Her Name is Calla at Brixton WindmillSupport: UpCDownC
May 13, 2017 at Brixton Windmill
My journey to the all-dayer began working a Sunday cover shift several days before the show, I worked six hours then attended a Rick & Morty quiz were got drunk, naked and quite baked; we lost the quiz, the police were called and someone tried to bite off somebody’s else’s finger. When the new week began, I worked a further fifty hours powered initially by a Redbull milkshake I made with five times the standard measurement of concentrate chased by a 330ml can. On the Friday, my friends Martin and Louis/Toffee arrived in London for Sunday’s Tranmere game at Wembley. I’ve known each of them for over a decade now, Martin I’ve actually known for like twenty years so, we were off to a good start. After I finished work at 8pm, we trekked across London to Boston Manor for a student party celebrating the demise of exams. My friend Chris and his friends hosted this evening of debauchery in a flat long known to me as Flat 420 so, naturally the evening consisted of getting wired ’til 8AM and Martin, Louis and myself sleeping on the floor in a student dorm room inhabited by my good friend, Jack Adams.
Louis made a quick dart in the morning to go and visit his da so, me and Marty and Jack headed for the train. Although, Jack had to split en route. The only real discernible dialogue from my partied-out corpus was concerning excitement for the BBQ. I had smashed in a meal deal and a half on the tube but, it seemed nothing could satiate my desire for grilled goods. Marty and I stopped for a quick zoot and a little nap in my couch-den then undertook yet another hour long journey to Brixton. I hope by this point you can understand that we were in a delicate and dingy state. By time we arrived at The Windmill, I literally could not talk about anything for more than a minute without dragging the conversation back to the BBQ. Marty and I watched the first band and we both quite liked them but, if you’re gonna put music against BBQ, it’s pretty unfair. Especially, when seen through the eyes of a couple of sesh gremlins. I feel like even now it’s hard to remember anything about the first part of the show without my brain turning to food. Sorry, initial bands what I heard was good and I wish I could remember it better but, it was just groovy tunes and watching the in violet and Echoes and Dust DJ debacle unfurl in my recollection. Anyway without further adieu to the BBQ…
Now, I think BBQ and music go together as they say in Talladega Nights like cocaine and waffles or chocolate cake and Chinese food so, this whole event was a stroke of genius in my eyes. The BBQ itself was this endless table of food that like everything about it; was at first glance amazing but, unfortunately the whole thing kind of took a sour turn due to whoever the cunt operating the grill at The Windmill was. The vegetarian food was all cold for a start, the line was huge and the colossal, sweating, mound of stinking toad-like misery operating the thing stood as some Burroughs-esque, Cronenberg ode to being out of your depth and quintessentially wretched in almost brutalist, Dickensian fashion. Whilst in the line, Hannah and I noticed some hash browns being kept under lock and key by the cave troll at the helm so, ahead of me in the cue she asked this skulking, slobber-dripping, putrid warthog of a man, seemingly brought to life from The Wall or some Hunter S. Thompson day at the races or whatever if she could have access to the hash browns and the fucking despicable cunt had the gall to angrily lambast her for asking for the food she had paid for and he was tasked with providing on the grounds that he thought she had too much. For the record, that was not his call to make, pretty much all of us held our tongues at the time out of respect for Asher and the event he was putting on and it was fucking difficult. I literally wanted to grab this fucking Jabba The Hut-esque slug by his fucking sweating hog-jowls and drive my thumbs through his eyes out of sheer rage and disgust but, he wouldn’t even look in my direction once I arrived to put my token in the jar. I’m inclined to believe that he was some pathetic, flaccid, misogynist, piece of shit but, perhaps he was just seriously out of his depth, unfathomably stressed and unable to provide the service that he had suggested he could. For the record, he failed miserably and he soured the whole experience, I actually caught him later trying to laugh a long with me at the bar as I was joking around with the staff, I shot him a look of absolute enmity and loathing and was pleased to see the cold reaction land on his face like a bee-sting or a pale of cold water. I wanted that glare to turn his happiness into shame so, hoping he’d hoist himself upon his bogus reproach. I told Asher about this whole aspect of the show later and was pleased when separately other people pointed the twat out as being a pernicious prick who really wasn’t up to the task he was facing. He completely failed to cater to the audience at the venue that night and how anyone can employ or maintain a business with such a loathsome individual on board is absolutely beyond me. Fuck you, you fucking BBQ-wrecking, moronic fuck.
