GOODBYE

THE GOODBYE EP

I’m not going to write a load of individual blogs for these tracks. This will be my, and our, final ever post. These songs are my home recorded demos of what potentially would have ended up recorded properly by the whole band on album 3. Why not download them for free now and give them to a friend, lover or enemy as a parting gift?

THAMES FROST FAYRE 1814
The Thames used to freeze over periodically. Mini ice ages we had in the past apparently. When that happened, London folks held markets on the ice. Brilliant. This conjures up some evocative imagery so I delved in to my Sigur Ros-stealing songbook and penned this number. We opened with it at our last few gigs and I really thought we were on the form of our lives as a band. Classic TBOTB really. Long build up, harmony vocals, layered guitars. Bosh. I was looking forward to doing more of the electronica-tinged percussion elements to this that we’d started to introduce live. More synth stuff too. Piano at the forefront. This was definitely where we were headed.

ANYBODY’S GUESS
Another song we’d only very recently popped in to our live set. Maybe 2 or 3 outings. Blissfields, Bestival and maybe Isle of Wight I believe saw this in action. I was going for a kind of Talking Heads feel. Listening to lots of Field Music too which is obvious here I think. I predict album 3 would have been half slow-build, piano-led electronic things and half up-tempo semi-funk. Would that have worked? Who cares. A pretty political song (which was a rarity for us) talking about where and why we’ve p’raps gone wrong with our generation. Eat your heart out Billy Bragg.

MODERN LATIN
Elliott’s dad liked this one. A foot-tapper. Allowing our inner-funk out again. I blame Prince.

RAISE HIGH THE ROOFBEAM, CARPENTERS…
A little nod in the title to our good pals (and Ox & Elliotts other band) The Retrospective Soundtrack Players as they’d recorded a concept album about the ace novel ‘Catcher in the Rye’. ‘Raise High…’ is another short story that JD Salinger wrote and I thought it was a great post-rock song title so I cheekily pinched it. Another piano-led number with a bit of electronica thrown in. Indebt to Mogwai greatly here…especially their incredible Les Revenants soundtrack. This song was instrumental for a while too but that would have probably been too much of a rip-off so I flung some lyrics at it about THAT MOMENT. You know, the Eminen ‘Lose Yourself’ moment. P’raps we should have got Rhianna to guest on this. Then things might have turned out differently. The ending also sounds remarkably like that tune All Saints did for ‘The Beach’. TBOTB goes pop. We ended our set with it live a couple times in embryonic form and it went down well. Shame we never got to flesh this one out.

LITTLE MISTAKE
The only track out of this collection of demos that we didn’t get around to learning live. Not sure it would have worked but I liked the idea. Kind of Nick Cave meets Caribou (or that’s what I had in my head). Very vitriolic lyrics – again vaguely political….maybe this album would have been our ‘What’s Going On?’. Maybe not. The guitars on this were so treated and effect-laden that you can’t really tell they’re guitars. There definitely would have been more of that going on. Again – synth bass and sampled drums. A club banger with Calvin Harris would have certainly been our next natural progression. It wouldn’t.

RE-ENACTMENT
This got one live outing at an acoustic gig in a church supporting the wonderful Smoke Fairies. From the same place as ‘All Be Gone…’. A simple but emotional piano ballad. I would have loved to record a real string section for this. Lyrically about a parent who’s child dies before them but really for anyone who has lost someone. Another chirpy subject as always. S Club we were not.

So there you go. That’s it.

On behalf of the entire band (Elliott, Rox, Dave, Ox, Jack & Keef…) – and all who sailed in her in the past (Emily, JD, Maff, Matt, Fozzy, Cal…) plus more who got involved (The Dawn Chorus lot, the Pie & Vinyl chaps, Old Blacksmiths Studios, people who guested, sang or played with us, bands we supported on tour and who supported us…) I’d like to thank everyone who ever came to see us or showed us support of any kind. We had some incredible times that will stay with me for my entire life.

Thank you.

Christopher George Whitear.

The B of the Bang.

Signing off.

x

Thumbs Up

GIGS OF THE YEAR 2013

Straight in…..no messin’…..

#10) Retro Stefson – The Hope, Brighton

I think this was my fourth or fifth time seeing the Icelandic dance-pop-rock-funk-world-metal-r&b’ers. Normally that array of words together in a sentence would send me fleeing for the hills but, since I first saw these a few years back, I’ve been absolutely hooked and have spread the good word Stefson high and low. Flamenco dance-offs and directional jumping at a gig are not something I generally participate in. I’m happy to say, however, that three members of the Bang were in attendance and all of us were flinging ourselves around like knobs.

#9) The Fall – Clapham Grand

A big tick off the list to finally see the genius of M.E.S live. Couldn’t make out a single word he said all night and spent a great deal of time chuckling as he stalked round the stage turning amps up and down, hanging his coat over drum microphones and generally arsing about. A birthday pressie from Bangman Rhodesy and a great evening out all round. I even ‘strawpedoed’ a Smirnoff Ice. Something I haven’t done for a good 10 years. Good pub opposite The Grand too.

