Endless Boogie at 100 ClubSupport: Workin' Man Noise Unit
September 17, 2017 at 100 Club
Promoter: Baba Yagas Hut
What the hell am I doing on Oxford St on a Sunday night? I have work early in the morning and I don’t even live in London. Well it’s supposedly a day of rest, according to that funny old book I read in school, and if the Lord really did sit back and chill on a Sunday then surely the tunes they would have been choogling. Yes we are gathered here to experience Endless Boogie, Led by the titanium fringed uber dude Paul Major, this is the band with the Ronseal guarantee – you want guitar powered rhythms? they got em. In spades. For hours.
Imagine if Quo were ever hipster, cool and uninterested in pop music, imagine if The Grateful Dead weren’t shit, imagine if Hendrix was still here. Got it? Good. Now: about the support band: Reading’s Workin’ Man Noise Unit are like listening to Fugazi being played through a Dyson Air Blade. The singer, stage right, is leaning over a set of electronics that seem only to function as something for him to hang onto as they are clearly stuck on a mega distort / Hawkwind whooooosh setting. Hang on, three songs in we have another singer – but he still sounds like Ian McKaye.
The quite elderly crowd are mildly baffled by all this short sharp noise, but the enthusiasts down the front are VERY enthusiastic. Blimey, now the first singer’s got a saxophone out. You can’t hear it, mind, but sax in punk rock is always a very good. I’ve been very flippant but actually WMNU make a fucking great racket; yes they are in the thrall of Fugazi, but there are plenty of great noisy riffs and catchy shouty bits along with the bonus electronic assault; so by the time they’re finishing, and my second cider is kicking, in I’m have a great time.
“No boogie tonight we only make art now” is Endless Boogie’s witty introduction…and then they boogie mightily into ‘Vibe Killer’. It is both an unexpectedly note perfect album version and somehow gnarlier. Then ‘Back in ‘74’ rolls out, you know, the one about Kiss and the kite festival, and things get looser and longer and groovier – and Paul expands at length (what else would he do?) about it afterwards. He comes across wise and garrulous.
After that I couldn’t tell you what they played. There were songs, stops and starts, but this is guitar trance music – smile and nod, smile and nod. The rest of the band seem purely there to service the boogie gods; the bassist, Marc, plays with his back to us, baseball cap down over his eyes, lost and indifferent to onlookers, Harry the drummer just a metronome, blank eyed and pale, the rhythm guitarist Jesper has the dead-eyed stare and demeanour of a man contemplating murder, but then somebody has knocked his beer over. The real revelation, live, is Paul’s lead guitar playing. Like a mix of Neil Young and Jimi Hendrix his style is part wrestling match, part conjuring.
Meanwhile the drunk guy next to me gabbles excitedly in my ear – smile and nod, smile and nod.
Like I say, I don’t keep a note of what tracks they play, but what generally happens is Paul drawls a few lines then the crowd whoops as the band set off on another bloody massive choogle, noodle heads-down guitar exploration. Ladies are dancing, arms are waved, beers are chugged, but mostly it’s a slow, hypnotic group frug, don’t pee on my rug, dude-tastic rocking hoe down. In retrospect I am disappointed that the band don’t play any of my favourites from Long Island, but whilst trapped in the drone-wall of riffage and rhythms you can happily surrender any concerns about the set-list.
And then they stopped and I went home. It took fucking ages but I was happy at the end of it.
Do you see what I did there?