The Night Club. A club at night. A nighttime club. Its a concept that I, Galmorphagorph, have grappled with of late, and one that I’ve only recently begun to understand. While perching on a shallow wall to feed on a wild local city-bird, I noticed a small group of scantily dressed young women blithely stumbling into the open road. They loudly called to their friends behind them ‘We’re going to Po’s!’. It wasn’t until much later that I realised that they were NOT in fact making a startlingly frank and public statement of intent to participate in communal defecation. They were, however, referring to one of a few ‘Night Clubs’ that occupy various cavernous cellars around Bath. They are cold and sparsely decorated, their sins hid by mood-lighting and ear-splitting music. During Halloween I was able to visit a few of these places, passing undetected and trying my best not to kill anyone. Halloween makes me paranoid. Too many Humans are dressed too similarly to my various galactic enemies. Night Clubs appear to be places that young people go to to quite literally loose their minds. They enter these dark and smelly rooms and ply themselves with elixir that drives them insane. As their numbers increase, they coalesce into a pile of writhing sweaty flesh as near as possible to the thundering speakers. They trade saliva and fight and flail and scream half-formed thoughts at the top of their lungs. Some older men stand at the periphery of the shifting meat-pile, staring hawkishly and hornily as the nubile perform their demented sex-rituals. They do this every night. These places are full to capacity every night. Humanity is, of course, Doomed.
I was drawn however to one of Bath’s less obtrusively evil venues, The Nest. Nestled, as it is, at the end of a shallow crescent of picturesque Georgian townhouses, its graffiti’d walls and well engineered sloppiness gives it a certain ineffable quality. I’m told this is what ‘Cool’ is; like getting a tattoo of an old cartoon character, or being terse and passive aggressive towards people for no reason. I can certainly relate to the latter. The musical docket featured a series of Female-Led bands. An attempt to address, perhaps, a gender disparity in what i’ve observed in most facets of human existence. Given that we are all merely children of astronomical cosmic luck, the notion that gender equality isn’t already an iron-clad clause in humanity’s social contract frankly eludes me. There is clearly much growing up to be done, let’s hope Earth isn’t destroyed before you do.
I arrived early so my cloaking device could easily blend me into the corner, emitting a glandular steam that temporarily confuses the human senses in order to pass by the lady at the door. I, Galmorphagorph, do not pay entry fees. I couldn’t help but notice upon my arrival, that a bucket was sitting in the middle of the floor collecting a steady stream of leaking water from the ceiling. A plastic catchment pouch had been constructed to funnel the water into a singular nexus from which it could drop to the bucket. This was a strong start to the evening.
The first band was Broken Bones Matilda, a haunting moniker for an equally haunting band. Led by a green haired, smokey voiced singer and flanked by a set of leather jacket wearing male models, they played a series of sleepy ballads steeped in rural americana. The songs were pleasant, the harmonies tight, the faces extremely attractive, but in context the whole thing felt bewilderingly dark, like a Gothy Steam-punk Willie Nelson. In my last review I bemoaned the west country middle-class obsession with the music of the disenfranchised working American, but I don’t mind it so much when it looks like a Levi’s Ad directed by Tim Burton.
Following that was ‘The Waterbirds’, a high energy indie-punk band led with powerful vocals and some deft drum work, despite some sadly unmemorable song-craft. The guitarist wore a white reindeer snood as he played. I caught my finger subconsciously tracing the handle of my phaser pistol. Like a pound-shop Johnny Greenwood he thrashed around violently and forced my brain to concoct a sentence I hoped I never would… ‘Good lord, he rocked so hard his Snood fell off’. Intermittently he would turn his back to the audience and do a hip shake, wagging his skinny-Jeaned arse two and fro to the music. I was ready to de-atomise this poor fellow. He was saved however when an inexplicable cloud of smoke guffed into the room through a hole in the nearby wall. The smoke gathered around me, giving shape to me. To the casual onlooker, they would see the glassy outline of a muscular alien wizard. I was forced to stay still until it passed.
At some point the Manager wearily walked up and took away the bucket that was catching the water, presumably to drain and replace. He never returned. Water from the ceiling proceeded to cascade into a larger and larger pool across the floor of the nightclub. I’m sure that that’s apt visual metaphor for something, but I haven’t decided what it is yet.
The 3rd act on was Marine: An all-female four piece from London who, frankly, should have been headlining. Their sound was mellifluous and aquatic and appropriate to the name. Bolted to the floor by a solid rhythm section, the two guitarists/singers were able to float euphoniously without the whole thing falling apart. It seemed however that the vocalists, while both excellent, were slightly mismatched. One, a more gentle singer with a choral purity and restless vibrato, the other decidedly more operatic. It felt at times like it should be one or t’other, as when put together it never seemed to gel. The other set back was the relentlessly chatty audience, who clearly energised by the furious Snoodgazm that preceded Marine, couldn’t seem to stop loudly nattering to each other while they played. No fault of the band, and perhaps no fault of the audience; to go from low energy, to high energy and back down did Marine no favours with an audience ravenous for more snood-whipping ass-shaking.
The pool of water grew on the floor.
The last band on was ‘Rachel Jane’. Rachel, presumably the singer, flanked by a guitarist and bassist. They played low key percussion-free Indie-pop, heavily peppered with Christian sentiment. It was largely forgettable, musically. She sang very well, they were all dressed very stylishly, the whole thing was very de rigueur if your singular focus is getting a record deal. I suppose theres something admirable about the naked ambition, the perfectly constructed sterile pop format that must be adhered to if you wish to make this business your bread and butter. Humanity is the only species I’ve come across in all my travels across galaxies, across dimensions, across millennia, that expressed themselves through music. Perhaps that is why I come to these things. I come to see how people express themselves. For some its a compelling, messy and unpredictable necessity to communicate in a language that is entirely emotional. To connect, to scream out the thoughts in their heads for which words alone will not suffice. For other’s its a discipline, a format, a structure to be adhered to, a Ladder to be climbed, a dollar to be made. I see merit in both, but I know which I prefer. The market seems to disagree. And with another nervous fart from the nightclub wall, I swiftly made my exit.
As I left, I looked sadly at the water pool gradually spreading and now dribbling down the steps to the main dancing floor, I, Galmorphagorph, continued to struggle to find relevant meaning to this profound visual metaphor. Perhaps in a time of global social and political uncertainty, the free-flowing progress of western society that held shape for so long now seems to be dribbling messily and hopelessly all over the floor. Could I conquer your planet and rule you as a benevolent emperor? Maybe. In fact, definitely. But frankly, I’d rather the manager just brought the bucket back.
19 November 2016