Monday, October 17, 2005

last assistant gig

God, this is the most inefficient band diary in the world, isn't it? Maybe I shouldn't even describe it as that anymore.

No, I will, I don't care, because it's cool that you might download one of our mp3s or come and see us because of this. But I'd better talk about the band a little, huh? OK. Assistant just played our third or fourth gig of the year at the Pavilion Tavern in Brighton, and I'm sick of playing that down because the Pav Tav is not exactly the most fashionable venue on the south coast. I like playing there, in fact I often have a better time playing there than I do elsewhere. It's really good fun.

It's basically a city centre pub which, besides specialising in impossibly cheap drinks promotions, hosts Brighton's biggest and longest running indie night, a gala of grown out mod cuts, Strokes songs and teenagers keen on being adult. It's actually hosted above the pub in a black cavernous room, thick with cigarettes and slippy with cider, or sticky with cider, I can't decide which. I've only been a few times over the years – you have to dance in a circle, you see...

The band nights are downstairs and are free and pretty popular. Over the last couple of years we've played there with countless other vaguely indie-sounding bands with whom we have a little but not too much in common. Sometimes we're arguably better than them and sometimes they're arguably better than us. This time round we played with Fractured, who play good-humoured, caustic punk-pop in the vein of The Fall or Television Personalities, and My Device, who we've played with before and do an impressive, lean hardcore thing.

We usually get there early and sit around waiting for ages to soundcheck, my stomach gently knotting and unknotting with impatience. This time round we soundchecked early and were given a leisurely 45 minutes to have a drink and relax before we went on, which is impossible before the soundcheck but not so difficult after. As usual we got a very pleasing turn-out from our mates which is always cool, one of the best reasons for being in a band.

When the time came, we played what I vainly think was perhaps our best set yet, or at least the most comfortable; half-relaxed and half-controlled. We managed to play quite a few new songs, including 'Sixteen Months', 'Getting Away With It', 'Nothing Else' and 'Known to Run', all of which went well. Best of the new stuff was 'Criticism' which is my favourite Assistant song now, and one that really sounds like us, I think. Elsewhere in the set, 'Drinking With You' always sounds a bit flat to me, but 'Get Away' is great fun to play and a good chance to do a bit of screaming and propulsive, rhythmic nodding back and forth.

We drag out the ending of 'Known To Run' at the end of the show and I suddenly notice that I'm really tired and pleased. Afterwards people tell me I looked a bit manic but into the music, which I guess is a good thing, embarassment aside. Coming off stage is really exciting, the best bit in a lot of ways, whether in anticipation of dutiful praise or just the sense that we did what we set out to do - which sounds worthy but I don't mean it like that. It's always thrilling.

I smile a lot and start making plans to sprain my ankle a few days later. I should have been a Catholic.

You can see the Assistant website here, listen to some oldish but goodish demos here, and find out about the next gig here, too, when we know about it.


Andrew Brown said...

Hi Jonathan, it maybe just me but I don't think the links to the mp3s are working any more.

jonathan said...

Ah, no, it's not just you. We host them at Vitaminic and the site keeps going up and down at the moment; I thought it had sorted itself out now but apparently not. Hmm.

Powerful Pierre said...

I like the way you enjoyed it so much you imagined there was a stage to come off!