All Christmas parties should be like ‘Burst Noel’. From where we’re standing/pogoing it’s a resounding success and, personally, a far more enjoyable experience than my works’ night out the previous week. Don’t you think that every 20 years or so I should get to bring my colleagues along to something like this??
First on were the Phantom Band. Taking the stage suited and booted they seem perfectly attired for the venue. By and large they offer the more accessible songs from the forthcoming debut LP and sound fantastic. They get a very positive reaction even if they’re on too early to encourage too many onto the dance floor. I’m seriously looking forward to catching a full set from them in the New Year.
Phantom Band setlist:
1. The Howling 2. Folksong Oblivion 3. Left Hand Wave 4. Burial Sound 5. Throwing Bones
Next up is Strike the Colours. Their set is the only real downside of the night, not because of the music but because of technical difficulties. Jenny’s violin packs in early on and as a consequence she has to drop several songs before bringing the set to a premature conclusion after just 4 numbers. She definitely fared better than in solo guise but it was difficult to draw many conclusions from her brief appearance.
The musical chairs interlude is inspired, not least because of Aidan Moffat’s choice of Napalm Death as backing music. It really gets the evening moving and there’s a brilliant sequence when one guy tries to cheat a girl of a seat and is roundly booed by the audience, then cheered when he admits defeat and opts out. The whole proceedings are lent an even more surreal note by the fact that De Rosa are tuning up in the background thereby confusing some of the participants, even when the recorded music stops!
The prizes awarded, De Rosa set about their task with a vengeance. They open with a scalding ‘Cathkin Braes’ and barely let up in the remainder of their 7 song set. The version of ‘Flight Recorder’ is played with some abandon confirmed by the unusual sight of Andy actually standing up at one point. They close with their own Christmas song, the wonderful ‘Under The Stairs’, and barring a couple of minor technical issues, are as close to magnificent as makes no difference.
De Rosa Setlist
1. Cathkin Braes 2. In Code 3. Flight Recorder 4. It Helps To See You Hurt 5. Tinto 6. Nocturne for an Absentee 7. Under The Stairs
Which leaves only the headliner himself. In contrast to Dundee, Malky seems in great form throughout and, for me, it’s the most enjoyable Middleton gig I’ve seen. Which I’m sure is not necessarily unrelated to the fact that we’re right at the front and a few beers have been consumed.
The set is almost identical to Dundee (even to the extent of there being no encore) with ‘Burst Noel’ included at the expense of ‘Devastation’. The two new songs once again sound terrific, in particular ‘Shadows’ whilst the double burst of ‘We’re All Going To Die’ and ‘Death, Love, depression …’ inspire the afore-mentioned bout of middle aged pogoing. Well, someone had to!
Malcolm Middleton Setlist
1. Blue Plastic Bags 2. Four Cigarettes 3. Crappo The Clown 4. Travelling Socks 5. Break My Heart 6. Burst Noel 7. A Brighter Beat 8. Fuck It, I Love You 9. We’re All Going To Die 10. Death Love Depression Love Death 11. Shadows 12. Loneliness Shines 13. Love Comes In Waves
Which only leaves Mr Moffat. As mentioned by JC in his comment, he put in an extraordinary performance. His between song utterances contributed hugely to the atmosphere and his stewardship of the musical chairs (the timing of the breaks and the regular ‘Ya cheating basturts!’) was, frankly, exemplary.
Roll on next year and Burst Noel 2.
Photos from the evening at MPT Flickr.
PS Not one but TWO De Rosa downloads promised on Christmas Eve!