Tag Archives: dischord

Not so dead and now operational, is there anyone left?

Well, would you believe?, the rumours were true.

This week 2 bands have announced their much anticipated returns, At the drive-in and Refused are both back and will both be playing this years Coachella Festival, California in April.

Both bands had been rumoured to reform in some capacity for a long time, mainly because people were so desperate for them to. There has been a big trend for bands to reform over the last few years, all with varying levels success, you could say that it’s been done to death but if you asked anyone with an interest in post hardcore what band would you still love to see come back you could bet good money on them saying either of these bands. In many people’s eyes, At the drive-in and Refused had both finished before their time and had left everyone wanting more.

‘Relationship of command’ broke At the drive-in big, but also broke them up. Just as soon as everyone knew who they were, they were no more. Refused, on the other hand, have been far more successful since they ended than they were when they were together, ‘The shape of punk to come’ is now the stuff of legend. It’s these reasons that people have been so keen for them to reform, When you fall in love with a band post their existence it’s hard to accept the fact that you weren’t there when it all happened. Getting them to reform and then getting to see them play isn’t the same as seeing them first time round, but it is the next best thing.

So will this signal the end of the trend for old bands to reform? We’ve tolerated it for some time and we’ve now got the ones we all wanted. Or will this trigger a whole new wave of comebacks? Are there anymore bands left to come back?

Here are five bands I would still love to see reform for my own selfish reasons:

5. Sleater-Kinney

The first time I saw Sleater-Kinney was in London in 1998. They were, of course, awesome but the gig was somewhat ruined by Jarvis Cocker! We watched from the balcony and he was stood next to us with, what can only be described as, a bunch of twats in suits, who all spent the gig talking as loudly as they could. The more he ignored the gig the more annoyed I got, the more the ‘suits’ emitted smug laughter the more furious I got. Of course, I did nothing about this, apart from the odd evil glare that I directed in their general area.

I saw them again a few years later, at Koko in Camden, just after they had released ‘The Woods’. They were incredibly loud, indescribably loud. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, they were completely on fire that night. I would so love to see them play again, Wild Flag and the Corin Tucker Band aren’t enough for me, they need to all be in the same band again.

4. Q and Not U

Q and Not U were a very special band. Equally as good when they were punking it up as when they were funking it out (if they are actual things). Every album was different, yet they always completely fitted with being on Dischord, they were constanly evolving and seeing the amount of different instruments they played when we saw them live was a joy. The music press seems to liken a lot of bands to Q and Not U these days, it would be so good for the originators to come back and show how it’s done.

3. Beezewax

Beezewax have got to be the quintessential indie emo pop band. Each album had songs on that could compete with any other songs ever written as some of the best slices of pop perfection that you could find. And they felt like our band. I don’t know how many times they ended up playing in Margate/Canterbury but it seemed so many they may as well have been a local band instead of from Norway. Everyone in our scene had a soft spot for them. I don’t know what happened to Beezewax in the end but would love them to come visit us again. One listen to ‘The snooze is on’ or ‘Dead end kids’ and I could be instantly in a good mood that will last for the rest of the day.

2. Smart Went Crazy

Does anyone else still listen or ever listen to Smart Went Crazy? Their 2nd album, ‘Con Art’, was one of the albums that I listened to most when I was at college in the late 90’s. It’s so interesting, they sounded like no other DC band, or like any other band for that matter. More experimental than your average post hardcore band they included lo-fi musical interludes in between songs and brilliant use of cello throughout the record. Can’t resist some good cello use. All of which was surrounded by brilliant song after brilliant song, the epic 2 part ‘DC will do that to you’ sounds just as good today as it ever did. They showed so much promise but broke up not long after the release of ‘Con art’, the Dischord site states “internal disintegration’ as the reason. A damn shame.

1. Mineral

Mineral, it has to be Mineral!!

This band, on top of any other, is the band I would absolutely love to reform. The ultimate emo band for any self confessed emo boy/girl. ‘End serenading’ is perfect, it’s faultless. It would be heaven to see them play live, I can just imagine standing there with a few hundred other 30 somethings, tears streaming down our faces, our arms out like a scarecrow singing in unison.

Mineral have achieved an almost myth like status. They are the actual stuff of legend. The penultimate song from their second album, ‘&serenading’ could well be my favourite song of all time. It certainly has the best ending of any song, EVER. When the 2nd chorus finishes and the build up starts with the layered vocals, singing about the “sound of the driving snow, that drives me home to you”, it sends chills down my spine. Breathtaking. They were a genre defining band. If they ever decide to give it another go I would cross heaven and earth to be there front row, centre.