#8) Everything Everything/Dutch Uncles – Portsmouth Pyramids

Birthday related fun once again (this time from the wondrous Mrs W…). Dutch Uncles were on ace form (I particularly enjoyed the midi glockenspiel and ‘interesting’ dance moves from singer Duncan…). Everything Everything have certainly come a long way since seeing them at The Fat Fox pub a few years ago. Thought they were great earlier in the year (or was it last year?) at The Wedgewood Rooms and they just seem to get better every time I see them. Stadia beckon soon I reckon. A total treat to see my favourite ditty ‘Nasa is on Your Side’ performed live as well.

#7) Lanterns on the Lake – Southampon Joiners/Southsea’s Pie & Vinyl

Couldn’t really separate these two performances though they were a few months apart. I was on sound duty for the P&V one and it was probably my favourite instore performance they’ve had in there so far (…even though my shitty old mixing desk broke meaning the band were without reverb….not ideal for LotL…sorry…).Hazel, though, has a stunning voice which carried things along nicely and the close proximity in P&V really suited the intimate, dreamy atmosphere. The gig at The Joiners meant that the slightly heavier, more up-tempo songs on the new album could sound as big as intended and they were very friendly folks too which is always a bonus.

#6) The National – Alexandra Palace, London

I’ve technically ‘seen’ The National once before at the incredible  ATP festival they curated last year. However…it was at the end of my stag do. Three very…er…’powerful’ days forever etched in the mind (for good and bad reasons…I’m not sure I’ll ever recover…). Physically and mentally fatigued as I was, I perhaps didn’t fully enjoy the wonder of them live that first time round. For this one though, I made sure I was in full and rude health. They didn’t disappoint at all and the songs from the new album ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ really come in to their own live. Everyone seems to moan about Ally Pally as a venue as well but I really enjoyed and thought the sound was great inside.

#5) Olafur Arnalds/Douglas Dare – Brighton All Saints Church

A funny old gig for a couple of reasons. Firstly – it came at the end of a day xmas shopping in Brighton whereby we had all our newly purchased presses nicked whilst helping a cyclist after she’d had a horrible crash. PEOPLE. The gig itself though was in a spectacular setting and the calming music of piano, cello and violin, often in almost complete darkness, was incredible…UNTIL…utter dickheads with iPhones aloft, flashes on, and annoying camera sounds clicking away almost ruined every moment you felt like you could completely drift away. Could have been number one gig of the year otherwise. PEOPLE. WHAT A BUNCH OF BASTARDS.

#4) John Grant/Asgeir Trausti – Cambridge Junction

After discovering Icelander (I know….just for a change…) Asgeir Trausti last year, I was overjoyed to see that he was the support for the splendid John Grant on his UK tour. Turns out, John assisted in translating Asgeir’s debut album Dýrð í dauðaþögn (which is absolutely ace) into English for worldwide release next year. Both artists were amazing, chatty between songs and on top form (and I always enjoy a visit to Cambridge…mainly for Fopp and Nana Mexico’s). I am also everso partial to Mr Grant’s little shimmy betwixt synth and mic on the dancier songs.

#3) David Byrne & St Vincent – End of the Road

Lots of great performances at this cracking festival. David Byrne’s announcement over the PA prior to taking to the stage asking people not to take loads of photos or videos and to enjoy the music ‘in the moment’ (see Olafur above…) was a brilliant touch that i’m hoping will catch on. Annie Clark of St Vincent is one of my fave guitarists (and people in general) so to see her solo stuff combined with classic Talking Heads numbers, all played by a choreographed brass band is something to behold indeed. Electric.

#2) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Brighton Dome/Optimus Primavera

It’s Nick Cave for fucks sake.

#1) Danny Elfman/The BBC Symphonic Orchestra – Royal Albert Hall

I never thought I’d see the day. One of the greatest living composers (to my mind anyway) responsible for some of the most iconic film and TV music of recent times performing live. With a full orchestra. Themes from Edward Scissorhands, BeetleJuice, Batman, Corpse Bride and a host of others all played out in the beautiful surroundings of the Albert Hall. Simple images of concept drawings and early sketches displayed behind added to the uniqueness of the performance (though I heard one idiot complain afterwards that ‘the visuals could have been better’…WATCH THE ORCHESTRA YOU CLUNGE!). Even Helena Bonham Carter popped up to belt out a rendition of Sally’s Song from Nightmare Before Xmas to rapturous applause and Tim Burton said a few moving words about Danny at the end. Incredible.

Special mentions go to the following gigs:

* At our local legendary venue The Wedge – British Sea Power, Villagers, Johnny Marr and Willy Mason

* Efterklang, Sigur Ros (both of whom are only not in the top ten cos I’ve seen them before play better gigs), MONEY, Bo Ningen & PINS all at the amazing End of the Road (maybe my favourite UK festival)

* Deerhunter (‘we are a PROFESSIONAL ROCK OUTFIT’), Explosions in the Sky and Blur at Optimus Primavera (a shining example of why foreign festivals are often much better than our own)

* Snorri Helgason – KEX Hostel, Iceland

So there you have it. Albums of the year done. Gigs of the year done. What would your choices be?

PERHAPS THIS?????? TONIGHT!!!!!!!! COME AND FESTIVE IT RIGHT UP WITH US!!!!!!!!!

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A CREEPY CHRISTMAS w/ Ralfe Band, Mary Epworth, The B of the Bang & Joe Black

MERRY XMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE B OF THE BANG

xxx