Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven


Posted by in May's Magazine


Ryan McGoverne, photographer in residence at The Leither magazine, recommends a night of glorious bands with bad names – Ali Robertson excluded – because that may well be his real name. The Leither. Never knowingly offends.

At the recent Leither 50th birthday bash, six hours into the free bar, The Laird and Protempore were to be found rolling around the floor giggling like school girls, whilst Gordon the Cartoonist belted out folk songs and the Ex-Editor danced the jig of a freed man. In a quiet corner of the bar the new Leither supremo and I were stroking our bristled chins trying to recall the names of Godspeed You! Black Emperor albums. We are, you see, unashamed musos, and as such are a little excited about an upcoming event during the Leith Festival. A gig to satisfy the wants of fellow chinstrokers, but, in the spirit of the festival, also a chance for the community to come and witness something very out of the ordinary.

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To describe the nature of this event, I shall conjure up the spirit of Jack Vettriano. My summation of this grumpy Scot is that he is fairly good at colouring in, without going over the lines. But, fatally, the grizzled dauber believes his own PR and rankles at the modern art world’s refusal to acknowledge him. Art, true art, is organic, it needs artists to continually challenge what we accept as art, always to push forward, else it will die. Vettriano cynically traces imagery, soaks it in saccharine nostalgia, and punts it out en masse to the Athena poster industry. Without wanting to sound too hyperbolic, the misogynistic fraudster is anti-art incarnate. Look a little deeper into modern art, beneath this one dimensional sheen, and you will have your breath taken away.

There is a point to this, beyond simple Vettriano bashing – fun though that is – it illustrates the parallels between art and music. For every Coldplay (and for Coldplay, read Jack Vettriano) there is a powerful undercurrent of bands making exciting, innovative, breathtaking, new music. Unsung artists who ensure music’s survival by continued experimentation, testing the paradigms of what music can be. Within this musical subculture, there is a further metaculture. The Noise Scene. And it is coming to a festival, namely Leith, near you.

Noise nights are a riot of unpredictability. Aggressively uncommercial, wilfully arty, and deliberately unpretentious. They are hosted at venues without lighting rigs, without dry ice – preferably without a stage – on a dance floor peopled with folk who have no intention of dancing. There is no attempt to prettify what is going on, or to distract from it, no pigeon-holing, no genres, no uniforms. It is purely about making noise. Extreme noise in some cases. The subtlest ethereal noise in others. Crucially, it is about making new noises.

You are probably aware that this year, more than ever, Leith Festival needs your support, as do our young trailblazers. On June 9th at Queen Charlotte Rooms you are guaranteed a night of contemporary music, the likes of which this festival has never hosted before. You may hate it with a passion or you may fall head over heels in love with it, unlike Vettriano and Coldplay, you will not forget it.

Giant Tank: Present- Muscletusk, Wounded Knee, Scrim, Dora Doll & Ali Robertson.
Queen Charlotte Rooms, 8pm Tuesday 9th July. Entry £5. www.myspace.com/usurperr

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