Thu 20 Apr – Th' Faith Healers, The Early Years
Was that good?!? My ears are ringing and that doesn't happen often nowadays. So yeah, better tell you about it...
For those of you who don't know, Th' Faith Healers
were a late 80's/early 90's band, part of what was known in the music press of the time as the Camden Lurch scene with Silverfish
. They started off playing places like the Sausage Machine, which was actually in Hampstead rather than Camden but its all in the London Borough of Camden, which sort of gave birth to the Too Pure label - PJ Harvey
and later on Hefner
, amongst others. I always said Th' Healers were the inheritors of Loop
's legacy of noise, especially as I think they claimed that they're cover of Mother Sky
was nothing to do with Can but was because of Loop's own cover. I did once tell a know nothing music journo to fuck off when he tried to say that both Th' Healers and Silverfish were following in Nirvana
's footsteps - they pre-date Nirvana's breakthrough and have more to do with a British noise tradition that was active at the time in the likes of the aforementioned Loop, Spacemen 3
, My Bloody Valentine
, The Jesus and Mary Chain
and many others. A bigger influence, directly or indirectly, than Sub Pop artists was "Krautrock" - Can
particularly - which gave them a very rhythmic sound, what sometimes gets called "motoric" (listen to Mother Sky as a good example), which was then combined with noise and irreverent lyrics - titles like Slag
or Not A God
- and of course Roxanne's voice. Scottish accents are great for vemon ;)
My first conscience memory of hearing them was when I was in hospital having my appendix out. I couldn't sleep as usual, especially as they fucked up my antibiotics, and so went to the lounge during the night and the video to Gorgeous Blue Flower In My Garden
was on. I instantly loved them and since then they've remained one of my favourite bands. Ever. When their first album Lido
was released I remember being at Rough Trade in Covent Garden as they opened the new release box - it came with a Th' Healers sweet which I've probably still got somewhere. Their gigs were always joyess, noisey and shambolic, and I'd happily jump around with everybody else with my long hair then dreads, and big boots.
So they called it a day in 1994 after only two albums and Tom went off to form Quickspace
. However, if you've read my last journal entry you'll know that I discovered that they'd released their Peel Sessions
yesterday and then picked up Time Out to see that they were playing tonight! A one off UK reunion show and just down the road! Fucking fantastic!
So yeah, the gig. Got there about 9ish, and the place wasn't too full. Saw the running times on the way in and saw I'd get a support act and then Th' Healers at 9.45pm Found a nice spot by the bar and got a beer and waited. The support (2nd, I'd missed the first) came on called The Early Years
- they were great! In the same sorta ballpark but less punky and more psychedelically - lots of effects, noisey and motoric rhythms that got you nodding. I'll be looking for their releases and further performances. As they played the place started filling up and when they came off I moved towards the front.
I don't think I'd really realised how much I was looking forward to this but as I stripped down to my t-shirt and tied my hoodie round my waist in the traditional style as they got ready to play I was already bouncing on the balls of my feet. Then they started playing - This Time
I think, I get muddled about the track order because I was too busy grinning - and I straight away I was dancing! Now this might be usual for some but I'm used to going to sit down gigs or standing at the sides tapping my foot and nodding my head nowadays, too self-conscious to do anything like dance but tonight I was jerking around and lurching about straight away - so were loads of other people and there couldn't have been anyone under 30 in the audience (work it out). And I didn't stop. Not until they finished the encore, other than to take pictures that is (see the link on my profile to take you to my pictures). If you were there, I was the one dancing like a fool down the front with the hair and glasses, as illustrated top left, with a brown Hefner t-shirt on. And because it was a pensioner crowd , everybody knew the rules and no-one was a pain in the arse (hope I wasn't !), just like at Half Man Half Biscuit
gigs. We slammed about but in a nice way and only into those others who were doing the same.
And what about the music? I didn't think it was loud enough at first and maybe they turned it up or maybe I stopped caring. But they played great. Tight enough, not Shellac
tight, but also loose enough to be the shambling band we all loved. A few false starts but that's par for the course. Tom would launch into the riff of something like Reptile Smile
and the others would follow, only occasionally seeming to forget which track they were playing next. Don't think I can give you a full set list but other than those already mentioned they played Gorgeous Blue Flower, Spin 1/2
, Hippy Hole
, Love Song
, Easy Being You
, Heart Fog
and encored with Mother Sky
, all of which left me very happy and sweaty.
So then I grabbed a screen printed gig poster and blue vinyl 7" promo of Oh Baby and My Loser (a US pressing), bantered with the cabbies, cursed that I'd not brought a bag with me as I'd not anticpated bringing anything more home with me than I'd taken out, got my bike walked up Brick Lane until I found a carrier bag and then cycled home.