WARNING: This article contains the abbreviation APTBS a lot, this is an abbreviation of A Place To Bury Strangers. Some people don’t know that, isn’t that right Chris?
The build up to last nights “A Place To Bury Strangers” and “Japandroids” gig at the Captains Rest couldn’t have been worse. I wasn’t feeling too grand (the beginnings of a cold i think), i was very tired, i had sore limbs from the previous nights 5-a-side football (Andy/Begbie nearly broke my foot!) and also due to certain circumstances i was now going to the gig on my own. Looked like i was set to have a brilliant night eh?
Well, actually, yes i did.
I arm myself with my camera, my bank card and my iPod and i’m off. I make my journey to the Captains Rest accompanied by a soundtrack of the APTBS debut album and 10 Marlboro Lights. I’m still not too optimistic about the night ahead. The plan is: sneak into the venue, hope nobody spots that i’m on my own, have a few beers, listen to the music then go back to the city centre and meet up with the rest of the guys that were out. They were away to see Kasabian and Alice in Chains respectively. My opinions on them? The latter band i love and if it wasn’t for the APTBS gig being on the same night i would be at the Barra’s watching them. As for the former, i USED to love them. Their self titled debut album was amazing, just what was needed at the time in 2004, a fresh change from the drab music of the time. Then somehow Kasabian just got shit. I won’t elaborate on reasons why or go into my feelings on them, i just think they’re now Oasis in disguise. Back to last night now.
I enter the Captains Rest and shuffle straight up to the bar, order a pint of Kronenbourg then retire to the end of the bar. I’m just standing there thinking bout random things (how cool would it be to have a triangle donut? does the postman deliver his own mail? why is Robbie Williams allowed to live?) like i always do, when suddenly a dude comes up and says “nice hoodie, where’d you get it?”. He’s referring to my DFA1979 hoodie. Which, by the way, is nice, i like it 🙂 I’m only just realising that it always seems to garner attention wherever i go so maybe i’ll stop wearing it now! I’ve never been one for attention, i prefer staying in the background. Although i’m glad i wore it tonight or else i may very well have spent this gig on my own! I’ll explain..
I get chatting to him about various things for fifteen minutes or so. Music, beer, football, weed, facial hair, the usual man banter really. I find out he plays guitar and loves shoegaze-y music, a good bonus , i also enquire about his accent and discover he’s French. His name’s Romain. Just as we’re bantering away, two girls walk over. Anna and Francesca. Francesca is Romains girlfriend, she’s also French and Anna is an English girl who is helping them settle in Glasgow. I find out that they moved here in the summer. More to the point i’m just happy i’ve met people and i’m not on my own at this gig anymore! We buy a few rounds of Red Stripe then head downstairs to watch the gig. Romain hands me a strange little box, i struggle to read it in the dark, i squint and can just about see the writing on it. Eventually i recognise the writing as “A Place To Bury Strangers” and “Exploding Head”. Romain says to keep the box but to open it up first. I open it and find ear plugs in it. Romain explains that he seen APTBS live in NY last year, consequently met the band and they gave him a few of these boxes and they sometimes sell them at their gigs. How cool is that?! Anyway, i thank him for the gift but then close the box back over. There’s no way i’m going to lessen the impact that APTBS and Japandroids have on my ears, on record they are loud, live they are absolutely frighteningly loud. I like it that way. No ear plugs for me.
The Captains Rest is the perfect setting for the the noise of APTBS and Japandroids. Its tiny “sardines packed in a tin” feel brings the audience closer than any other venue i’ve ever known. Any band that i’ve seen here previously couldn’t have prepared us for what was ahead though.
