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I, LUDICROUS

Bull & Gate,
London 9/8/02

 

I, LUDICROUS > Gigography > Bull & Gate 9 Aug 2002
    Set list:

    We're the Support Band
    Another Beaten Man
    Graham Dude's Party
    Approaching 40
    Football 2002
    When I Worked at Textline
    Mans Man
    Where Were You
    Never Been Hit (By Mark E Smith)
    Valediction
    Preposterous Tales

Much as we like I, Ludicrous, who definitely have crossed from the right side of the Thames to get here, we sometimes find it hard to comprehend that anyone else would voluntarily spend a friday night waiting for two relatively unassuming middle-aged men from croydon to ascend the stage, one (Will Hung) the mic controller and the other (John Procter) clouting an electric guitar (as the key third member, the drum machine takes up where it left off last time and positively clobbers the room into the submission). But, although we were in the rare position of being the youngest people there, we were by no means the only people there, and that's important.

"A minor pop star / pulled a knife on me"

From 11 o'clock to a quarter to twelve, the stage was theirs. While there's a truckful of excellent I, Ludicrous songs that weren't attempted tonight (like da show-stopper "Trevor Barker"), a clutch of their "recent stuff" is of real high quality. Even apart from the last single, "approaching 40", with its distinctive chiming chords as will recounts the years left slipping through fingers, there are new songs like "Never Been Hit by Mark E. Smith" - a fantastic, and sincere, tribute to the original barking m.c, nicely embellished by spoken word journeys between each caustic verse in which smith is compared with the son of god himself, wandering in the wilderness. Slightly less abstruse, but as good, is "we're the support band": even though, for the first time in living memory, I, Ludicrous are actually headlining tonight, the scraggy strumming and percussion pound keep the toes tapping throughout.

Unlike last time, the keyboards remained virtually untouched, ruling out the mellow atmospherics of "Dinner For One" or "We Stand Around". When there was an attempt to deploy the plinketys, it's fair to say that next single, "Valediction", didn't really come off, but it showed enough intent to give the impression that on record they could yet find they've fashioned a killer pop song from the art of saying goodbye. Similarly, though another new song "Football English Style" bore the hallmarks of being a work in progress, they managed to work Tresor Lomano Lua Lua into the lyric, which even Blak Twang hasn't managed to do. The song also handily said everything that we've ever said in our editorials about the state of the beautiful game, coming to the same conclusion as we do below, i.e. "I prefer the Nationwide"...

As midnight approached and more trains home left without us (and as our employers started to bombard us with the usual gig-ruining phone calls), we knew that I, Ludicrous still had one more iron to pull out of the fire - and it was the hottest, the unforgettable "Preposterous Tales", a wry observation of the compulsive mendacity that was as endemic in 1987 as in 2002. it's still entirely believable - when Will, in his role as the cheery drunken narrator Ken McKenzie says "I once saw the Palace score four goals away from home", (John, in his guise as laconic observer, noting "Ken's been drinking heavily again") it's just as fanciful (nay, preposterous) a statement as when it crackled from our speakers listening to Radio 1 fifteen years ago. Unlike most who've played for the Palace over the intervening period, they are top men.

The vocals are flat, the singer's too fat
we're the support band

The riff's second hand, we got from The Damned
we're the support band

We're from out of town, our van's broken down
we're the support band

The guitar's out of tune, we're not very good
we're the support band

Our mates wouldn't come, they stayed in the pub
we're the support band
Every time that we play we've never been paid
we're the support band

Photos © Paul Lewis. Review © ilwtt.org.


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