Thursday, 18 March 2010


Mono (The Band, not The Cafe)

The support band are from Edinburgh. Two girls playing guitar, one of them singing. Accompanied by three guys, another guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer. The singer is cheerful, talks to the audience a bit between songs. The lead guitarist smoulders, the shorter of the two, but by far moodier. Playing her guitar, her central parted long hair hanging over her face. Once or twice she’ll catch the face of a friend in the crowd, and slowly, carefully, the determined little pout transforms, a smile blossoming, shy and warm, before she goes back to the business of rock!

There is a couple sitting at a table in the corner, to the right of the stage. He is bald, a little beard, glasses, looks thin, but fit with it. She is shorter, a little heavier, but in a feminine curvy way. He wears a caramel coloured jacket, jeans. She wears a burgundy top, with a lace style white short sleeved cardigan on top of that. On either side of them, the odd couple, the friends who have tagged along. The four are laughing, having a good time, photos are being taken. He is heavy, perhaps unfortunate looking (not a million miles from myself, in case anyone thinks I sound cruel), a worn black band t-shirt. She has a regal nose, curly shoulder length hair, a nice smile, a black top with a plunging neck (and I mean plunging!). As the photos are taken the band shirt guy makes a comment about the cleavage, she tugs at her top, buffs them up with pride. A few more photos taken, some more comments, culminating in him leaning across, hand on her knee, talking in her ear. It all seems good fun. But when he sits down, she looks uncomfortable, emotions mixing across her face, her arms across her chest, a little tug at the top to cover herself, a little squirming. Later when I look over she has gone, later again, when I’ve moved with the crowd, between support band and main band, and I spot her again, sitting beside band shirt, so whatever was said before must be forgotten. Though at the end of the night she is standing talking to the guy with the glasses, who she seemed to be more friends with than the others. I wonder about blind dates, a girl friend of the guy with glasses, set up with a guy friend of his girlfriend? Who knows and that’s the last I see of them.

With support band done the crowd moves, some go to the bar, some were friends of the support band, and I move closer to the stage. I don’t like this venue; there is something horrible about the light, too much red light, which my camera seems to particularly dislike, giving some dreadful results. I find myself standing beside a particularly petite girl, a couple of bags sitting on the floor by her feet, which seems a bit rude so close to the stage, especially since when her friend returns the pair stand in protective circle creating a dead space that close to the band. But it’s a fairly immobile audience, and they get away with it, mostly. It’s a strange night, I feel strangely disorientated, it seems like I am surrounded by people chattering away in Spanish and Japanese – though between the volume of music, and ear plugs for my own good, everything feels muffled and dislocated. The two girls with the bags are Spanish, though in some ways are polar opposites of each other. The first is wearing a little black dress, has her hair carefully cut in layers to striking effect, she is skinny, wearing striped green tights, flat shoes. She has her nose pierced, two small, delicate rings tight together through one nostril, she wears an extravagant black butterfly ring on her hand. She has an agitated, expressive face, bursting into quick grins, little gasps of joy at the music. Turning to her friend once or twice she brings thumb and forefinger together against her lips and kisses away, that curious expression of excellence that you sometimes see people make on TV. She brings out a chunky camera once Mono are on, reaching over other people’s heads, tilting the screen, so she can take pictures. A couple of times she jumps up and down with delight. Her friend stands there, a hooded top over an average looking blouse, her hair cut shorter, perhaps the feminine end of boyish. She stands with her hands in her jean pockets, nodding at her friends comments.

Like any gig these days there are a load of people with cameras. The Spanish girl, another short haired girl, the two of them vying for space once or twice. Then the pro, the guy who has the pass that says he is a photographer, not that it appears to grant him much benefit that anyone else standing there has. I take photos too, trying to get over that red light, waiting for other lights, trying different settings. Periodic arms reach by me, cameras wielded for quick shots. Then there is the guy in the green t-shirt, off to the side of the stage, came down after a compact crowd was already in place, and is annoyed about it. He stands there snapping away. Till midway, he plunges to the stage, seeming to physically grab a couple of young guys with long hair and shove them out of his way. The security guy stands back, off the side of the stage chewing gum, for him it’s a quiet night, and nothing comes of this guy acting like an ass. He goes back to where he was standing before, throwing his camera on the speaker top, grabbing his drink, growling at the world – how dare it get in his way. Towards the end of the set he comes back, this time aiming for mid-stage, brushing roughly by me, nearly tumbling over the girl’s bags, drawing dirty looks. He takes a few snaps, having shoved the folk that were standing there out of his road. Again that done he returns to his place, this time practically walking over the bags, this time bumping into me. The chippier of the two Spanish girls is waving her arms in the air, shouting at him. He gets back to where he was and glares back with that expression that says, come on, make something of it, I’ll fight you. Our attentions return to the band, ignoring this asshole.

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