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