Thursday, 29 December 2011

Mr Spizz, The Ghost Effect, Incas in Milan

The metallic blue van deposited us safely on an industrial estate way out in the suburbs of Milan, as unpromising a venue as I have been to in many a year.

The gig in Milan had been arranged by promoter Alessandro Kamo, who’d flown us out for our first appearance in the city two years before at the Cox 18 Club with Bettina Koster. There are a couple of numbers from that 2009 gig on YouTube (have a look at - it’s in there somewhere.)

If it's Saturday it must be an industrial warehouse complex in Milan
Although there weren't many positive signs of a good turnout when we arrived, there were positive signs that things would turn out fine. These were:

*Kamo seems to know what he’s doing
*It wasn't raining
*UK punk legend Spizz Energi were on the bill, appearing as Spizz Italia
*Everybody else seemed positive about it.
*Er, that’s it.  

      One of the great things about Kamo’s gigs - in addition to them being well-run, well-attended and well worth doing of course - is that everyone gets treated with respect and fed. Everyone. In Milan that meant when the sound checks were over we all sat down and tucked into spaghetti and salad with wine and cakes: bands, helpers, PA men, the works. An attitude like that means you remember that in this type of scene you are all relying on each other.     

     In this case that meant 30-odd people from four bands, the sound men and PA crew heading for a family-run restaurant nearby and getting stuck in to some food.
    I think the family were a little overwhelmed when 29 people plus a short guy with bleached white hair wearing a huge leather jacket with SPIZZENERGI painted across the back, colossal boots and a belt with flashing lights spelling SPIZZITALIA waving a laser pen walked in demanding to be fed. 

  But I guess that’s a sign that you have a ‘mercurial punk survivor’ at your counter ( and The food was great and Kamo, that was a nice touch, but it played havoc with the running order. 

Never believe stuff like this. Optimistic at best!
One of the bands that impressed me most that night were a five-piece from Torino called The Ghost Effect (

These people have their shit together. They film everything, sell merchandise, look great, sound great. Wow.

Laura the singer is a great presence fronting the whole thing and they create this multi-layered very impressive sound. It’s a high-tech well-produced experience which reminded me in parts of Xmas Deutschland, and great to watch. They’ve been going a few years now but I’d be surprised if they didn’t figure on a European level. They were great. Here’s one of their songs from the night, Korsakoff Syndrome: 

As Mr Spizz related proudly, he’d put his band for this gig together almost overnight and through an appeal on Facebook for musicians. And not just any musicians. His drummer didn’t know the stuff but learned it from being sent an MP3 by email. His bass player was simply awesome. 

The whole band were scarily tight for musicians who met basically at the soundcheck. That’s why Spizz’s soundcheck seemed more like a rehearsal than a check.. because that’s what it was. So they were second and they were very, very good – especially ‘Where’s Captain Kirk’.

Then on with us and quite a hard crowd to get going.. more willing to be drawn in than in Rome, where people seemed more aloof – well, it’s Rome, isn’t it – but also waiting to see what you do. 

So we got stuck in and worked at it, as you can see here, with this new song, Bikini Quicksand: 

By the end of the set people were dancing and things were going well.

We got back to our hotel at 3am and were up again at 930 to catch breakfast and head off to Milan Cathedral, La Scala and all points central Milano before a good lunch in town, a cab to the airport and a long trip home – via London – (promoters please note… that way takes ages to get to Manchester) with the Month of Gigs now over.

Ahead of me lay a house move and months of disruption. Ahead of Harry the simple task of mixing the tracks Rob and I laid down back in July for the next album. What could possibly go wrong?

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