Monday, October 23, 2006Long time no blog
I've not felt like writing in this for a while due to camera issues. It's strange how a small piece of technology can be so important. I had bought a 512mb card for it after the 128mb stopped working - I had a lovely weekend with Elizabeth who came to London when the Knife/PlanningToRock circus came rolling into town, she organised a photopass for the event, we walked along the Thames, bought delicious food at Borough market and drank cheap red wine up Primrose Hill. The said 512mb memory card also stopped working and I lost all the pictures from it. And I forgot to bring a working 16mb card to The Long Blondes' triumphant, biggest-ever-headlining-show at the Mean Fiddler...at which, some horrible little boy pissed on me, literally.
I will now draw a line under this period and carry on as before.
I'd been so excited about the Knife's gig since I first saw it listed on seetickets. The thing with the Knife is that they hardly ever play live, they hardly give interviews, there are very few pictures of them available. When their second album, Deep Cuts became a word-of-mouth success, they upped the stakes with its follow up, Silent Shout, less accessable, darker and more dramatic than its predecessor. (Un?)fortunately for the Knife, they can't seem to suppress public opinion and played a sold-out show at the Kentish Town Forum on Saturday 14th October. They took The fantastic PlanningToRock with them. PTR opened the show, dressed in her trademark dapper whites, top hat and all. The crowd lapped up her up - if there's any crowd likely to get the genius of PTR, it's the Knife crowd. PTR's audio-visual experience was superb, with new videos for some of the songs. Her recent tour with Peaches had proven an influence on her hammed-up performance, more daring and affecting than ever before. She has also just released an EP featuring classically arranged versions of some of her songs, titled Have It All Stringed Up and is available from the merch booth or from Itunes.
The Knife were incredible. They kept the capacity crowd waiting for ages before they came on stage, dressed in black and wearing masks. A huge screen separated the two-piece from the crowd, while videos and visual effects were projected on to it as well as one at the back of the stage, creating a very haunting space. The sound was wonderful and all-consuming - the bass was literally shaking the foundations of the old theatre and felt as brutal and awesome as the Knife's music. My only complaint for the whole evening was that the house lights were not dimmed enough to really be as effective as it could be at creating the alienation that the Knife's music does. Everything else was perfect - they didn't speak at all to the crowd, not a single thank you, no banter about the tour or "this is our next single", utterly anonymous. The stage was littered with spooky props, an exaggerated caricature of a circus man grinding an organ, a rabbit (possibly representing Frau Rabid??) hung from a noose high in the wings of the stage, other spooky looking figures...shadows everywhere. It was simply awesome.
It seemed, at points, that the crowd was unsure how to react to this unconventional show. Indeed, many punters may have been at the Peaches show in the same venue the previous night, and despite reports of her dancing crazy at the Knife's aftershow, the nights couldn't have been any more different. When people are so used to whooping and cheering for everything a performer does, it's hard to know what to do when the performer doesn't perform at all - what do you react to? The music? The light show? Nothing? Naturally their chilled-out version of Heartbeats got a rapturous applause when people realised what it was but opinion was clearly divided as to whether to stay silent and let the show be one entire piece, or to perceive it as a twelve song set with shrieks bookending each song.
The Knife are playing a handful of US dates at the beginning of November (with PTR again!) and who knows when after that. If you live in LA, NY or San Fransisco, you should not pass this opportunity.
In low-brow news, Gwen Stefani's new single debuted on radio yesterday. It's called Wind It Up and samples the Sound of Music. It's completely bizarre and unexpected. Could this be the end of Gwen's credibility? Download it from Everythingintime.com.