Monday, April 14, 2008

BILLY CHILDISH live review from LONDON

Billy Childish and The Musicians of the British Empire, live review from London's Dirty Water Club, LA Weekly

Billy Childish at London's Dirty Water Club, 4.11.2008
by Rena Kosnett
April 11, 2008 8:08 PM

Billy Childish @ London's Dirty Water Club
Photos by Rena Kosnett

Taking 4 late night buses from Camden down to Brockley, yelling at one stranger who sneezed into my hair, standing for 45 minutes in the rain with a sore throat, and staring helplessly at one of the worst public (drunken) fights I’ve ever seen, are all the unpleasantries I had to endure in order to get home after seeing Billy Childish play tonight. And I'd do it again..... well, I would pay £40 for a cab if I had to do it again, but I would definitely want to see Childish play a second time if given the opportunity.

Billy Childish @ London's Dirty Water Club

I’ve been loving my trip to London, but the emphasis on pixilated music here has been drying my eardrums out; so bouncing around at this rough and tumble 60s garage rock palace in North Camden, the Boston Music Room’s Dirty Water Club, made me feel a little homesick. And when Childish and his new band, the Musicians of the British Empire, played the opening chords for The Who’s “A Quick One While He's Away,” I really teared up. Never mind that Childish was in the wrong key and had to start again. I actually enjoyed hearing the beginning exclamations “Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang” more than once.

Nurse Julie @ London's Dirty Water Club

Childish led his bass player Nurse Julie and his drummer Wolf Howard through garage rock classics (“Lie Detector”), as well as newer material (Nurse Julie sang a tune off their upcoming album that concerns her boyfriend’s adulterous mix tape making, aptly titled “He’s Making A Tape”), but what amazed me the most was Childish’s not one, but TWO a capella performances: Leadbetter’s version of “In The Pines” and Son House’s arrangement of “John the Revelator.” I was told, before making the trek up to Camden, that Childish’s live show has the tendency to disappoint—but I can’t imagine this to be true. After his 100 albums and perhaps as many artistic manifestos, Childish seems to be clearly at home while performing, heckling drunker members of the audience, muttering self-deprecating references to his guitar tuning, and offering a dose of dirty Thee Headcoats brand grit to offset the rest of London’s drum and bass campaign.

Billy Childish @ London's Dirty Water Club

Lily Marlene @ London's Dirty Water Club
Los Angeles' Lily Marlene diggin Billy Childish at the Dirty Water Club
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There are 3 comments posted for this article.

Nurse Julie is actually Billy's wife, seems like the person who wrote this may not have known that. Whoever said that Billy's live shows are disappointing was talking out of their arse.

Posted on April 13, 2008 1:30 PM by Jesse

You're absolutely right, as it clearly states on the Damaged Goods band bio. They keep up a convincing act. The person who made that comment is a Brit, so perhaps he's accustomed to seeing Billy play... I, on the other hand, was ecstatic...and relieved. Cheers.

Posted on April 13, 2008 2:39 PM by Rena

Well, there's no accounting for taste. I'm a brit too, and have seen Billy about a billion times now, I'm always at Dirty Water every month for my fix of Mr Childish and his band. I never get tired of seeing him though. The only reason I wasn't there on Friday was because I had no money. Good to see him still getting good reviews from different parts of the world.

Posted on April 13, 2008 2:48 PM by Jesse

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