Monday, 25 October 2010

Later With Jools Holland

Throughout its 18 year history, Later with Jools Holland has given me as much pain as it has pleasure; and this week's instalment was no exception. Appearing for the pleasure principle this week, we had the bastard sons of Bruce Springsteen and Jesse Malin, The Gaslight Anthem, ripping through a couple of songs from their raucous second album - American Slang. Alongside them, there was Marques Toliver, who for the first time since the spending review announcement, made me stop thinking about the odious sight of the Coalition government laughing and cheering as The Gidiot (thanks to The Guardian's Lucy Mangan for coming up with such a wonderful nickname) announced his malicious plan to wipeout the poor and the vulnerable. Toliver, could well be the most enchanting thing I have heard all year, and is another great example of Later's ability to unearth hidden gems (see also Bon Iver's 2008 appearance). A link to Marques Toliver's blog, which features his appearance on Later, can be found in my blog list.

The pain this week, surprisingly, wasn't actually inflicted by Welsh warbler, Duffy, who with a new album to promote, performed three songs and had a cosy chat with Later's portly presenter. I often wish that the producers of Later would drop the excruciating 'interview' section of the show, as it would allow more time for live music, and the viewers and studio audience wouldn't have to listen to Holland bumble his way through a series of terrible questions that have been designed as a link to a piece of archive footage of the interviewee performing on Top of the Pops or The Old Grey Whistle Test.

The pain (and remember we're all in this together) came from the abominable Crystal Fighters, who brought an uncontrollable urge in me to kick through my television set and go out and do something less boring instead. A crustie/rave hybrid, taking the worst bits (which doesn't leave much else) from The Levellers, Jesus Jones, The Klaxons and the cast of Tomorrow's People; Crystal Fighters are a band straight from the imagination of Ben Elton should he decide to write a musical interpretation of the Battle of Beanfield.
The music itself was bad enough, but what really tipped my scales of vexation, was the 'bandmember' slumped up against a monitor, whose only contribution to the performance, was to stare out across the Later studio, looking as if she had just necked her mother's secret stash of temazepam. Now I appreciate she isn't the first member of a group to stand on stage and appear not to be contributing to the sound emanating from the speakers , but at least some of them had the temerity to shake a fucking maraca!

In a week of pain, Crystal Fighters were the painful cherry on top of my pain filled gateaux.

Pass the morphine!

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