Who would you like to see make an overdue comeback? Or is there any band that should definitely never reform?

Let me know, and as always: cheers guys x

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FUGAZI LIVE SERIES

Fugazi are back!!

Well, kind of. Thursday, the first of December 2011, saw the launch of the Fugazi live series website. Over the many years that Fugazi operated as a live, touring band, from 1987 to 2003, they documented their time by taping almost all of their shows. And these shows are now being made available to buy as a digital download via the Fugazi live series website.

It is a time consuming feat of hard work and persistence. Fugazi played over a thousand shows, all across the world, with their sound engineers recording over 800 of these. Obviously, when they started doing this the internet was a thing of the future. They have admitted that at first they had no clear idea as to why they were recording the shows, apart from for posterity. Ian Mackaye told the New York Times, “As with a lot of collections, once we had a couple hundred tapes, we just continued to amass them. Why stop? We’d already gotten this far.”

At the moment, 130 of the shows have been made available for download, with more being added each month. They are all of varying quality as none of the shows have been edited in any way, which is a perfect document of the shows they played. Fugazi were an amazing live band, but like all bands they had off nights. And these will be here for all to see alongside the nights that they blew everyone away.

Fugazi are the epitome of an independant band. They made their own rules and stuck religously to them. Each show they played were all ages, fairly priced and with no merchandise, They respected the audience and in turn asked the audience to respect each other. Anyone being an arsehole was always singled out by the band and held to account for their actions, often being told to get out. Fugazi built a worldwide community of like minded people, arseholes weren’t accepted.

I got to see Fugazi play twice in London. Although they had played much closer to home. One thing the live archeive has already taught me are that the rumours that they played in my hometown are completely true. On september the 20th, 1990, I was a 10 year old boy. That night Fugazi played literally 2 miles down the road from me in the Kings Hall, Herne Bay. At the time I was more of a Michael Jackson fan but even still, I wish I could of been there. Luckily, although not yet available, the show was recorded so at some point soon I will be able to hear their set and how the crowd reacted. They also played locally in Whitstable, which has been recorded, and twice in Canterbury but these shows were sadly not recorded.

The first time I saw them was one of the most memorable shows I ever attended. May 15th 1999, I saw them play the Stratford Rex in East London. The week before the show a bouncer was shot dead outside the venue and when we arrived there was a strong security presence, some of whom had ferocious guard dogs. I had never been so scared entering a venue but this kind of added to the anticipation of seeing one of my all time favourite bands. Shellac played before Fugazi and were incredible. Then Fugazi took to the stage, at first to set up their equipment and then to remove a security barrier that Ian Mackaye deemed inappropriate. They then proceeded to completely blow my mind. There was an atmosphere like no other show I’ve been to, it was completely electric, they were loud, powerful and tighter and together then you would expect. During the first song, a very tall gentleman who had been stood at the side of the stage decided to dive into the crowd. He stayed aloft long enough for Ian to reach over and rip his backstage pass from his top and return to the microphone to announce that he wasn’t welcome back. A huge cheer went up, sheer admiration rippled through the crowd, Fugazi were here for us and we loved it. Sadly, due to the fact that the show was delayed because they didn’t want to play until everyone had a chance to get into the venue, we had to leave early to get the last train home.

I did get to see them again 3 years later at the Forum in Kentish town. That night again was special but it had more of a party atmosphere to the show. Hannah, my wife, and I had been chatting outside to people who had come from all over Europe to be there. There seemed a feeling that this might be the last chance to see the band and the crowd lapped up the two encores they played. The set from this show is now available to download and it sounds incredible. It feels like being there a lot more than most live albums you hear.

Fugazi never had a set list, they had all of their back catalogue rehearsed because they could be playing any one of those songs on any given night. Listening to the show you can see how launch into some songs with someone taking the lead with a guitar riff or drumbeat that signals which song to play. Others are more of a mystery, ‘Stacks’ for example seems to come from nowhere. A count of 3 on Brendan Canty’s drum sticks, then a bang of the snare drum and they’re in, the song is tight, no dropped beat or hurried guitar. They were just that good.

Each show is valued at $5 although if you have a different price in mind you can let them know, or you can opt to pay once and have all the shows available to you as and when. As it states on the site, it remains a work in progress and they are welcoming and photos, flyers, info or corrections to help build the collection.
It is well worth a visit to the site. If you saw them then there is an obvious attraction to downloading the shows you attended but I think it’s worth looking at the others, especially to see how they evolved as a live band.

Click HERE to go to the Fugazi live series site

I am trying to find the photos I had of when they played at the Kentish town forum and will update the blog with them as soon as I find them.

Cheers x

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