This week’s hangover news included a young woman apparently disowned by a disapproving parent for attending last weekend's V Festival; either a guilt-as-religion Daily Mail-thumping greed-head more concerned about the Winslow’s garage than good parenting and having half-glimpsed the sort of Boschian hellscape a festival can dissolve into, or a Black Sabbath advocate so shocked that any progeny of hers would attend a fest headlined by shit Kasabian, warbly Sam Smith, overexposed Calvin Harris, asthmatic badger Ellie Goulding and humaniod Annie Mac that the only cause must have been a maternity-ward mix-up. Either way, the girl is out two parents (for about a week) and it prompted the question… which gigs would be worth a familial distancing?
Scott Walker and Sunn O))) – Deepest England, an undefined future.
Any Sunn gig would be worth walking over hot coals, but only after the preternatural superdense pranksters have been tamed into Scott Walker’s backing band and phase white hot flamethrowers at the bunker of his impenetrable lyrics would this constitute a truly religious experience. Sunn shows have been reported to illicit all sorts of bizarre responses. Walker didn’trule out the chance of a live show, but said he wouldn’t comply with Sunn’s stage attire. Maybe we’ll yet see some twisted gnarled tree-wrapped church in some forgotten English village in the depths of winter, strobe lighting and titanic sounds as angular Walker traverses the light on the stage, approaching the mic and then falling back, the eternal tease.
Black Sabbath at Asbury Park, New Jersey, fifth of August 1975.
There was no knowing that Sabbath past their best would prove to be Sabbath at the very height of their live powers. May it please the court that Ozzy would Slack Blabbath all over this record with repeated, mantric intonations of “we love you” and “Are you high? Are you high? So am I”. The peak point, hit when Sabbath’s rock overcranked on Sabotage but with enough of lovely thick Marmitey Master Of Realityisms. Worth getting kicked out by the parents just to hear someone in the band pointedly shout “All drum solos are boring!” at the closing breath of an extensively overwrought version of Supernaut. Luckily for the majority of this readership who weren’t born in 1975.
Woodstock 1969 – All of it.
Often considered to be the moment the sixties died, the Woodstock Festival, attended at its peak by 400,000 on Max Yasgur’s farm promised three days of peace and music, but involved terrible weather, drug freakouts, technical glitches, and food dropped to beleaguered hippies from helicopters that had recently been flying the skies of the Vietnam war the festival was ostensibly set up to oppose. The last dying gasp on the end of a series of world-changing festivals and only a few months before the tragic over-the-hill Hendrix performance at the Isle of Wight and the world-reshaping tragedy of Altamont. Something special happened at Woodstock, only visible in retrospect, but it was not the death of the sixties.
The MC5 provide live soundtrack to the Chicago Riots
The sixties ended some time on the night of August 28th 1968 when Mayor Daley’s corrupt Chicago police department waded into a throng of protestors at the Democratic National Convention, enabled by Humphrey, the candidate, and Muskie, the vice presidential candidate. Anger over the heir-apparent to the Kennedy throne, LBJ, having greatly escalated the war in Vietnam, now bringing home around 100 coffins a week, and the murder several months earlier of the presumed frontrunner, Robert Kennedy, as the MC5 played and police crashed into mobs of disgruntled and angry hippies, knocking out teeth and somewhere, in the blood and concrete, and the swirls of tear-gas smoke, Robert Kennedy’s politics of hope finally evaporated, and with it whatever good will remained in the sixties, and damning the country and the wider world to eight years of Richard Nixon. In all the MC5’s later work can be seen a longing for the sixties of hope, that made sense, and that they watched die on that night. Kick out the jams motherfucker.
N.W.A. – Detroit, 1989.
Few groups can lay claim to inciting actual riots. While the group is subject to a biographic film that is true or untrue depending on who you believe, at one point they were the most dangerous men on the planet, because they dared to put into words and music what so many young African American men were feeling at that time. In Detroit, after a disagreement with a manager the band performed classic dull if well-struck blow “Fuck tha Police”, causing members of the Detroit PD to rush the stage and break up the concert. The band were later arrested at their hotel and 18 people arrested outside the arena on misdemeanour charges. While their appeal may have softened, and their songs seem simplistic in hindsight, at the time N.W.A. were the most righteous sword against an establishment that was as bad as it is today, but unchallenged.
What concert would you be willing to be disowned for?
Written under duress by Steven.
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