It was nice to see some of our good friends at the show, Amy Austen, our dearest pal. Matias Duarte, the man who if you’ve read my shit before you’ll know attends many great gigs with us and is always good fun to be around and of course, Tom Morris from Her Name is Calla before going to see UpCDownC…and as a somewhat parenthetical statement, it is always fucking beautiful to see our own Charlie Gardner anywhere, even if it was briefly later on when I was pretty twisted. It actually felt like a festival, we were in a pub in London but the atmosphere was one of a field in the middle of nowhere. Asher always puts together a good show and this event was no different. After eating, I was ready to start drinking and smoking again, which was excellent. I went back inside with Marty and we began tallying the bevvies in. Upon returning outside briefly, we were treated to an impromptu, acapella performance of a song called ‘I Wish’ by a man calling himself Star Dog Global, the song was mostly just the words “I wish you good in your life” repeated a lot. I begrudgingly bought a CD off him for £5, it has ONE FUCKING SONG on it! I did admire his hustle though.
Death To The Penguin and UpCDownC both seemed to win Marty over, he’s no idea about this whole weirdo math/post-rock scene, he just knows what he likes and whilst I use the words “funky” and “groovy” often as a negative, to Martin, these terms means something is endearing and somewhat danceable. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy these two bands, I just got something totally different from them. UpCDownC were the main band I wanted to watch besides Calla, though, realistically, Calla are one of about a hundred bands on the planet that I’d have missed a BBQ for. UpCDownC offered a diverse barrage of music offering up an eclectic and engrossing bricolage of sounds with impetus and energy as well as careful, meticulous, patience. I definitely want to watch them again, though I’m sure I’ve seen them before.
When it comes to patience, few bands offer the considered, slow-burning, musical release that Her Name is Calla provide. I first saw the band at ArcTanGent 2015 where people wept in the audience overcome by the weight of the music. I’m one for extremes and after discovering Calla they entered a rotation in my musical library that ebbs and flows between Low, Stars of The Lid, Sparklehorse and the likes of Nick Drake and Townes Van Zandt. Sometimes flying more towards the arena of bands like Joy Division and Dead Can Dance. The line-up of Her Name is Calla tends to rotate quite a bit but, this was the first gig I saw them play without Sophie whose notable absence was an understandable talking point at HQ. It still felt like Calla but, it was definitely very different. The band consumes the listener as the listener imbibes the sound. I was completely overthrown and I had a fucking great time. I feel like I’ll never tire of Her Name is Calla, they’re a band I could and likely will see dozens of times.
Once Calla finished the gruesome twosome of Jake the in violet and Echoes and Dan continued to storm into a barrage of songs, seemingly for my entertainment above all else. They played Mars Volta; I went nuts. Jake, Marty and myself headed home and rounded the night out getting fucked up and playing worms until like 8AM, despite having been up to more or less the same time the night before. As of writing, it’s been this schedule of 50 hours (one week 56) of work each week followed by a two day sesh or some music and then a very sleepy Sunday. Hopefully, that explains the necessity of good music in my brain and the delayed arrival of these notes. Thanks to Portals and all the lovely bands for the great night out as well as fellow Dee-Jays, Jake ‘The Gangle Murray’ and Dan Salter as well as all our close friends Amy, Hannah, Matias, Charlie and Martin for the great night and everyone who has been part of my seamlessly endless cycle of entropy as of late.