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Bob Log III, The Ruby Lounge, 24/4/2014

“N. Senada’s (Bavarian Composer -1907-1993) “Theory of Obscurity” states that an artist can only produce pure art when the expectations and influences of the outside world are not taken into consideration.”

I shouldn’t have to be writing this because you should have been there yourself. Luckily for you, Bob is a natural phenomenon that, like some integral celestial body circles the Planet Earth every year, so you can ensure you don’t miss him next time. Though maybe it’s us that orbits him. Anyway until next year…

Bob Log III isn’t that lanky guy that soundchecked. Bob was shot from an Arizona flag emblazoned cannon out of a Jack White nightmare or Evel Knievel wet dream into being. Bob knows he’s the finest thing in all Creation and has deigned to share his preordained greatness with you; so clap your tits, sit on his knee, put shit on his leg and your boob in his scotch – walking through the audience, balloons tethered to headstock and bridge, Bob plays his way to the stage…

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“He’s looking right at me!” Balloons, purty ladies, hard liquor. He’s a professional. He lives in a car.

Despite an appeal via Twitter, no one brought along a rubber dinghy tonight for Bob to surf the tide of bodies, so instead he’s offering to hand out balloons to those who sufficiently lose their shit during each number. It’s shit-kicking, boot stomping Rock N’ Roll via an amphetamine addled spectre of the Delta Blues. While there’s undeniably a tongue lodged firmly into a chewing tobacco-browned cheek beneath that visor, he’s in no way defamatory about the tradition he’s entered into and expanded upon. The Dadaesque shroud of anonymity might be a concession to initially wrong-foot and ultimately win over any cynics who think they’ve heard this all before, but it’s better not to over-think things in such terms – there’s a gathering as diverse in age and cultural affiliation as I’ve seen at any gig in recent memory, all involuntarily entering into a rhythmic conniption fit for a guy with a telephone receiver jammed through the visor of a glittery crash helmet playing a style of music over a Century old.

Head jerking upward, side to side on the offbeat while his fingers molest the fretboard of his Silvertone archtop or electric Banjo at warp speed, Bob cuts an awesome if uncanny figure. There’s something about the inhuman helmet in juxtaposition with the skin of the plunging neckline created by the open zipped jumpsuit. He’s like an action figure or cartoon character – nothing should be inferred as being moulded or pencilled-in beneath that mask other than a fully formed, Universally understandable persona; this redneck overstuffed with a bravado that he unwaveringly, conceitedly believes you’re in complete agreement with. This assumption makes him hilarious, but also honest, as his proficiency with his instrument turns out to be undeniably awe inspiring.

Bob takes us on a travelogue of his back catalogue, interspersed with the standards (‘Boob Scotch’, Clap Your Tits’, ‘LogBomb’) and self aggrandising between-song banter that never fails to land a gut-punch guffaw, before languidly swaggering off through the crowd the way he entered, playing complex riffs with ease before disappearing through a backroom door. The music continues unabated, before Bob reappears stage left from having presumably passed throgh a backstage corridor without breaking his stride to complete this Kaufmanesque encore or ‘nonecore’, if you will.

Bob Log III must stoke doubt and embarrassment in innumerable affectation laden, self important, pouting musicians with the conceptual realisation, technical prodigiousness and unfettered joy of his act. At least he would, had he not simply been shot from an Arizona flag emblazoned cannon out of a Jack White nightmare or Evel Knievel wet dream into being. You aren’t even on his radar, chump.

Next time I’m taking everyone I know, and cajoling those I don’t, starting with you.

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The Sunday Song Poem #9 ‘Feeling Beside Myself’ Buddy Raye

Despite the papal canonisation today (broadcast in 3D to select cinemas and News channels, anyone catch that, did they have that swinging, incense lantern flying out atcha?), I feel like I should eschew the subject since I kind of already did the Holy Song Poem last Sunday. Not only that, but try as I might I couldn’t find a Song Poem for a Pope, which I find hard to believe having encountered a fair few about Richard Nixon, Elvis, Christopher Columbus, and Sexploitation actors turned male midwives. So instead I decided to just go straight for the crazy, literally in today’s case. – See more at: http://joup.co/sunday-song-poem-9-feeling-beside-buddy-raye/#sthash.UjekUZsG.dpuf

The (Easter) Sunday Song Poem #8 ‘The Man Called Jesus’ By Unknown Artist

if you condensed every Metalhead’s efforts at creating the most unnerving dirge the Universe has ever heard, they probably couldn’t outdo the efforts of the unknown musicians who conjured-up today’s Song Poem. While we know its lyrics were penned by a Sgt Kenneth E. Green, this composition, discombobulating warped-vinyl or not, likely out-ugly’s anything he ever witnessed on the battlefield. Behold… – See more at: http://joup.co/the-sunday-song-poem-8-the-man-called-jesus/#sthash.cD9Tw8M9.dpuf

Transcript of Michael Stipe’s Nirvana Induction Speech at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Good evening. I’m Michael Stipe and I’m here to induct Nirvana into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

When an artist offers an idea, a perspective, it helps us all to see who we are. And it wakes up, and it pushes us forward towards our collective and individual potential. It makes us—each of us—able to see who we are more clearly. It’s progression and progressive movement. It’s the future staring us down in the present and saying, “C’mon, let’s get on with it. Here we are. Now.”

