|Nick the Bookman @ Lamma Fun Day ~ Review ~ Sat, Nov 7, 2015
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|Author:||Lamma-Gung [ Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:29 am ]|
|Post subject:||Nick the Bookman @ Lamma Fun Day ~ Review ~ Sat, Nov 7, 2015|
Lamma Fun Day ~ Sat, Nov 7, 2015
by Nick the Bookman
I've just got off the Central ferry back to Lamma and meet Jonny from Transnoodle who tells me that there's "only 25 minutes before Thinking Out Loud start playing their set". That's at Power Station Beach, the usual site for the Lamma Fun Days. Gives me 10 minutes to get home, 10 minutes to faff about and 5 minutes to get to the beach. That's the perception. The reality is that I arrive with about 2 songs to go in their set.
They're "Moving On" and "Rock N' Roll Machine". Both firm favourites when Chris and the rest of the Sisters of Sharon were one of the most stonking live acts around. The new band is Chris B on guitar and vocals. Angus on master blaster lead guitar. Will on deep bass. John on the powerhouse drums and the incorrigible Tony, aka The Mysterious Mr. B" on sax and grunty vocals. I enjoyed my trip down Memory Lane and then the band buggered off. All except for Tony who still has a saxy role to play in today's shenanigans.
Which is almost immediately. There's a bit of The Gramaphone Man, aka Chunny, playing old 78rpm records of West Indian calypso. You rock, Harry Belafonte! And you've set the sound stage for Transnoodle.
Tony might as well have stayed on stage. Can't read my notes now which is going to be a recurring problem during this long and wasted day. I think there was Barnaby on congas. Rafe on bass. Magnus on drums. (I think he does treble duty today. The hardest working muso of the day).
Tony on saxes and Jonny on guitar and vocals. If there was anyone else, apologies for missing you out. You are Greta Garbo!
Let the praise begin. Al writes that he's "really looking forward to Transnoodle - always good to watch". And Nancy's tripped out that she's "able to attend Lamma Fun Day from Nepal". Transnoodle kick off with "Baggy Trousers" by Madness and and labour joyously through a near pisstake of "Bob The Builder". Then, there's a stunning, partly rewritten version of "Walk On The Wild Side". Lots of local references. Their sonic souffle of ska v light reggae v rock with saxes and witty badinage is always a pleasure to hear. Oh, look.
Aileen (from Dark Himaya) has joined the throng on backing vocals and extra guitar as well.
Jonny also takes the time to make a heartfelt tribute to Sue Shearman "whose last performance was LFD 2014. She's left a gaping hole among all her friends and fellow musicians and she is still sorely missed". Well said, Jonny. He tells me later that he cleared his tribute with her family and they were delighted to approve.
Keeping the vibe vivacious is Les Gromechkos - the first of our "overseas" guests. They've previously won a Best Band In HK title and they put a slightly more Latin European spin on their set. While complementing the Transnoodle musical style. It's the squeezebox which makes all the difference. My fault for missing them. All I saw was what looked like six Manuel's from Fawlty Towers coming on stage.
Possibly to take drink orders. So I thought, time for a toilet break.
When I got back, I realised they are very good indeed. Didn't get their names or anything. Sorry, lads.
Jonny also gives me a great quote later which sums up the mutual attraction between the two bands. He says that Les Gromechkos play music that we want to play. Their vocalist responds with the comment that you play music the way we want to play it. Birth of a great double bill future gig is impending.
Les and Jim have also been busy auctioning off job lots of this and that. Including some pictures by Harry. One of them, which he apparently knocked up the night before while avoiding sleep, eventually goes for HK$16K. That's 16-thousand! Well done, painter and buyer. Jim guesstimates that the auction has raised about HK$70K or so.
Not quite as good as last year?
The latest Lamma supergroup after the Yung Shue Wan Curs is now known as The Midlife Crisis Cowboys. Pretty much the same as The Curs. That's Magnus on drums. Gareth on bass. Jacob on ukulele. Harry on acoustic guitar and lead vocals. Miguel on electric guitar. They've retreated back into the dim mists of time when they were all happy and picked their favourite songs of the early 80s. Including "Don't You Want Me?' and "Being Boiled" by the Human League. "What Difference Does It Make" by The Smiths. And "All Of My Heart" by ABC. With an unexpected guitar intro of "Sweet Child Of Mine" chucked in absolutely gratis and free of charge. My only downer was retro-flashing back to Traps in Wanchai when I played all these songs. Bitter sweet memories and where the hell did the time go?
Hedonia (who have sneakily managed to bag the largest typeface on the LFD 2015 poster and flyer) are up next. I haven't seen them play since the Dickstock Memorial at the beginning of the year. They have their heavy acoustic sort of Byrds, sort of Dead vibe down pat. The sly little 'delic touches are all present and accounted for. Don't know what the tunes were called. Wasn't paying that much attention in between dosing audience members with swigs of an excellent Caribbean white rum. It's called Old Nick and is available in the hardware store next door to Green Cottage. There was just something undeniable catchy about that name...
And the sly tipples seem to have worked for my next jotting.
It's lengthy and by anonymous. The unknown scribe doesn't go out all that much these days. Except for Lamma Fun Day where "...there is such joy, kindness and authenticity here today...the essence of Lamma. No pretention or status-competition. It's international, cosmopolitan, open-hearted and broad-minded. All part of what I have loved so much in 30 years on Lamma" Well, you get the gist. A big shout out to Rose and Vi who are definitely enjoying the vibes on the beach. They've got a great spot on the sound about 5 feet away from me. I'm laying down by the left rear pole of the canopy that is sheltering Gareth and the mixing desk. He's done his usual splendid job, despite little gremloids escaping now and then.
