Song of the Month: Gangsta by tUnE-yArDs, 2011
Watching live footage of rock
concerts is generally disappointing I find. The event itself may well be an
exciting euphoric experience where audience and performers are communally and
transcendentally united as one through shared adrenaline sweat-fuelled musical
ecstasy. You don't quite get that though when you're sat watching it on the
telly in the evening with a hot drink and a biscuit and the sound turned low so
as not to disturb your good lady and dog who are conked-out on the sofa snoring
My dissatisfaction established itself around the time when my friends at school
began listening to heavy metal and smoking. Visiting one of their houses
suddenly meant sitting around watching hours of live Led Zeppelin videos which
always climaxed with a 15 minute version of 'Moby Dick', 13 minutes of which
was a drum solo. According to my companions, being there would've been the
equivalent of being in the presence of God, but I was never convinced. I don't
even think the rest of the band were either -
their walking off stage during the solo told me all I needed to know
about what it was like to actually be there.
Anyway, attempting some optimism I had a go at watching some of the televised
footage of this year's Glastonbury festival, and to my surprise I'm glad I did
because amongst all the stuff that I can't now even remember who they were was
tUnE-yArDs: florescent face-painted hollering women banging out unpredictable
African-based polyrhythms decked out in ill-fitting multi-coloured home-made
fish-themed outfits, a brass section, distorted electric ukulele and a bass
player who looked half asleep, backed by amateur dancers dressed in cardboard
eye-balls wrapped in a silk sheet.
They were glorious.
I could even turn the sound up a bit as my good lady Kate woke up, mesmerised
by what she was seeing and hearing. I'm always pleased when our tastes coincide
– often while listening to much of the music I love she gives me a look of
someone who wants to punch my ears.