I embrace the use of the word “artist” rather than “musician” because the band Nirvana were artists in every sense of the word. It is the highest calling for an artist, as well as the greatest possible privilege to capture a moment, to find the zeitgeist, to expose our struggles, our aspirations, our desires. To embrace and define a period of time. That is my definition of an artist.

Nirvana captured lightning in a bottle. And now, per the dictionary—off the Internet—in defining “lightning in a bottle” as, “Capturing something powerful and elusive, and then being able to hold it and show it to the world.”

Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl were Nirvana. The legacy and the power of their defining moment has become, for us, indelible. Like my band, R.E.M., Nirvana came from a most unlikely place. Not a cultural city-center like London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or even New York—or Brooklyn—but from Aberdeen, Washington in the Pacific Northwest, a largely blue-collar town just outside of Seattle.

Krist Novoselic said Nirvana came out of the American hardcore scene of the 1980’s—this was a true underground. It was punk rock, where the many bands or musical styles were eclectic. We were a product of a community of youth looking for a connection away from the mainstream. The community built structures outside of the corporate, governmental sphere, independent, and decentralized. Media connected through the copy machine, a decade before the Internet, as we know it, came to be. This was social networking with a face.

Dave Grohl said, “We were drop-outs, making minimum wage, listening to vinyl, emulating our heroes—Ian MacKaye, Little Richard—getting high, sleeping in vans, never expecting the world to notice.”

Solo artists almost have it easier than bands—bands are not easy. You find yourself in a group of people who rub each other the wrong way, and exactly the right way. And you have chemistry, zeitgeist, lightning in a bottle and a collective voice to help pinpoint a moment, to help understand what it is that we’re going through. You see this is about community and pushing ourselves. Nirvana tapped into a voice that was yearning to be heard.

Keep in mind the times: this was the late 80’s, early 90’s. America, the idea of a hopeful, democratic country, had been practically dismantled by Iran-Contra, by AIDS, by the Reagan/Bush Sr. administrations.

But with their music, their attitude, their voice, by acknowledging the political machinations of petty, but broad-reaching, political arguments, movements and positions that had held us culturally back, Nirvana blasted through all that with crystalline, nuclear rage and fury. Nirvana were kicking against the system, bringing complete disdain for the music industry, and their definition of corporate, mainstream America, to show a sweet and beautiful—but fed-up—fury, coupled with howling vulnerability.

Lyrically exposing our frailty, our frustrations, our shortcomings. Singing of retreat and acceptance over triumphs of an outsider community with such immense possibility, stymied or ignored, but not held down or held back by the stupidity and political pettiness of the times. They spoke truth, and a lot of people listened.

They picked up the mantle in that particular battle, but they were singular, and loud, and melodic, and deeply original. And that voice. That voice. Kurt, we miss you. I miss you.

Nirvana defined a moment, a movement for outsiders: for the fags, for the fat girls, for the broken toys, the shy nerds, the Goth kids from Tennessee and Kentucky, for the rockers and the awkward, for the fed-up, the too-smart kids and the bullied. We were a community, a generation—in Nirvana’s case, several generations—in the echo chamber of that collective howl, and Allen Ginsberg would have been very proud, here.

That moment and that voice reverberated into music and film, politics, a worldview, poetry, fashion, art, spiritualism, the beginning of the Internet, and so many fields in so many ways in our lives. This is not just pop music—this is something much greater than that.

These are a few artists who rub each other the wrong way, and exactly the right way, at the right time: Nirvana. 

GLOOM BALLOON: FIX THE SUNSHINE – A NEGATIVE NARRATIVE INTERVIEW

Nothing feels as bad as the bad in which you stab your own flag, somehow jump reality’s rails and run in the shadows parallel to everyone else. You can hardly accept your own face as yours in the mirror. Nothing you loved is of any comfort anymore. Your head is empty, save for being mildly terrified for the entirety of the time you’re awake, and you find no respite at night. You realise that if things don’t change, your position among the living is untenable. The only hope you have is in knowing a diametrically opposing disposition once existed. Writing this, I’m reminded of once being incongruously perturbed by a deflating helium balloon bobbing ominously a couple of inches above the carpet, it’s residual static attracting cat hairs to its dulled and wrinkling skin. Gloom Balloon’s ‘You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Disaster/Fix The Sunshine Pts 1-7 (An Ode To Bill Doss)’, is an elegiac soundtrack to a sun-dappled nervous breakdown and showered a flourish of candy-coloured kisses upon my auditory cortex when I discovered it at the end of last year. In the dead confetti of early January, I solicited interviews with its three principal architects about the conception, aesthetic and assembly of the undetected Best Record of 2013.

http://anegativenarrative.com/#/blog/gloom-balloon/