Paddy Steer headlined an eclectic, but brilliant, line up in the Stockroom, Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody signs up for the space mission.
Paddy Steer should really be a national treasure.
His completely off the wall performances are the stuff of childhood fantasies. Home made synths, amps, effects boxes, things with knobs, dials and switches that even he probably doesn’t know what they all do.
The last time we saw him one of them blew up. It mattered not and he played on anyway, saying he’d fix it when he got home.
In the meantime he decided it was better not touched.
He is the perfect antidote to Trump’s racism, the Tory leadership election and pretty much anything else you can think of (save perhaps decent England performances at recent and current World Cups).
It’s pure escapism. If he can build a space ship, and we’re pretty sure he can given the nature of the engineering on stage, then we’ll be along for the ride. It’ll be fun whatever happens.
“Right, Let’s Go”. Bang on the dot of nine, Claire Welles is, well, not on stage, but off it. Her mic is set up in the middle of the floor. Even though it’s just her and a laptop, there’s so much gear on the stage from the other bands on tonight, there isn’t really any room for her.
She sips from a pint of Guinness in between her songs set to an eclectic electronic backing track. It’s beguiling and intriguing.
“I’ll do a downbeat song now. Just the one”. It’s called Shit for Brains. “It’s about me”. She’s being too hard on herself. It maybe downbeat, but along with the rest of the set it’s a terrific half hour of classy work.
She finishes with New Build. “It’s a bit of a banger”, says Claire. “That’s a big sell” calls out someone from the crowd. True, but it lives up to its billing. Banger indeed.
The Aleph wander on stage. They have two sewing machines in front of their synths. They play, literally, a couple of notes. “Wait” says one of them. And they pause.
It’s as much about the performance as it is about the music. We wait.
Sat across a dining table from each other the duo have created a kind of 50s sci-fi living room on the stage, complete with standard lamp and a projection behind them looking out of the window into a suburban garden.
We are taken back to the Boys Annual times when people predicted the future of flying cars and monorails criss crossing our cities. Had the authors of such stuff also been asked to predict what music would sound like in the, then distant, far off, 21st century, this is what would have been conjured up.
A feel good disco with a reggae tinge at times in which all is great and futuristic. It’s probably on repeat in the spaceship currently on its way to Mars.
The sewing machines fire up and create one of the most intriguing percussion instruments we’ve seen. Their whirring and repetitive beat is quite mesmerising. Full marks for ingenuity.
If The Aleph are our soundtrack into the future, then Paddy Steer is our pilot. He’s nuts, but we trust him. Then again anyone prepared to make the trip is nuts, so you may as well go with Paddy.
“I’ll just do my warm up”. Paddy noodles around, twiddling knobs and playing his drums for a while. Then the trademark illuminated crash helmet is donned and we’re in full blown Paddy orbit.
The Stockroom is more or less full by now and we’re loving it. It’s getting hot in here, too. But we guess that’s just to prepare us for the claustrophobic confines of his space ship.
He twists and turns, beats his drums and fiddles with his machines to create a frenzied dance infused cocktail of good karma. If there’s any better candidate right now for the leader of the universe, we’ve yet to see them. Take it on your bearded chin, Paddy. You were magnificent.
We cool ourselves down with a cold beer from the bar. Is there beer in space? We’ll bet Paddy could build a brewery too. Now, that would be a trip we’d sign up for.
Images by Getintothis’ Liam Kevan