The next "overseas" band is a new one to me. They're called Stereo Is The Answer. They're very polished in an old Ultravox-cum-Cure sort of way. Good technical ability. Moody tunes.
Make an interesting Odd Couple double bill with the MLCC. Sorry, guys.
That's all I've got. I did enjoy the set, but Old Nick was helping me scan the latest Lamma Calendar...
Let's see who's in the pictorial library. (I was rather hoping I wasn't there. Been there, Done that.) Scanning left to right, line by line. Good. Nothing. Good, Still nothing. Line by line by line and I'm thinking Great I've mad...oh gosh darn! I'm the very last shot!
The bottom right power corner. Actually, I'm honoured and privileged to be part of the Lamma Family Calendar shot. Age notwithstanding, we've all got something in common. Aside from being Lamma residents.
And that's the absolute certainty that we will all discorporate. You grok? Proof of existence is good. Don't read too much into this. Just setting the scene for headliners Defiant Scum!
Following on from Stereo Is The Answer is Shum King Mansions.
I was lucky enough to catch their spell binding set at the recent Secret Island Party. I was most impressed by their unflappability when the small Sunset stage was invaded - at their request - by some 80 monged party people, The quartet had no room to move, but played on with smiles on their faces... Probably because they knew their request to be invited to play at LFD 2015 had been accepted.
Shum King Mansions have been gigging for about a year or so.
They're named after their bassist, Shum. He reminds me of Johnny Ramone in stance and attitude. Yeah, I know, Dee Dee was the bassist.
But he looks more like Johnny. Zaid is the intriguing guitarist and singer. He's wearing a psychedelic striped and mottled smock cum dress. Think Mick Jagger at the Hyde Park show after Brian Jones died.
Mike is the metronomic powerhouse drummer. Keeps it all stable and steady at the back so the rest of the band can explode individually.
Lastly there's Jem on the keytar. Giving it that Studio 54/cocaine psychosis vibe of the sleazier parts of the mid 70s. He reminds me of the Brazilian actor-director Coffin Joe who was notorious for horror/sadistic exploitation movies in the early 1960s. One song is called "Travelling Soul Psychedelia". If you haven't seen them, they are an experience. 'Nuff said.
It's no longer 2013 which means The Sleeves are making a welcome return. One year on and one year off is the modus operandi for the more popular bands, Their set hasn't staled with the passage as far as I'm concerned. My perception is that they've turned in a strong set. They've recently returned from a short tour of England.
And did a blow away the cobwebs at the Wanch the night before this.
They were fired up. That was my perception...
The reality again is different. The bass wasn't working at all. Which is probably why the guitars sounded good. Succinct and jabbing. Phasing hither and yon. One band member has just come out of hospital and The Sleeves are adamant about taking a break soon to come up with fresh material. They've been touring the debut CD for about 3 years now? Anyway, "Sex Museum" and "Totalitarian Love Song" still ring all my bells. Always a pleasure to see, hear and hang out with you chaps.
And now, things start to get in yer face. In a nice way of course. Defiant Scum rock the late night crowd with grim exhortations to "Drink More Beer" while the rest of the band rampage in a most unrestrained way. The Sex Pistols section of the night. Speaking of beer, was it true that San Miguel didn't want The Yardley Bros. to sell their micro brews at the beach? The story I heard was that if there were other beer options available, SM would pull their sponsorship. Seems very petty for one of the major breweries in HK. Of course, if they made their beer taste good... or less like making love in a canoe. You know, fucking close to water! Or drinking American beer...
My lovely wife Mari has arrived for the last few minutes of Defiant Scum. Normally she's a punk lover, but hasn't quite got her mind and mood in sync with the late night vibes here. That's to say, she's the only one who isn't wasted. Everyone appears to be a stumble bum. The soft sand doesn't help progress to and from the bars on the big road. I'm wandering about trying to find her and she's chatting away with Chunny's wife Sian, She told me I looked like a lost frantic puppy gamboling around trying to get home. Or adopted.
Defiant Scum's final notes or receding in the strong sea air.
Jim has arrived for his DJ set. He opens with a sound bite "This is the Lamma Channel". (where the hell did he get that from. It lays down a strong marker of intent) Listening to the sound clip I realise "Lamma" is spelt "llama" and it's a clip from a nature program. It's a great start and Jim is getting a pretty good vibe going when the sound system crashes after a couple of minutes. Takes a few minutes to fix and he starts again with a slightly different mix. It also fails after a couple of minutes. Mari says it's time to go home. I hear later it was third time lucky (unless there were other failures) and he keeps playing until about 0200. Got a good crowd eventually. Hi Caspar and other late nite owlz.
Ooh, almost forgot! Last, but not least, is a stiff and splendid salute to all The Burst Virgins. That's all of you lucky lot who enjoyed aural orgasms aplenty while popping your respective LFD hymens. Be sure to come and get rocked up again next year. Meanwhile, Clockenflap is coming down the line...
Email from Sacha:
We just stumbled across your shout out to us on the Lamma website and had to get in touch!
We were delighted to have been graced by your awesomeness too that night.
You are an inspiration! Here are the pics we have of our much too short meeting. Hopefully we will do it again one day soon!!
Love, Pilar and Sacha x
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