The Japandroids scramble on stage and introduce themselves, this is the Canadian duo’s first time in Scotland. They look pleasantly surprised at the amount of support they get from the crowd and then blast through a set full of punk noise the belies the capability of just two men. Brian King plays guitar and does the lions share of the vocals and David Prowse bangs the skins and screams and sings his way through his fair share of songs as well. I’ve been into the Japandroids since about March this year. I found them on Last FM and have tried my best to spread the word since. They remind me of a certain band. I’ll let you guess. Canadian? Two piece? Noise Rock? Plenty facial fuzz? Tunes to back up the punk attitude?….You got it yet? ….Make no mistake, these guys have the potential to be the new Death From Above 1979. Although to be honest i don’t like comparing bands to each other, it’s not fair on either so instead i’ll just say the Japandroids sound like they might be influenced by DFA and it’s a badge they seem to wear with pride. One things for sure though, they have a more “garage rock” feel about them then DFA, who had a more “electro” feel when they were around. I can only hope that Japandroids will be around a lot longer than DFA were and release a few more albums than their Canadian counterparts. They certainly made a perfect start with their debut album “Post Nothing”, it’s out now, get it bought. And don’t make any excuses! It’s not hard to find, i bought mine in Fopp. Like i said earlier, last nights show was the Japandroids first show in Scotland but it certainly won’t be their last, in fact they announced at the end of their set that they’ll be back over here next February. Be there. I will.
The Japandroids song “Wet Hair” is my favourite track of theirs. My band Capgras covered it back in August and we changed the lyrics from “Wet Hair” to “Red Hair” and dedicated it to Si’s girlfriend!
VIDEO: Japandroids – Wet Hair
And now in the words of Japandroids drummer David Prowse “I hope you’re ready to have your face melted by A Place To Bury Strangers, you’ll lose brain cells if you’re down the front, they make us sound like an acoustic folk duo”. Brain cells? Lose? Down the front? That’s me fucked then. In all seriousness though that is mighty words coming from a guy whose band just about tore the ceiling off with their noise decibels. After all the roadies and guitar fiddler guys have left and the stage is good to go we move to part two of the gig. Enter stage left A Place To Bury Strangers. The dry ice ascends and the red mist covers the stage. My first thought is how the band have managed to fit on stage. Their amps are massive and the the pedals are spread out all over the floor, there’s wires, leads and cables going everywhere. How APTBS have squeezed on to this tiny platform is a mystery. But they’re here and they’re ready to blow us away. And they proceed to do just that. Starting off with some improvised effect intros and barging straight into “Missing You” then carrying on into a mixture of tracks from their eponymous debut album and new release “Exploding Head”. They hardly stop for breath between songs and Oliver Ackermann mumbles a few words here and there to the crowd. Nobody here though is bothered about crowd interaction, we didn’t come to have a chat with the band members. We came to have our ears assaulted. The band continue to pulverise our senses and end the gig with an extended wall of sound jam, leaving us with feedback ringing in our ears all the way upstairs and even 5 minutes later outside having a smoke we can still hear the lingering buzz of the Death By Audio pedals that Ackermann is famous for. We are well and truly bruised by the levels of noise we’ve just experienced. But thats what we expected, what we wanted and what we got.
*I couldn't get all the band in the one shot cos i was right down the front!
VIDEO: A Place To Bury Strangers – In Your Heart
Afterwards whilst in the bar discussing the gig we all get talking about what we're upto the next day or at the weekend etc. Francesca and Anna are going shopping (might have guessed!), Romain is planning on watching the Republic of Ireland vs France football match on Saturday but has no one to watch it with (sound familiar?). But, yep, you guessed it, i'm going out to watch that game in the pub with a few mates and invited him along. A few more drinks and it's time for me to go catch the last Subway back to town or i'll need to taxi it. I kinda don't wanna go, i'm enjoying myself with these 3 "strangers" but needs must. Before i go we exchange numbers and i'm off into the night/early morning to spend what remains of this Thursday/Friday in Nice N Sleazys drinking White Russians and listening to my mates say how i bet i wished i'd just decided to go to Alice In Chains and how good Kasabian were…….. Well, i just had a fucking amazing night in the Captains Rest thank you very much.
S.I.T Wolf X
ps. i kinda wish i'd worn those ear plugs….i can still hear that feedback!