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Blog: Whither Incompetence?

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We went to see some bands last night - not sure who they were, we were in CAMDEN and just popped in on the off-chance. The first one we saw were fairly standard Heavy Metal (lots of head-banging, lots of GROWLING by Perturbed Teens) and the third were all baseball bats and feedback unpleasantness, but the second was the very EPITOME of Local Band. They'd bought a coachload down with them, they were very obviously well rehearsed, MATES danced down the front, the songs were all called "Losing You" or "Out Of Control" (straight from the My First Song Title catalogue), and halfway through the plump lead singer yelped "MOTHER FCUKER!" and we all laughed and said "Oh, bless!"

It was a jolly evening and all quite sweet, but what struck me most was how COMPETENT they all were, and indeed how COMPETENT ALL Local Bands I have seen for YEARS have been. It used to be that you'd get the Popular Local Bands turn up, with their coachloads, mates down the front and Girlfriend With A Camera, and you'd EXPECT them to be well rehearsed and dull, but there'd usually be at least one much less popular, much less rehearsed, and much more EMBITTERED little combo on before them who had BIG IDEAS and KRAZY SCHEMES but who'd get ignored because they were so hopelessly ramshackle.

Can you guess, gentle reader, what sort of band I always used to be in? All right, who laughed? "USED" is the correct word, sod off! Lots of those sort of bands would be rubbish, but every now and then you'd see one who took their lack of technical ability and made it an ADVANTAGE, unhindered by what you "should" do they'd give you something new and EXCITING and FUN.

I haven't seen a band like that for YEARS. I've seen cack-handed ramshackle "twee" bands, usually at Fortuna Pop! nights, but they always give off a distinct air of PRETENDING to be much less EPT than they actually are - if you've been in the same band for five years and STILL can't play any of the songs then you CEASE to be endearing. What I miss are the bands on their first gig out of town who haven't got a CLUE how to do it like everybody else, and do their own thing by accident. Where are they, eh? Whither incompetence?

posted 26/5/2003 by MJ Hibbett

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