16 November 2014

This Ain't A Hate Thing, It's A Love Thing

Lords - This Ain't A Hate Thing, It's A Love Thing

Early last week the band Lords put their entire back catalogue with the addition of loads of unreleased tracks and an entire live album up on Bandcamp. I started to compose this post on my birthday, and I'm not sure if this has caused me to get a bit nostalgic, but I it has compelled me to write about a particular gig of theirs that I attended.

2004 and 2005 was a pretty weird time for me. Like a lot of people of my generation and younger I graduated from university and stumbled in to some sort of vacuum where I didn't really know what I wanted to do with myself. Up to that point my life had been dictated by education, moving from one school to the other and then eventually to university without much of a plan for when I would do when it would end. Then in June 2004 it did end. I was now expected to think and fend for myself. What school and university don't prepare you for is the overwhelming sense of despair and misery that you will experience upon graduating.

I returned to Nottingham and moved three times between July 2004 and March 2005, and with the nagging emptiness I was feeling since finishing uni, it was a pretty strange time of my life. I was feeling anchorless and not really knowing what I wanted to do with myself. It was a period of transition and I was in a state of flux, neither here nor there.

My first priority was getting some money. So I did a series of temp jobs within various Nottingham City Council departments where I soon realised the much of the council is run by people who don't really know what they are doing and I was able to piss away most of the day posting on a Smashing Pumpkins forum and doing crosswords in the paper.

It was during one of these temp positions where I became friends with someone in the department I was working in. I can't remember how we first got talking, but I used to buy the NME every Wednesday and bring it in to the office, so we probably got talking about music over that. It transpired that we were in to a lot of the same things, and him being a bit older than me, he would also recommend bands and albums to me and was even able to score me a discount at Selectadisc. 

Nick was the drummer in a band he was in with his brother Andy called Clambake. I eventually started going to see Clambake play around Nottingham. Some of the nights got very drunk, but I remember watching them at various venues including Junktion 7, supporting Bob Logg III at The Bodega (then still The Social) and playing Drop In The Ocean in Rock City basement. It was my first introduction to a particular music scene in Nottingham, an underground DIY movement, and this was at the time where the indie-rock and garage-rock scenes briefly overlapped.

I soon left the department where Nick worked but we still stayed in touch and would meet up from time to time. He then invited me to a gig that even though I didn't know it at the time looking back would have a big impact on my life. It was one of those nights where things happened unexpectedly that would go on to affect my life much later on. A foreshadowing of some sort perhaps might be the best way to describe it. 

He invited me along to a gig that some of his friends were putting on. It was in an old Scout Hut / Community Centre in Sneinton and Nick also knew the guys in one of the bands that was playing that night called Lords. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists were also playing along with a third band who I couldn't for the life of me remember until I took a look on the internet. Turns out it was Red Monkey. 

Ted Leo, Red Monkey, Lords Poster
Poster by @Sumlin
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Red Monkey
Date: Saturday 5 March 2005
Venue: Green's Mill School Hall, Sneinton, Nottingham

I don't really remember that much about the bands if I'm honest. Lords were loud and I seem to recall the bands playing on a stage that had a white sheet hanging as a backdrop. There may or may not have been projections on that sheet. 

This was probably the first gig that I attended that truly exposed me to Nottingham's underground and DIY music scene. It made me realise that there was some sort of scene going on in Nottingham. And there were many people in the that night who would somehow indirectly or directly have some sort of presence and influence on my life, even if at the time I did not know it.

The show was put on by the Damn You! collective who seemed to deal in putting on interesting American indie rock acts and teaming them up with British bands of a similar spirit. Even for me as an outsider it was obvious that this was all motivated by the love of the music and making sure that everyone, both bands and audience, had the best experience possible. After this night if I wanted to go to a gig I would take a look at what Damn You! were organising and try and go along. I was exposed to numerous bands and nights including the legendary Annual Damn You Christmas Covers gigs where local bands would drunkenly wrestle songs by much more famous bands all for charity. It opened a door to a world that both appealed to me and that I felt connected to, I was amongst kindred spirits. I think I made my first foray in to writing gig reviews for LeftLion covering a few of these shows for the website. It definitely broadened my knowledge of what was going on in the local music scene.

At this gig I was introduced to a guy who I thought was going for an early 90s Neil Young look - big sideburns, kind of curtainy hair and plaid shirts. His name was Anton. I would eventually learn that Anton was something of a shit-hot promoter both with his own nights, that I think he was still doing at the time, and with local promotion company and venue owners DHP.

There was a table to the back of the room selling LPs and CDs. Nick showed be his band's album that was for sale that night called Gator In the Pool. It was on a label called Gringo Records. Even though I didn't really know who Gringo Records was, my interest was piqued, and like with Damn You! shows, Gringo Records became known to me as a signifier of music of a particular persuasion. I would check out Gringo Records bands and started to notice that many of them would play Damn You! nights and that this scene was interlinked, related and overlapping.

I went to an afterparty that night and stuck on how to get home one of the guitarists from Lords called Chris let me sleep on his sofa. As time went on and I attended more gigs, got involved with LeftLion, our paths would cross and we became more pally until the point where the other week he was helping me collect a sofa for my new house. There were probably a handful of other people in the room that night who I didn't know then, but now I know in some way. 

This post has been written over a few days and I'm probably not doing the best to explain how important that night was. But it was. Essentially in that room that night were a bunch of people that I would eventually become friends with and who helped influence (whether directly or indirectly) particular life decisions of mine. For one thing I do not think that I would have gotten involved with LeftLion if it wasn't for going along to that show. It's telling that my first piece of writing for LeftLion was only one month later, Quasi at the Rescue Rooms. Another odd coincidence is that the support band that night for Quasi was fronted by the host of the house party I went to after the gig at Green's Mill.   

I'm not really sure what the whole point of this post is except to document this particular moment in my life and to say that it's probably the gigs that you aren't expecting that turn out to be life-changing in some small way the way this show was. Going to watch Lords in a scout hut in Sneinton did change my life. 

Listen to Lords on Bandcamp
Lords Facebook page

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