Thursday, 22 September 2011

Later With Jools Holland - A Rocky Horror Show

Snow Patrol - why?
The death of REM and the birth of a new series of ‘Later with Jools Holland’ is no coincidence; it’s an act by the Gods of the Electric Cosmos (wasn’t that a Hawkwind album?) – yes, they’re telling the world something, they’re saying Stop The Rock! Michael Stipe got the message, but Jools hasn’t.
   If REM represented Stadium Rock Intelligence (I said ‘if’), they must be God-like to the ‘Later’ audience. Their demise is another nail in The Coffin of Rock, but sadly, there aren’t enough to prevent the corpses within prising off the lid and roaming the land. Look at the Rocky Horror Show (or ‘Later’, as it’s known) – see the cadavers twitching, screaming and wailing their way through the blues, soul, indie, folk variations to an audience of well-trained seals clapping every time they’re thrown another fish (Marillion, anyone?).
   Yes, I did look at the first in the series. When I confessed online, someone asked me why. I even asked ‘Why?’ aloud as I watched, to which LJ replied ‘I know’, and that seemed to say it all. I was wondering why anyone would want to see or hear this lot. To me it’s car crash TV. In the 60s all men drove with seven pints of Watney’s Red Ale coursing through their veins, without airbags, or seatbelts on - yes, it was a crazy time. Consequently, on coach trips, we’d often come across sculptures of mangled metal and flesh on motorways. ‘Don’t look!’ Mum would say, but I did anyway, along with everyone else. ‘Later’ holds a similar fascination. I also watch it as I did Top Of The Pops in its dying years, hoping against hope that something will surprise me by being good. Unlike TOTP, though, ‘Later’ should, I feel (yes, I’m deluded), throw up something interesting, instead of making me feel sick. Does Jools Holland pick all the bands? If anyone else has a say, perhaps they could prod his portly girth with a suggestion of something more radical than those who simply rehash ancient forms.
   But I forget the purpose of ‘Later’, which is to act as an aural comfort blanket in which the audience can snuggle up against the bitter cold of anything remotely cutting edge, ie fresh or interesting, such as using those newfangled instruments called synthesizers, or laptops. But who wants to watch someone twiddling knobs or pushing buttons? Me, in this context. The sounds they make should speak volumes, loud enough to give the audience tinnitus, hopefully.
   But The Rocky Horror Show is only partly about music, and has a lot to do with the stance of Rock, the hand-me-down Punk posturing, or plaintive strum of acoustic guitar whilst warbling heartfelt lyrics. If synthesizers appear, they do so as lite additions to already lite music, played with a couple of fingers at best. Look at Jools, he’s really ‘with it’, he’s into 80s Synth Pop revival bands!
   Has Sun Araw been on yet? Do tell me if he has. Stallones must surely be Acceptable Modern Music for Mojo readers. He’ll play guitar and reference Hendrix or Funkadelic, albeit amid a sonic sludge with big bass as a bonus, but I’m sure he’d be good for the show.

Requirements for artists to get on ‘Later’:

Do not act as if Rock History doesn’t exist.
If you’re not talented in the trad sense, be fashionable.
Play acoustic guitar.
Look like Arkansas woodsmen.
Look like crusty tree-huggers and include a fiddle-player.
Look like any Punk band from 1978.
Play like any Punk band from 1978.
Play the blues.
Sound like a Q-Tips tribute band.
Be old, with a load of records under your belt.
Have a Rock tart singing, preferably a pale imitation of Debbie Harry or Patti Smith, wearing a short skirt,
Play Rockabilly.
Be a woman with a 50s hairstyle.

Can’t wait for the next show.

1 comment:

  1. I can think of only two great acts i've seen on the programme -Pat Metheny and (years ago) Shiela Chandra. How incongruous they seemed against all that mediocre (at best) corporate shite.


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