unspeakable - obscurum per obscurius and, when all else fails, recall the memory of the table sat next to us who, as the band left the stage, noted that:
"If they had a bass-player and singer they'd be fantastic"
You can lead a horse to water, but those buggers are seemingly very, very hard to drown. Lock 'em up. Throw away the key! But then let them out again, like, really quickly, with the sound of asymmetrical skins and discordant strings F-minor-flat-ninth-plus-seven-suspended-four-ing away in medium close-up. Oh! the very thought of it!
You really couldn't make this stuff up. I, however, can. And often do.