BAND OF HOLY JOY - LIVE ON EXOTIC PYLON, RESONANCEFM - 22/05/10 BY DEN
Johny Brown - vocals & flu Andy Astle- guitar Paul O'Donnell -bass Bill Lewington - drums Inga Tillere - soundscapes with additional soundscaping from Paul "Time Attendant" Snowdon
Setlist: Memory Counts / Troubled Sleep / I Propose / Roadwork / I Dreamt that the City was on Fire / Somehow I made it through the Night / I say we strike out now / What a Thing, the Heart of Man
Last weekend Jonny Mugwump's endlessly eclectic "Exotic Pylon" show played host to the Band of Holy Joy for a live premiere of the "Paramour" album. The show can be heard in the Archive section of the Exotic Pylon site (www.exoticpylon.com) - and its well worth checking out some of the other shows. No adverts, music as it should be...
We were blessed with the best weather of the year for the evening. After battling thru the Saturday night crosstown traffic & every roadwork Southwark Council could throw at us, we arrived at resonancefm studios to find lead singer Johny Brown bursting with flu & frantically downing the Lockets. Jonny Mugwump played his usual Peel-like selection, everything from dubstep to death-metal while the group got ready. The realities of day-jobs & other commitments meant there hadn't been enough time to fully rehearse all the album. Eventually everyone was together, sound levels checked, & the studio filled to overload with people & equipment.
Studio 1 at resonance has an almost Tardis-like ability to absorb whatever comes its way, and there is something uniquely special about being right in the middle of people making music. Suddenly you're aware of so many more nuances & little bits of interplay than you are watching a band at a gig, & you're reconnecting with the primal power of music. After a while perched on Paul's amp, feet surrounded by leads, paranoid of knocking over mics etc, I decided to leave the musicians to their space & listen from the car park outside. Luckily the sound was even better there & I sat back to enjoy the show.
Regular Holy Joy soundscaper (& visuals specialist) Inga Tillere was joined for the occasion by Pylon regular Paul Snowdon/Time Attendant, & they created a series of atmospheric settings for all the songs. never mind making it thru the night, it was more a case of Johny's voice making it thru the show. Meanwhile Andy Astle was the proverbial "midfield general" on guitar, staccato riff one minute, delicate & subtle the next, as required by the songs. Not forgetting the rhythm section either, despite the cramped conditions. There isn't a lot that I can add now, other than suggest you go & listen to the show. On a purely personal level though, I'm getting to love "Somehow I Made It Through The Night." & "I Dreamt That The City Was On Fire".", and Chris Brierley played up a storm all night. The violin sounded glorious as it resonated round the courtyard-like car park, reaching out into the Southwark Saturday night. Its been fascinating seeing how these songs have taken shape, in themselves & in performance, over the last year since the Troubled Sleep & Burroughs shows at Shunt last year.
As always the car park provided a memorable after-show venue, and at this point your reporter's memory gets a little unreliable, & like some of the photos, out of focus ... however, I'm hoping to have a talk with all the group about the album & anything else that comes up - I do believe that an old Mudkiss interview might have inspired one or two of the songs here.
The Exotic Pylon show is taking a well-earned summer break, having developed a real character & momentum all of its own in the last few months. Meanwhile, check out the archive for some fascinating shows (I'd recommend the Father Murphy set & DJ Vamanos for starters), & plenty of pics on Flickr capture the special atmosphere of a Saturday nite under the Pylon.
(I couldn't find a recent live video so this is the next best thing - playing 'Denmark Street' live 21/12/07 @ 12 Bar Club)