Posted by: Chelsea Novak | November 23, 2002

A nice night out

Last night M took me to see John Parish. Don’t feel bad if the name means nothing to you right away. I have to confess that I was kind of like “huh?” when M asked me to come with him. The name soudned vaugely familiar in that I was sure I’d heard someone mention it in a “I know obscure things about music” kind of way (not like I’ve ever done that. Ahem) years ago.

After seeing the look in my eyes of “I don’t want to let you know that I’m so uncool that I don’t know who this guy is though I’m sure I should know if I’m actually as cool as I preport to be, which it seems, in lieu of this new information that I don’t know, I’m not” M let me off the hook by telling me that Parish is a producer and musician based in Bristol (very promsing) who’s worked very closely with P.J. Harvey, Sparklehorse and Goldfrapp. Very cool.

So last night we went off to see him at Akropolis, and it was a holy experience. And I don’t mean in the religious sense, but in the “Holy Cow” that was the best show I’ve seen in awhile sense. Parish writes mostly instrumental music, played by his 9-piece orchestra. There were 2 violins, a keyboard with an array of effects (one of which had a guy blowing through a tube, tres cool), a drummer, a bassist and usually about 4 guitars (one of which was played by Adrian Utley: more on who he is later). It was rich and highly atmostpheric. Even better was the fact that the club wasn’t totally packed so I wasn’t having Sigur Ros experience where my feet weren’t touching the floor from being crammed in so tight.

The music and its sensibility transported me back to the joy I felt during the heyday of Trip hop. Without a doubt my favourite genre of music, the mid-nineties were some of the best years for it, with the best of it coming from the Bristol scene. I don’t know a great deal about its history and the key figures involved, but I do know what loved about it. I loved, and I guess still do love, the way the music fills me up with feeling. I’d never say that music is better than sex, but there are songs in that genre that come very close.

It was a wonderful show and I was able to be a mere 3 meters away from Adrian Utley (the guitarist from Portishead), who is just so gifted. Parish says that he never writes parts for Utley, as he creates sounds that mesh so well with his music on his own. And I was three meters away from him! The man who wrote so many songs that I love. And I didn’t turn into the Zepplin Fan from Almost Famous. Course I didn’t meet him or anything… Prague is such a great place for shows. I get to see these amazing artists in small venues for reasonable amounts of money (sometimes for free!). M gets to interview them and occasionally get them to write notes to me. Like when we saw the Sneaker Pimps in the spring and he spoke to them after the show, he got them all to write notes to me. I have 4 notes from the Sneaker Pimps, written to me. So sweet. I have the best boyfriend ever.

Keeping with concert traditions, Woo! Guy was there. He did keep it to a minimum, but once in awhile there was that Woo! for no good reason, other than joy that he’s at the show. Go Woo! Guy. There wasn’t a much nutty dancing as at The Frames concert and frankly I was too caught up in the show to notice what people around me were doing. In fact, I was having such a great time that the copious amounts of cigarette smoke in the place didn’t get me all cranky.

I hope Trip Hop isn’t over. There are still new acts that are developing the genre. There’s a new Massive Attack album due in late January. Yay! And there are acts like Goldfrapp and Yonderboi proving that it hasn’t been exhausted yet. Good to know.

HRH

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