One day, the young amongst our number are going to look back on nights like this one with a wistful fondness, recalling a sense of community perhaps lost, a sense of fun perhaps forgotten, a sense of promise and excitement perhaps faded. Yes you will, you cynical little bleeders.
So you got to hear great live music, in Ruswarp of all places, and they let you eat sausages and smoke fags, the former being for free.
High Tide were as impressive as they were a fortnight ago. Drummerless this time, Paul Whittaker added variety to the sound with his West Coast guitar. I want to hear them with a full band - just as an experiment, mind; you wouldn't want them ending up sounding like the Eagles or anything. Gothenburg is still the hit (pending), but there was further original material on show, and hopes are high for more to come. They're young, good looking, popular, and if they're not having vastly more fun than I did at their age, then they're fucking idiots.
Yabbadabbadoo are still your ultimate jukebox band for a cracking night out, running the gamut of pop to punk and back again, with no noticeable detours. In their current formation, they have little ambition beyond entertaining an audience, and they are all the better for it. Best track of the night was, of all things, Chasing Cars. What James Wales remembers, when he sings this corny song, is that it is supposed to be both moving and humorous, in equal measure. If only a zillion karaoke crooners could treat it to even half as good a performance.
Chris the Poet, late and flustered,
Took the stage and sniffed the air.
"Hot dogs," he pondered, "sauce and mustard,
Could there be a poem there?"
Black of shoe, brown of jacket,
He stood and shook his auburn hair*.
"Shall I?" he thought. "Oh no, fuck it.
The subject's boring and all I'd end up doing is rhyming it, in some sort of ridiculous contrivance, with, for example, 'Claire'. Which wouldn't be fair."
So he didn't. (Actually he didn't even eat any sausages. For all I know he might be a vegetarian. He's never said one way or the other.) Instead he did a couple of old favourites - including the full, unreleased version of Country Song, which got a previously half-interested audience on-side, primed, moistened, and ready for...
Panda Lasagne. Stars. On form, such as you wouldn't believe. Highlight was the newly-comprehensible Swim. Excitement, intensity, razor-sharp smartness and frantic silliness. Luke Pearson joined for Housewives' Choice.
I'd go on about it, but it's pointless trying to describe what's happening when people are absolutely at the top of their game. Except to say that you, the audience, need to go and see them, like now. Nothing lasts forever, said the reviewer, sternly.
Then the rains came. Mark Liddell and Paul Whittaker attempted to restrict their set to one song, thus saving themselves from electrocution. But ML found himself unable to stop, and an epic medley ensued, aided by various Yabbadabbadoos, which traced a non-chronological history of rock 'n' roll interspersed with hideous cracklings from saturated amplifiers and live microphones, each one of which seemed to signal certain death for the pub-rock maestros. But like Gloria Gaynor, they survived, and I for one salute them.