Liverpool is a great place to be based if you like your music – with an abundance of quality local and touring bands playing every week, and if a national touring band doesn’t play Liverpool they will usually play Manchester which is still relatively accessible.
However, there are some bands I want to see from further afield who don’t tour quite as extensively. I keep thinking I’ll go and see them “one day” but never quite get around to it.
So this year, I decided to make a new years resolution I could not only stick to, but enjoy doing so – namely to make the effort to see 3 bands that I’ve been wanting to see for a good while: Joe Bone & The Dark Vibes, All Hail Hyena and finally, The Filthy Tongues.
The Filthy Tongues are comprised of Martin Metcalfe, Fin Wilson and Derek Kelly who were previously in Angelfish and Goodbye Mr Mackenzie with Garbage’s Shirley Manson amongst others.
My interest in Goodbye Mr Mackenzie began in Oct 1986 when I saw this video on The Chart Show, an early version of “The Rattler”
At the time I knew nothing else about them, I didn’t even know they were Scottish let alone based in Edinburgh like myself at the time. So, having endlessly played the video, imagine how starstruck I was to walk into a paper shop on a Sunday morning only to see Martin and Shirley buying their milk and papers! Though of course at the time, few people probably knew who they were!
I started going to see them whenever I got the chance. I remember being overjoyed when I bought tickets for The Primitives at Barrowlands around the time Crash was in the charts (having previously seen them when they were relatively unknown at a legendary Edinburgh venue simple called “The Venue” – no need for Google friendly names in those days!) and found that Goodbye Mr Mackenzie were the support act. I was more excited about them than the headliner!
I did consider booking a Liverpool venue and putting all 3 bands on – however aside from not being able to afford the financial risk, I recognise that Liverpool can be a tough city to get audiences when there is always so much going on – even full time promoters sometimes struggle. There would be nothing worse than bringing bands you love to the city only to perform to half a dozen people.
When I was putting on bands in London, I had people queing around the block for a Smiths tribute band I’d booked out of curiosity more than anything else, and started to believe that I was a real promoter, and booked The Filthy Tongues. Fortunately the turnout was pretty decent (albeit the logistics of the night meant that due to equipment share they had to go on first – which meant that the night started off busy and ended up with next to nobody there! One band had equipment problems, one was rather rude and was pulled early by the venue, and the headliners were too pissed to play! A night that brought my promoter ambitions back to reality with a bump!
I remember Martin telling me that the last time they’d played in London was supporting Debbie Harry at Brixton Academy where they’d had stylists and catering staff. Best I could offer was a loan of my comb and a pack of peanuts!
So I decided it was a better idea to try and catch them at a professional promter’s gig and I spotted they were supporting Brix and the Extricated at Stockton on Tees’s Georgian Theatre.
Not exactly local, it’s 4 hours on a National Express (or a second mortgage for the train) but looks like an interesting venue and a superb lineup!
The Filthy Tongues album “Jacob’s Ladder” released last year was one of my stand out albums of the year – only 8 tracks but any one of them could be released as a single – a very strong album indeed which has been incredibly popular with reviewers.
The Fall are famous for their frequent lineup changes, so it was only a matter of time before ex-members of The Fall formed their own band, and who better to lead the band than Brix Smith Start. My favourite part of The Fall’s long career is most definitely the Brix era, when she helped make their sound more commercial without watering down what made The Fall, The Fall.
I still kick myself when I remember walking past The Kings Theatre in Edinburgh on my way to work and saw the sign “The Fall in Curious Oranj” and I joked to myself “if only it was ‘that’ THE FALL”. Whilst these days theatre productions are much more contemporary and shows featuring famous musicians is quite common, back then things were more highbrow and the idea of The Fall playing at the Kings Theatre was ludicrous, or so I thought!
It was much later that I saw a clip on some late show on BBC 2 that I realised I had missed an opportunity to see The Fall (albeit in a rock ballet – which could have gone either way). I didn’t manage to catch The Fall until many years later when Brix was sadly long gone.
So it will be good to finally catch Brix, their debut album “Part 2” is also a very solid album from start to finish and has received rave reviews.
Brix and the Extricated supported by The Filthy Tongues are on at Georgian Theatre, Stockton-On-Tees, Saturday 14th October 2017. Tickets £13 + Booking Fee