There are a bunch of free gigs in London. Each week, I try and go to three.
The rating system is simple, how many beers did I buy (drink)? The more, the better.
Trump must be quaking, and fists a shakin’, because funk’s totally where it’s at man.
The Deep & Human Music at the Shacklewell Arms
Wednesday, 19 June 2019
Last night the Shacklewell was rammed. The busiest I’ve seen it on a Wednesday in years. And who was filling the space, smoking atop the astroturf where they shouldn’t? A whole lot of strange looking people.
In pursuit of objectivity, artistic freedom and focus, I’d ventured to this gig alone, with only three rollie’s worth of tobacco in my denim jacket. In hindsight, I should have brought more.
This Wednesday, out of four performances, I only saw two. So unfortunately, there’s no review of GFE or Dominic McGuiness, but I can assure you that if they were anything like the two bands I did see, I didn’t miss much.
Third, or first up, Human Music. The first thing that strikes is the name.
I think their name was a reference to a cartoon. Probably Futurama, with it’s zany wit and relatable characters. Human Music’s probably something Dr Zoidberg invented to get his Earth Citizenship, involving bagpipes or a dreidel.
I mean, I could totally accept bagpipes and dreidels were the inspiration for Human Music (the band). They were completely brimming with tomfoolery. Dressed like clowns, their front man lumbered around the stage, let the audience know how much he hates Donald Trump and whoever the Prime Minister is. The music was akin to Irish folk in a cemetery, with demented, but relatable organ (synth) parts, that inspire images of the circus.
As music that I assume was inspired by 7 billion people, it was pretty damn uninspired.
But the crowd seemed to like it.
That’s how, despite a bearded fat man trying to cut the set at time (10:15-ish), the crowd just screamed for more. And they got what they wanted.
Which says a lot. Beware, when a room full of people stops respecting the borough’s strict, but fair, permitted noise levels on residential streets, and potentially cuts the main band’s set short as a result, we should all be worried about how torn the fabric of our society really is.
Maybe that was the point.
Anyway, they finished playing after another three songs.
Then I was left with the relief of the intermission. And what better way to spend it than sitting alone, replying to my many fan emails.
I was interrupted by a pale Australian girl. She has the gall to ask me for a fag. I still feel bad about the colonies, so I offered her what dregs of tobacco I had left, and lashings of opportunity to immediately exit after amply fingering my filters. But she kept talking.
Apparently she knew the band, thought I’d think they were great, really loved wearing fur coats in the summer and was too ill to go to work that day, but cigarettes and gin had sustained her for the gig.
She then asked if I was Australian, and then kept trying to figure out what my name was.
A bit of a dicey situation, I know.
That’s when I noticed everyone was in the bathroom. Twos and threes. And then she let me know, damn, the Deep were a funk band.
And as everyone knows, funk band fans are like hippies. Completely insufferable.
I had to escape.
So I suggested that the band were starting and we really didn’t want to miss the show. I let her walk ahead of me, re-enter the gig space, and then I slunk away to the bar at the front; unseen.
After waiting a while at the bar, I went back in to see the band. I didn’t have much choice, I hadn’t come to the Shacklewell Arms to not review the headliners.
And that’s how I got to the Deep.
Oh the Deep.
So Deep, so deeply cliched.
There was a trombone.
There was a guitar.
There were dual vocals.
There were sing alongs.
The crowd jumped up, got antsy, and it seemed like the people in front of me wanted to start a fight with something. Maybe their libidos.
The songs were punctuated by horns, the bass wobbled and everyone sang about being in love.
Then, as always happens at the shows of touring funk bands, the crowd secreted a rogue saxophonist, who clambered onto the stage to great applause, donned some pretty ridiculous sunglasses, because you know, he wakes and bakes, and then wailed and wailed and wailed.
I left after four songs.
It confirmed to me again, that there’s nothing worse than funk, unless like, you studied music man.