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Gigography #2

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Leeds musician break_fold is set to return with his second solo album, a follow up to last years superb 07_07_15 - 13_04_16. This new collection follows the same pattern and is titled 27_05_17 - 21_01_18, and again, every track within is named after the date it was started. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Anyway, in preparation for the release, we asked break_fold (aka Tim Hann) to tell us about some of the most memorable gigs he's attended or played over the years for Gigography #2.

AS A PUNTER

First Gig

I’m from the North East originally. Hartlepool to be precise. To say not much culture dropped by there in the early 90’s would be an understatement, but when you’re a 13 year-old who hasn’t properly discovered music yet, it probably isn’t a massive issue.

So when my family got quite excited about the newly reformed Genesis announcing they were coming to Newcastle City Hall on the ‘We Can’t Dance Tour’ – they usually played arenas, not City Halls -  I lacked the excitement of my folks. How they managed to convince me to go with my older brother of 2 years (who compared to me had developed 100% better taste in bands than I had up to this point) and my uncle (his favourite artist was, and probably still is, Roger Whittaker) to drive the hour up to Newcastle at 4 in the morning, queue for 6 hours to purchase tickets in person for us and my parents – you know, the ones that just stayed at home in bed, I don’t know. But we did.

When it came to the actual day of the show I distinctly remember wearing double denim. I didn’t know that was a ‘thing’ until about ten years ago.

The sight of Phil Collins doing the We Can’t Dance ‘dance’ - the one where they walk in a tight line and swing their arms while wearing black shades - with Mike Rutherford and long-time Genesis/Collins session man Daryl Stuermer was hypnotic. How the crowd knew to sing particular lyrics in unison back at the band when instructed was magical. How does the crowd know they should do ‘that’ communal grunt in Land of Confusion when Phil points the mic at the crowd? Stagecraft my friend. Collins is a pro.

Well I’ve had a soft spot for our Genesis ever since – Yes, I’m fully aware they’re rubbish - and I guess it opened the door to a world I’ve inhabited ever since. There have been better gigs since, for sure. And a lot less denim worn in one sitting.

Most Memorable Gig

I’ve lived in the Leeds/Bradford area since 2000 but the first time I properly came to Leeds was in 1997 to see Spiritualized at Leeds Met. My brother was an English student here at the time so I came across with some of my mates to stay with him and go to the gig.

Spiritualized had just released Ladies and Gentlemen We’re Floating in Space and I was obsessed with it. They were also probably at the crest of their popularity too so the place was packed. They came on to an infamous slow synth drone – you’ll know the one I mean if you’ve been a fan - which played throughout the show, no breaks. The gig was intense, almost drug like, and none of my crew had taken anything, officer. I remember people passing out all over the place because of the heat, the relentless strobe backlighting the band, and the endless walls of noise laced with freeform jazz tenor sax. It was my first communal ‘everybody is losing their shit’ event.

I still compare most gigs I go to, to this one. Not many have gotten close. Not even Spiritualized themselves. J Spacemen sacked the band and they became Lupine Howl. Never mind.

AS A MUSICIAN 

Best Gig

I don’t do gigs in my current guise as break_fold. It’s just a studio project, but maybe at some point it could be done live. Anyway, my previous ‘proper’ band was called I Concur, a four-piece post punk/post rock outfit that liked The National too much. We’d only been playing live for about three months, but we had been rehearsing for about a year, when we got asked to support The Hold Steady at the Cockpit in Leeds. This was a big deal as I’d never been asked to support anyone outside of Leeds, never mind an internationally known touring band. The gig was a sell out and we were the only support. We even got to share the backstage with them. I don’t think they were into it is as much as we were.

In retrospect Concur always seemed to rise to the challenge of bigger shows. We played better through larger PA’s and looked more comfortable on bigger stages than doing small rooms. In general, if there’s a crowd and I can’t see people’s faces then it’s less terrifying for me and a better experience for everyone else.

Some of the bands’ parents came to see us play the gig, including mine, and they got free tickets. The place was totally rammed. It felt like all of the doubt about why we stuck with this music thing, doing shit gigs in pubs and small rooms to nobody for years in various bands was validated, and my folks were there to witness it. “Oh, that’s why you do it. I get it now.” I may have just projected that onto them, but that’s how it felt. It was the first time a band that I had been a part of had genuinely come together and all the constituent elements were working. It was tangible.

Last Gig I Played

The last gig that Concur did was an anti-Valentines Night in Leeds. We had to play three Smiths or Morrissey covers and one or two of our own. I’m really pleased this was the last thing that we did together as it was so great to play songs I’ve loved for years. Not wanting to play the hits we did a 7-minute version of Death of a Disco Dancer (from The Smiths - Strangeways Here We Come), Pregnant for the Last Time (Morrissey single from 1991) and Handsome Devil (from The Smiths Hatful of Hollow compilation). The Smiths never got to play Disco Dancer as they’d split before Strangeways was released so I thought about what the 15-year-old version of me (who’d just got into The Smiths in a big way) would have thought about playing it. We agreed it would be awesome so long was it was played LONG and LOUD.

What was really lovely about the night were people freely coming up to talk about how much they enjoyed the set. That never really happened the time we were together as a band. Maybe because people already had a deep connection with the music as opposed to listening to a fairly unknown band for the first time. Or maybe I’m unapproachable. It has been said.

When we knew we were going to split there was talk about organising a final gig to do a proper send off. I couldn’t see that the last gig could be topped so I said ‘no thanks’ and that was the end of the band.

Favourite Venue to Play

This is an easy one to answer. The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Concur played loads of gigs there and it felt like our home. Our base. It’s still my venue of choice where I prefer to see touring bands. I always stand under one of the air conditioners on the floor. You may see me there watching Slint someday.