Bull & Gate,
London 9/10/04


I, LUDICROUS > Gigography > Bull & Gate 9 Oct 2004

I, Ludicrous at the "Perverted by Mark E" evening at the Bull & Gate, October 9, 2004

"But - who is Trevor Barker?" enquired a bemused Italian, smoking a cigar.

It's a good question. Since we were first introduced to the Chairman of Carpets International many years ago, Barker seems to be everywhere; swigging Bacardi breezer in the All Bar One; burning motorway tarmac, cooled by a novelty fan, satellite technology perched on the passenger seat; an itinerant expert, on nothing in particular. Barker is just one example of the prescient Ludicrous muse. Minutes later, the crowd will acclaim C2s in Vans, another anthem for the mentally dispossessed.

Ludicrous are part a five-pronged bill for a Fall tribute and, appropriately nough, the main bar of the Bull & Gate was crammed with "Mad Mock Goth" beforehand.

John rakes the fretboard, and "Sparta FC" commences, evoking the fierce blast of "Bloody Proud", bristling with energy in its terrace-like chant, and soon the assembled fishing journalists are bouncing jauntily in the aisles "Good Evening" greets Will, and John feeds the nagging chord and beatbox of this classic from the Ludicrous archive, restating the unique "light and bitter" recipe of the South London duo. Then, as Will announces (prematurely) "Goodnight", the whimsical side of the Group emerges in a new track, the "Highland League", a sharply-observed sketch of obscure Scottish football, John providing a neat Gaelic harmony on the chorus. "Lobster!" someone shouts - not tonight!

Encouraged, perhaps, by the generous reception, Will and John deliver more fresh material, "Finding Things Out About John", an intriguing portrait of the Programming wizard which, as the band approach their third illustrious decade, finds Will in gentle, reflective mood.

Back to favourites: "Textline", & John's glorious backing roar the-saur-us con-trol, offers us a career in indexing, abstracting and thesaurus control, in order to meet those "funny little men: Rosie, Clarkie, Ken and Glenn", now safely absorbed into the band legend.

"I Am The Man", yet another new composition, explores the dubious fame surrounding the fallen TV presenter, John Leslie, currently cruising Barnes in a convertible. Will unleashes a scathing lyric - the "bitter" side to the Ludicrous pint - and, like the towering "Stuck in a Lift with Noel Edmonds", one senses an angry pulse beneath the smooth production.

Next, the thumping onslaught of "Never Been Hit By Mark E. Smith" reverberates around the Bull & Gate, and we are reminded of the occasion. Several members of the Italian contingent seem entranced by the searing riff, and extraordinary vortex of noise, driving reclusive individuals to correctly identify 42 abstract Fall lyrics. The simple truth is, you don't get bands, or gigs, like this is in Palermo.

For the finale, Matthias from Woog Riots lends his growling bass to "Trevor Barker", and the expanded Ludicrous blast out the monster riff, and we are left to ponder the identity of the "Businessman of the Year".

Alas, everything must end; but, as Will begs elsewhere: "Please, say goodbye, don't you cry, like a Moron".

p.s. fittingly, as the fans meander out into Kentish Town, the punk spirit is briefly rekindled: Jowe Head plus band - minus van and equipment - crawls into a poky office, and orders a minicab, revitalised by the performance (not least a stunning version of "Choc-Stock"), which would require a review of its own.

Words Jon Bedwell; pictures Jeff Higgott

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