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[personal profile] childeric
Yesterday was a triumph of a day.

Firstly, on impulse at lunchtime I went for a wander around Cargo on TCR and in their sale purchased a black mock-croc tea tray. Awesome or what? I mean, yes, okay, it's a tea tray, and at that you're all shaking your alternative-as-anything heads and sharing concerned glances of the 'Ohmygod, the bourgeois domesticity bug has bitten this one hard. What price integrity, rockstardom, scuzziness?' sort, I know, but come now, it's not just a tea tray, is it? It's a black, mock-croc tea tray, which is just cool on a stick if you ask me. I bet Ozzy has black mock-croc tea trays, or would want one if someone happened to mention them to him. Anyway, I'm terribly pleased, and keep glancing across to it as it sits next to me on my desk and smiling.

Getting back to yesterday, I was still flushed with the glory of my faux-saurian acquisition when I set out for Hammersmith to see QotSA. Now it's only a couple of months since the last time I saw / wittered about them, but hell, they're pretty much my fave band of the moment, so I was well up for a second fervid dollop of nice Mr Homme's psych. Before that, though, there was dinner.

Pre- gigs at the Odeon, I have made a habit of late of going for food and warm-up to the Stonemasons' Arms, which is not terribly far from the venue, but nonetheless manages to be off the beaten track and normally entirely beyond the brutish ken of the average gig-goer. Nothing could be nicer than stealing away from the slack-jawed slobbering black-clad masses picking disconsolately over their grim listeriaburgers and uninspiring six packs of flaccid lager and nipping instead to a really rather exciting gastro-pub that one happens to know for some truly superb food and a couple of nicely-kept pints of Pride (oo, tangent, but do you ever feel at some slightly subconscious level as though you're registering homosexual solidarity whenever you order a pint of Pride? Or is that just me? Fullers really ought to sponsor Pride, the event).

Anyway, yes, so dinner turned out to be lamb's heart on a bed of mash, shredded red cabbage and carrot with black pudding and a rich jus. I'm a pretty offal sort of person (or at least many people have said that they strongly connect my name with large helpings of tripe), but I've never consumed heart before, or at least only in haggis and that sort of thing where it's all chopped up and you can't really tell what it's like. It's very nice, though: a little like a less harsh and more meaty version of liver. I'd heartily recommend it, although I must admit that - in me at least - that odd intimacy of consuming such a vital and culturally-charged organ does start you down the road of thinking about your worst enemies and what it would be like to rip out their hearts and eat them. And then you realize that that thought is possibly not entirely healthy and begin to wonder if this sort of idle dinnertime speculation is actually quite possibly the way that Idi Amin Dada started out, or Jeffrey Dahmer. And then you compound it all by wondering which you'd prefer to be, given a choice between the two. But all that aside, it really is a wonderful pub and a gorgeous dish and I can't recommend it highly enough, especially before a gig.

So yes, I digress somewhat. As to the gig itself, I'm struggling to find an apt idiom to describe it, but I want to have done and post this before lunch so I won't stick around and polish my similes but just plunge splurgingly and impressionistically in. Basically, it was psychedelic as all hell: a set more trance-like and - oh dear - trippy than November's. I could come up with exotic synaesthetic descriptions caparisoned with chrysoprase and chalcedony and obsidian to describe very precisely and exactly the strange technicolour world that QotSA's mescaline-fuelled rock summons up, but it'd only sound like an accident with a few tabs more than are strictly good for one and a Boys' Book of Minerals, and you'd just chide me for a dubious hippy, so I shan't do that. Instead, I'd say that there were moments of almost supreme intensity, particularly in those songs which allowed themselves the luxury of a lengthy, mantra-like, build-up. But conversely, some of the strongest moments of the night were the fast stompers; hard, heavy songs from the first three albums thudding seventiesly into the audience's collective brain and inducing the sort of mass Dionysiac euphoria which I'm sure is the stuff of Nuremberg rallies and the like but which I've only ever experienced in heavy rock concerts.

Sure, there were points which were less entirely fantastic: the opening song was something plodding and new which I didn't know and which was entirely inappropriate, and there was a point about a third of the way in when things got a bit dull and samey, but the last half of the gig was superb and sublime, Caliban supping on honeydew and drinking the milk of paradise or that sort of rather carried-away (not to mention mixed) metaphor, you know what I'm like.

All-in-all, then, jolly splendid.
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April 2009

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