Tag Archives: Minutemen

Mike Watt, the Missingmen & the Hyphenated Man

Mike Watt 01

 

The righteous and iconic Mike Watt came back to my locality recently. Last March we got Il Sogno Del Mariano and this time we got The Hyphenated Man. Watt is an iconic musician with a thumb print on last 30 years of indie/punk playing with the Minutemen, Firehose, Sonic Youth, the Stooges and J Mascis but he still pushes at the gates with his own projects. Lasts nights performance was pre-apologised with “thank you for joining us for this fucked up piece of music”. No apology needed. The Hyphenated Man is a 45 minute power opera made up of 30 related sections. There’s was barely time to draw breath between the sections. This so utterly committed three piece (Watt on bass, Tom Watson on guitar & Raul Morales on drums) blast through the piece with precision and heart.

Mike Watt & the Missingman 02

The piece dates back to 2006 and is apparently based on characters in the paintings of Hieronymous Bosch. A quick scan of the track list makes this a little more evident;

Arrow-Pierced-Egg-Man
Beak-Holding-Letter-Man
Hammering-Castle-Bird-Man
Bird-In-The-Helmet-Man
Belly-Stabbed-Man
Stuffed-In-The-Drum-Man
Baby-Cradling-Tree-Man
Hollowed-Out-Man
Finger-Pointing-Man
Own-Horn-Blowing-Man
Fryingpan-Man
Head-And-Feet-Only-Man
Shield-Shouldered-Man
Cherry-Head-Lover-Man
Pinned-To-The-Table-Man
Mouse-Headed-Man
Antlered-Man
Confused-Parts-Man
Bell-Rung-Man
Boot-Wearing-Fish-Man
Thistle-Headed-Man
Funnel-Capped-Man
Blowing-It-Out-Both-Ends-Man
Jug-Footed-Man
Lute-And-Dagger-Man
Mockery-Robed-Man
Hill-Man
Hell-Building-Man
Man-Shitting-Man
Wheel-Bound-Man

The piece is described as a punk opera or the third opera following Contemplating The Engine Room & the Secondmans Middle Stand.

Mike Watt & the Missingmen 02

 

I can’t explain the narrative yet. I’ll have to get back to you on that. Watt has history with short punchy songs. The Minutemen almost invented the genre and have a solid history of juggling themes as they try to start broader conversations outside of the punk scene. You can hear the whole thing here.

My pictures are a little hit & miss. The Cookie in Leicester is a tiny cellar venue and whilst the gig wasn’t packed the surge to the front by bodies broader and taller than mine was enough to keep me on the narrow edge.

A quick mention for the support as we’ll.

Echolocation are a Leicester band of some note. A varying line up but Saturdays small crew did an interesting job. Reminded me in some ways of John Cooper Clarke stream of consciousness with jazz/post-punk soundtrack (like the Sir George Robey on a Sunday in 1992). The inclusion of trumpet really worked as well.

Mike Watt & the Missingman 03

Lazarus Clamp were also original and engaging. I swear I know the singer/guitarist from somewhere which was distracting. A touch of Wire in there as well as a more contemporary folky Midlakey thing. A couple of big songs with some well placed sonic dynamics.

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WTATDR & Il Sogno Del Marinaio

WTATDR Cookie Jar

Some times you know something is likely to be good. The stars align, the the augers mutter in agreement.

I saw //We tHrEE aND tHe DeAtH tattle // a year or so ago supporting Josh T. Pearson. They are a local (well Leicester) three piece combo. All primal drums, crashing guitar, twisted blues, hollered vocals…. and theremin …played with maracas. How could that not work.

I follow their FaceBook page and a few weeks ago they posted their appearance at the the Cookie Jar supporting Il Sogno Del Marinaio. The venue is a tiny basement, maybe 100 capacity and listening to the soundcheck from upstairs in the bar it promised to be a dangerous sonic experience. WTHATDR played for about 40 minutes, a tight set, really controlled noise and more certain in their ability then I remember.

Here is one of the highlights of the set.

I don’t know their names, they are a mystery. Perhaps how it should be. Hit and run music that hangs around like an unexpected dream.

WTATDR Cookie Jar 2

Il Sogno Del Marinaio also trade in dreams. Playing Coltrane before coming on stage should have been a clue. With bass, guitar and drums, and given Mike Watts history in the Minutemen, the Missingman and as bass player in the resurrected Stooges the flying jazz of the set was an unexpected aspect. The set included all the songs from the album “La Busta Gialla”. This is more of a song cycle or tone poem than a rock record. It has echoes of Western soundtracks, mariachi, percussive euro jazz and edgy proto grunge. Other than Watt the band is guitarist Stefano Pilla and drummer Andrea Balfi. Both are exceptional skilled. This so evidently a project they have all contributed equally towards.

Mike Watt Cookie Jar

This is the song ‘The Tiger Princess’. Its representative of the record, this with Watt telling a mariners recollection of dream.

Mike Watt is a legend. I last saw him chomping a stogie and playing with J Mascis & the Fog (probably the loudest thing I have ever witnessed). He played with Sonic Youth, fIREHOSE and half a dozen of his own bands. He has a long slow drawl and probably isn’t averse to the odd brewskis or finger of bourbon. You wouldn’t mess. A big man and a big personality.

Mike Watt Cookie Jar2

The gig was the penultimate date on a tour that has covered must of Europe. Definitely one of the most original and interesting gigs I’ve seen in a long time. Catch up with the album.

Here’s a brief live performance and an interview with Watts.

 

And finally this because its great……

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