And so to Talking Heads, in Southampton, to see the excellent Mr Hillage and Ms Giraudy, better known as System 7/ Mirror System.
First, Talking Heads. We’d never been here before, but wish we had. A lovely little pub at the front and a small venue at the back. Good beer, pretty good sound and great staff. The punters…. well, people like us. A kind gentleman even offered Mrs Oblique some of his coffee. Seriously. What more can you ask?
Next, the band. They did two sets: Mirror System, the ‘ambient’ face, and System 7, more full-on. For those who have never heard of them, they could be labelled as electronica or trance or techno, but labels are always very dodgy in music. I love them: they have lush sounds, banging beats, chest-rattling bass and even guitar. Steve Hillage played with Gong and was later a ‘guitar hero’, but always stays in the present. They seem to enjoy the (very positive) audience. They must do, to play such a tiny venue.
Finally, the quibble, and hence the title of this post. We managed to find a couple of stools, but so often we have to stand. I don’t dance, apart from some apologetic dad dancing. I want to listen to the music and immerse myself in it and the lights. Standing uncomfortably doesn’t help my enjoyment. This so often happens at small venues now (and I’ve been to a few.) I guess it has come out of the 80s/90s rave scene. Most people don’t seem to mind, and I remember the 70s equivalent of the mosh pit, where young men charged down to the front of the stage. Even then I wanted to sit and enjoy the band in my own way. No, it’s not that I can’t let myself go.
But this is a very minor quibble and I am aware that System 7 could be labelled as electronic dance music. We had a great evening, and I even got to meet Jonny Greene… a man who has done a huge amount for alternative music. More on that and Gong later, you lucky people. And to top it all…. Soft Machine Legacy are playing at Talking Heads in March. That must mean something to somebody apart from me.
Photograph from System 7 Facebook page; please alert me to any copyright issues.