With an arrangement that gets me back to Manchester every other week it means I am getting nothing done. Well not that I do much at weekends anyway but my old routine of volunteering at Oxfam in the morning and then going home to enjoy the paper and go swimming has gone. Although enjoying spur of the moment things can be great fun I tend to try and organise my time in my own incoherent manner. The fact that I am trying to get a new record label up and running is taking up a bit of my time and it seems it's going to be more haphazardly run than emma's house recordings.
Anyway this weekend was quite a good one in that I didn't get anything done but enjoyed a lot of things. There has been a lot of good reviews for the Japanese animation Spirited Away which has just been released over here in the UK. So I was going to catch it in Manchester because Lancaster cinemas only show the mainstream movies. I get home ask our kid about it and he told me that he borrowed it on DVD with the added bonus of a decent Cantonese dub. It is quite easy to get lost in the film but the plot is actually very simple. Girl finds parents trapped in a greed state (as pigs) and she must rescue them. Lots of things happen in between like suffering hardship, proving yourself to others and of course falling in love. Okay this is an oversimplification but that allows you to concentrate on the superb animation of the characters and environment which is more than the usual manga styling. Influences from a host of Western fantasy stories like Alice In Wonderland could have turned this into a mess. It does however gel together really well with a great feeling in the end.
Talking of which I remember watching Terminator 3 before it came out in the US which I was surprised about. Okay obviously this was a copy but a surprisingly good copy that was almost DVD quality. How do these things get ripped off from the studios? There must be someone leaking them out.
Anyway it was In The City in Manchester. I used to go watch the unsigned bands and various free showcases. This year I missed the lot apart from the not so secret Badly Drawn Boy/Twisted Nerve gig at the swanky Bridgewater Hall. More usually associated with grand orchestral sounds this is a great venue. Anyway it seemed like everyone was waiting for Damon and didn't bother to watch Aidan Smith or Toolshed. Aidan I have gone on about before is a darn fine singer songwriter with a great collection of anecdotal tunes that are often humorous. Although he was only on stage for what seemed like half an hour he rattled though loads of songs. He did seem very nervous and looked like he wanted to go through the set as fast as possible. Even when he messed up his songs it was great to watch. Just like an early Damon without the drunkeness it could have looked like an act but I think he just wasn't confident. The more he plays the more Aidan will become a superstar.
The contrast between Aidan and Toolshed couldn't have been greater. Graham Massey of 808 State's new offering is a huge sprawling sound system mixing in electronica, free jazz, prog rock and a shed load of other things into one. At times a testing assault on your senses (causing many people to retire to the bar in fact) but hugely impressive. I forgot to add that I was sitting on the second row in the stalls making it doubly in your face.
So comes to Damon to thank people for coming and dedicating the entire night to Andy Votel, Damon's girlfriend Claire and David Tyack (sadly still missing). A full acoustic set that spanned his three albums and some tracks from the forthcoming album. Damon is a great entertainer taking time to interact with the audience, he loves it. Dedicating almost every song to someone it's a great set. His favourite song 'Four Leaf Clover' which is on the new album has all the qualities of a typically great BDB song. He got 2 deserved standing ovations (something you can't get at standing gigs), everyone was quite impressed. It wasn't just Damon's performance, it was the entire night, it was a night of Twisted Nerve and what a good independent record label can achieve over time, namely a multi-millionaire with some great songs.