keeping the sadness at bay

Joni Mitchell, People’s Parties, from: Court and Spark, 1974.

All the people at this party
They’ve got a lot of style
They’ve got stamps of many countries
They’ve got passport smiles
Some are friendly
Some are cutting
Some are watching it from the wings
Some are standing in the centre
Giving to get something

Photo beauty gets attention
Then her eye paint’s running down
She’s got a rose in her teeth
And a lampshade crown
One minute she’s so happy
Then she’s crying on someone’s knee
Saying laughing and crying
You know it’s the same release

I told you when I met you
I was crazy
Cry for us all beauty
Cry for Eddie in the corner
Thinking he’s nobody
And Jack behind his joker
And stone-cold Grace behind her fan
And me in my frightened silence
Thinking I don’t understand

I feel like I’m sleeping
Can you wake me
You seem to have a broader sensibility
I’m just living on nerves and feelings
With a weak and a lazy mind
And coming to peoples parties
Fumbling deaf dumb and blind

I wish I had more sense of humor
Keeping the sadness at bay
Throwing the lightness on these things
Laughing it all away
Laughing it alI away
Laughing it all away

© 1974 Joni Mitchell, Crazy Crow Music.

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The Ex

the ex tumult 1983

The Ex, Tumult, 1983

Some bands are beyond the usual spectrum. The Ex I consider to be one of these unique bands, the expression ‘hors categorie’ was made up for them. They defy any categorisation (that lazy habit of the music industry) and keep on moving towards unknown territory. And it isn’t nostalgia working here, please no. Without a doubt, there is no band which I saw so many times, under such totally different circumstances like The Ex. The first LP I bought was Hands Up! You’re Free! from 1988, which still sounds very good. UK radio legend John Peel knew where to look for genuine sounds.

Later on, I fell in love with the double lp Joggers and Smoggers (1989), which is a podcast avant la lettre, an audio summer walk through Amsterdam, at the end of the eighties. With amazing sound attacks, ranging from inspired poet Dorpsoudste de Jong, via impro legends Ab Baars and Wolter Wierbos, to Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore, all adding to the unique atmosphere of that album.

In 1991 they released the gorgeous album Scrabbling at the lock, with the late NYC celloplayer Tom Cora in an outstanding performance. Hidegen fujnak a szelek from that album even became somewhat of a dancefloor hit – well, at least in the seedy alternative places I used to dance my gothic dance back in the day.

The very same year (to be precise: june 29th, 1991) The Ex lured me into the old Bimhuis (at Oude Schans), for the very first time actually. That night I was all nerves, travelling all the way from Nuenen, Brabant to attend the first collaboration The Ex did with improv jazz musicians like Han Bennink, Ab Baars and Wolter Wierbos. The VHS of this wonderful night captures the spirit of that night quite nice. It is no exaggeration to put it like this: thanks to The Ex I discovered both The Bimhuis and the splendor of improv music.

There are many more vivid memories: The Ex performing with contemporary dance maestro Wim Vandekeybus’ dance troupe in Nijmegen’s classy De Vereeniging. The Ex curating a spectacular night in the old WORM (in Delfshaven, before they moved to innacity Rotterdam), with Ethiopian giants like saxophoneplayer Getatchew Mekurya and singer Mohammed ‘Jimmy’ Mohammed. The Ex performing with Alex D’Electrique in a gigantic former wharf. The Ex with Mekurya & Guests in The Melkweg. Last year they again surprised me in OCCII with all new material, abstract and glorious, enriched with Congolese sounds.

Again, The Ex cherrypicked an excellent line up of kindred musical spirits for this sunday in Amsterdam. From 19:00 hrs on, a festival in the Paradiso. With a.o. King Ayisoba from Ghana, Han Bennink, Oscar Jan Hoogland, Gummbah, Brader Musiki & Kaja Draksler Octet. Around 70 artists in one night..

Main Hall: MC Tijdelijke Toon / DJ Meda
19:30 – Drumband Hallelujah Makkum feat. ZEA & Kosten Koper
20:00 – Vincenzo Castellana
20:30 – Kaja Draksler Octet
21:15 – Zewditu Yohannes, Endris Hassen & Misale Legesse
22:00 – Brader Musiki
22:45 – The Ex
00:00 – KING AYISOBA

Upstairs: MC / DJ Richard James Foster
20:00 – Anne-James Chaton & Andy Moor
20:40 – Katherina Bornefeld & George Hadow
20:55 – Lena Hessels
21:15 – Terrie Hessels & Ken Vandermark
21:45 – Gummbah & Leonard Bedaux Cinema
22:25 – Kristoffer Alberts & Han Bennink
23:40 – Massicot

Basement:
21:00 – Oscar Jan Hoogland / Practical Music
21:45 – Diego Armando DJ
22:15 – H 0 W R A H
23:00 – Diego Armando DJ
00:15 – Bazooka
01:00 – DJ Meda

yung wu + speed the plough

yung_wu_mini.jpg

Shore Leave (Coyote Records 1987, Bar/None Records 2018)

Rediscoveries at home: The Feelies used to have all kinds of side projects and kindred spirits, like Yung Wu, The Trypes and Speed the Plough. Somehow I didn’t realize back in the day that Yung Wu basically is The Feelies a bit reshuffled, with their percussionist Dave Weckerman now taking center stage as singer. I just love those vintage Brenda Sauter basslines, wonderful acoustic & electric guitarblend and general dreamlike quality of songs like The Empty Pool. Be sure to check out Speed the Plough too. Reminiscin’ Bullit Records Eindhoven, where I used to discover these vinyl gems on friday afternoon right after school.

speed the plough

Speed the Plough (Coyote Records, 1989)

Brötzmann/Leigh + Bazooka (tip)

BROTZMANNLEIGHDUO

(pOSTER dESIGN BY ROGIER SMAL, rISO pRINTED BY SANDER, DE STENCILZOLDER)

Just came across a very promising double bill @ OCCII, september 5. Bazooka (Andy Moor – guitar | Jasper Stadhouders – guitar | Marta Warelis – percussion | Miguel Petruccelli – bass | Onno Govaert – drums) + Peter Brötzmann & Heather Leigh.

3 tips week 26

kidjo remain in light
Vanavond in Grounds @ Annabel (Rotterdam): Seun Kuti & Egypt 80. Zondag 1 juli (16u) bij Pllek Amsterdam: Togo All Stars. En: Angelique Kidjo heeft mijn alltime favoriete Talking Heads album Remain in light in zijn geheel gecovered. Ik weet nog niet wat ik ervan denk, maar oordeel zelf. (nb: afrobeat alfabet uit het parool, 2008 hier)