Pier Pressure Party with El Destroyo and DP - 16-2-2008
Ho hum, another Saturday night (and I just got paid. Gonna spend it all and I ain't gonna save) Well, I'm going to spend about $200 anyway to get to/from Central and admission to Lamma Pier Party # 2 (that I've attended). The previous gig featured Snoblind. This time round, it's DP (newly recovered from the excesses of Clockenflap) and El Destroyo. All in all, there are 5 powerhouse musos and a laptop DJ providing the soundtrack for tonight's thrills, spills and brain-bursting hangovers. Stalwart Sam is the trusty Gatekeeper once again. He's keeping Andy company. Ross is running around elsewhere. The stage has been moved halfway down the pier floor and is facing Central. The Beer Bay bar is at right angles. It's warmer than the previous effort, tho' the weather is still chilly. I foresee some serious assaults on the hot mulled wine tonight. Good Work lovely liquor ladies!
I've arrived by the mixing desk, left side of the stage and have snaffled a seat to watch the action and scribble some scrawls. Ross has told me to pay attention to the beardy folkie who is currently performing "Mother"by Pink Floyd. His name is Jerry Cappadonna and he's an opera singer at the Venetian in Macao. He comes to HK most week-ends and is a welcome performer at the LKFLive/PierPressure nights. Jerry, it was a pleasure to listen to you. You sing with a sincerity and gravitas that demands attention and you have quite an electic range of tunes. Aside from a couple of other Pink Floyd ditties, the set comprised "Send Me On My Way" by Rusted Root and "Both Hands" by Ani Difranco. There was an original song called "Drift Away". Bob Seger got a look in with "Turn The Page" and Jerry concluded with "Hurt" by Trent Reznor (NIN). He's a "travelling man" - covered most of the USA and recently got married in Cambodia. Great meeting you Jerry and look forward to your next appearance.
There's a short pause of about a week (or so it seems) while El Destroyo set up. This swampadelic, hellzapopping, rockabilly trio have been making large splashes in the local sonic scene for several months now. They have a cool fanbase of support with no obvious inbreds, geeks, freaks and simples. Maggie (who also plays in Bone Table) is the bassist. Tunje is a fluid, unflashy drummer who really rocks. Dean rules supreme on the guitar. Link Wray rumble runs. Twangadelic guitar blasts that recall Dick Dale in all his vim/vibrato finery coupled with Duane Eddy langour. A mighty blond punky quiff that wouldn't sit uneasily on Paul Simenon's noggin. And there are the tunes...
Several searing instrumentals with spacy Shadows style solos, flowing down a "Pipeline" to my rapidly warming inner brain. Voodoo surf's up folks! A couple of numbers from Brian Seltzer - the T.C. of Stray Cats. An old Johnny Cash number called "Sam Hall" is warmly acknowledged. I still don't know if he did it or indeed, what it was he may or may not have did. And Dean isn't telling either. Meanwhile, John Hutton is tiring me out, just watching him jitterbugging with Dean's better half Annie(?). That much fun is almost illegal, surely? The crowd has swelled to about 150 people by now. Luke Chow is digging the vibe. His band Hungry Ghost will feature at an upcoming Pier Party, possibly in April. Dave and Paul are out on the fringes, keeping their strength up through copious quaffing. The final tune by El Destroyo is their party piece. It's called :Stringbuster" and while not literally living up to the title, it does mutate in a Frankenstinian way through several styles and tempos to a rousing and deserved round of applause.
The laptop DJ is back for another month-long tour of duty. Even Lamma time passes inexorably and eventually and I'm hoping DP won't Delay Performance for much longer. The legless Lamma Posse has a ferry to catch at 0030 and it's 0012 by the time DP start to Drum and Pluck. The set follows the same sort of running order as at Clockenflap, although Dave has a new mutant axe - a cross between a bass and a guitar - to wow the fans. Even ensconced downstairs on the ferry, the sound is monstrous, yet muffled. An age old roar of trapped metal dinosaurs, sinking into the soggy morass of a metal tar pit. I can almost feel the ferry vibrating in sympathy as we leave the dock. Hope to hear the new stuff next time guys.
The Wanch 29-2-208
It's about 3 weeks later and I'm off to The Wanch for another hellfire romp with El Destroyo, They're opening for Don't Panic, led by the irrepressible John Prymmer, who is in the process of taking over the Wanch and upgrading the musical equipment. Good work matey! The Wanch has been around too long to fade ignobly into the night. It's going to be special tonight as John Hutton has secured a guest vocalist gig with ED. All that shuckjive action with Annie must have paid off eh? The usual suspects are here. Ross with the video camera. Chunny and Sian (fresh from last night's masterclass in musical mayhem with Bjork). Dave and Eva and Martine are hogging the table bar at far left. Drummer Paul is here, but Dave appears to be having a quiet night in with a cup of hot cocoa or something. The place is packed.
I manage to wangle a seat right in front of Maggie. Dean has gone to the darkside tonight with matching hair and attire. John has promised to sing a couple of Cramps covers. I've asked him to teach the band "Surfing Bird" (in memory of his unhinged performance at Dickstock 2006). That may happen, but not tonight. The band howl through most of the same set as the PierParty. John makes 2 brief visits to the microphone. He gibbers, gobbles, grunts, growls and grinds his way through some excellent tunes, including the aforesaid, but unknown Cramps numbers. Familiarity with El Destroyo's style doesn't blunt the impact of their performance. Familiar tunes include "Sam Hall" (still no resolution to the conundrum!) and they finish off with a howling rendition of "Stringbuster". Maggie is bouncing along with her bass, leaning in to Dean to trade licks. Dean is rubbing his axe against the speakers like some hornyhepcat in heat. Tunje is even more cool and unflappable behind the drum kit. The set finishes far too early. I could hear this band play all night.
Another long pause as Don't Panic get set up. They're long-time survivors of the HK music scene. They specialise in covers and cool old rockers. The opening 2 songs are Bowie covers - "Jean Genie" and "Suffragette City". At one point John stuffs the mike into my face and we trade a few tuneless bellows (at least on my part) before he moves away in search of fresh meat. I wish I could have stayed longer. As I leave, John is playing his guitar on the pavement outside the Wanch. Dennis on lead guitar, Colin on drums, and new boy Geoff on bass and shared vocals, remain inside and discover the joys of having more room and playing as a trio. Hope to catch up with you guys again soon. The Wanch still rocks and here's to at least another 20 years of existence.
Review by Nick L.