Friday, 4 September 2009

Blog Transfer Post 3

Friday, 4 September 2009
Friday 7th November, 2008: Rolo Tomassi - Bad, bad, bad music

I went to see Blood Red Shoes on 20th October 2008... what follows started to be a review of the whole show, but I'll post again later with the Blood Red Shoes portion of it. I couldn't resist (actually, I felt it more of a vocational duty) to tell you all about their crap opening band -- Rolo Tamassi. So -- here you go:

I’ve been waiting to see Blood Red Shoes for ages and ages… and after getting the tickets waaaaaay in advance and waiting ages and ages for 20th October to roll around, my body decides to go down with the flu that day.

But come hell or high water (or should that read annoying persistent chesty coughing and bottles of NyQuill/Night Nurse) I went to the show with my friend Ian from work. Good thing it was loud; I could cough and not really be heard.

It was at Carling Academy 2; the little tiny room above the regular Carling Academy in Newcastle – nice and intimate, very loud and just the right size to see a small band with a couple hundred other people. On our way in, the doorman looked at our tickets and said, ‘”Once the gig starts, there’s no re-entry, just so you know – once you’re in, you’re in to stay.”So… what did I think? 1984 were a band from France (enough said) which were okay but didn’t really grab me. The only thing that I thought wasn’t mediocre was this cool light/shadow thing that they had behind them for effects.

Not realising there were two support acts, I was a bit surprised when the roadies started setting up the stage for another band… I was feeling so crap I was just desperate to go home to my bed! So I was already bitter about having to stand there… little did I know, my day was about to get a whole lot worse.Enter Rolo Tamassi. I don’t know if I’m spelling that right, nor do I care. Let me start of with a blanket statement: I have never, not once throughout the duration of my lengthy, distinguished career as an enthusiastic concert-goer – heard a band as BAD as this. It wasn't music, it was just noise. Barfing, bad noise.

Now -- let me clarify -- I am not ignorant of the possibility that I may have reached this conclusion because I am old and set in my ways, and though no one could dispute that I am a bone fide down-to-the-marrow music fan, there are things I like, and things I don’t like. For instance… I do have a bit of a tendency toward closed-mindedness when it comes to new music. A band has to have that ‘certain something’ for me to really take notice and listen, and even more to buy it. Because I inevitably and always compare them to something else from the past… I’m sure there are a lot of you who would agree there are a lot of signed acts out there that are just regurgitating something that’s already been done.

Interesting segueway – regurgitation. Because I’m certain that’s what the lead singer of Rolo Tamassi was trying to do throughout the entire duration of her ‘performance’. I’m not joking, or being sarcastic in any way, when I say that her ‘singing’ consisted solely (and exclusively!) of her trying to be sick into a heavily-effected microphone. I couldn’t understand any of the lyrics, so I can’t comment on her level of, say, sharpened perception on world events, her depth of angst as a wronged teenager in love, etc. To me, it sounded like she was repeatedly shouting, “FOIE GRAS! FOIE GRAS!” occasionally punctuated by the f-word, and varied only by elongation of syllable, or repetition of words as follows:

Variation 1: FOIE GRAS! FOIE GRAS! F********************K FOIE GRAS!



For those of you who don’t know, fois gras is the enlarged liver of a force-fed goose, originating from the Dordogne region of France. I guess this chick just really hates French cuisine, she sure was angry about it.

As for the rest of the musicians… there were 4 other kids on the stage with the girl – a drummer, a guitarist, a bass guitarist and a computer nerd guy, who also provided some vocals. But they were the musical equivalent of a 300-car pile up on an 8-lane motorway (and I don’t mean that to be complimentary!!). They were all, undoubtedly, proficient at their chosen instruments… but it was like they were all having a contest to see who could play the loudest, fastest, weirdest with no respect or second thought for the poor suckers forced to listen to the results -- locked in ‘poor suckers’ I hasten to add! Now I know why we were warned we shouldn’t leave! They wanted to trap us in!! Torture.

Excessive, excessive time signature changes… brain batteringly frustrating lack of respect for anything resembling melody, weird sound effects – imagine Ross on Friends, when he was playing keyboard.

Imagine Ross on Friends, on crack, multiplied by a thousand, in Dante’s 9th circle of Hell and you wouldn’t even come close. Again – I don’t mean this as a compliment, Rolo Tamassi!

It was like the guitarist was saying, “Hey – what key are you playing in?” to the bass player, and he replies, “I have no idea! What about you?” and the keyboard guy chips in, “I can mash the keys all down with all my fingers like THIS really fast!!!!!” while the drummer goes, “Synco-pa badadadadadadadadadadadadad TIME CHANGE #85….AND GO!!”

It was a freakin' nightmare. Honestly. I’ve been more aurally satisfied watching New Kids On the Block – and that means something.

Finally it ended. The last “chord”’ struck (intentional inverted commas there… I couldn’t be sure if it could technically be so called) and I was almost relieved when the resident DJ played a Hole track while the roadies tore the gear down. (Not a big Courtney Love fan either – Hole were better when Kurt Cobain was writing their songs). I almost went out to the lobby to buy one of Rolo Tamassi’s CD’s, just so I could smash it up and rest in the knowledge that there would be one less of them out there in the world. Totally mismatched genre for the kind of gig I was expecting to go to. Had I not been so desperate to see Blood Red Shoes I would have left, such was the painfulness I had to endure. Ugh. I feel nauseous just thinking about it.

I urge you to look at You Tube… see if you can find them and tell me – is she, or is she not, shouting FOIE GRAS repeatedly? I challenge you, reader, to prove me wrong.

I am unreservedly unapologetic to any of my friends who happen to like this band -- I know there may be a couple -- but man, they sucked. Don't go and see them -- you'll never get that time of your life back again. You could be filling in your tax return instead! Getting a root canal! Ripping off your own toenails with a rusty pair of needle-nose pliers! ALL of these things IMMEASUREABLY prefereable to going to see this band.

Anyway – all of this crapness should not overshadow how effing BRILLIANT Blood Red Shoes were… I was in heaven, it was absolutely fantastic from start to finish. I was really glad I went, and I took loads of pictures and video to remember the show by. But I don’t think it’s necessarily fair on Blood Red Shoes to take up what was meant to be a review of their show when I’ve ranted and raved about how shit their support act was, so I will do a new note, give them proper justice. Watch this space.

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