After a couple of albums of instrumental experimentation, Benjamin Shaw has returned to us with a brand new record called Megadead. It's a satisfying mix of DIY folk and electronica and sees Shaw return to the Audio Antihero label that put out his early albums and EPs (this is actually a joint release with Kirigirisu Recordings, who released Shaw's equally excellent Guppy). To celebrate the release we asked Shaw to tell us about some of his memorable live music experiences for Gigography #3.
AS A FAN
The first show I remember going to is Prince at Sheffield Arena with my mum and her siblings I think, and 4 Non-Blondes were supporting. Thing is, I was like 8 or something, so despite it being pretty cool, I don’t think it really counts. The first PROPER gig I went to as a fan and with my own friends was the mighty KoЯn, at Manchester Academy in like 96/97. It was on their ‘Life is Peachy’ tour, with Incubus, of all people, supporting. I was 14 and it was my first experience of a moshpit and losing your friends in the chaos, and it was flipping mind-blowing. I can still feel that ridiculous bass shaking my ribcage.
I go to a gig night down the road from me most weeks called Sound and Vision. It’s MO is ‘experimental’ stuff with projected visuals and cheap wine. It’s quiet and I don’t know anyone, so I can zone out for a couple of hours. It’s ace, and a far cry from Korn, thank goodness. Other than that, I went to see Noname when she was here earlier this year. She is incredible.
Most memorable gig
I have incredible memories of Super Furry Animals at Glastonbury in 1999. I was a huge fan, and it was the infamous (only to SFA fans, who were there) “Man on a Van” incident - where a MAN, get this, standing on a VAN, drove through the centre of the crowd. I know. It was wonderful though. And you can’t go back. You can’t go back.
Gig/tour I wish I’d seen
Look, it’s not cool, and I’m not proud of it, but in 1998 I was into those post-grunge-pop bands like Everclear and Feeder way more than I should’ve been. They toured the UK in june that year and I super wanted to go, but it was smack bang in the middle of my GCSE exams, and regret has consumed me ever since. Had I known that I wouldn’t do anything with my life anyway, and those exam results wouldn’t matter one bit, I would’ve been there, man. Feeder AND Everclear. Oof. What a night.
AS A MUSICIAN
First gig I ever played
I think I was around 15, and I was the singer (I know, sorry, I wanted to be drummer, but it’s not my fault no-one else could sing) and guitarist with my very first (and very best) band ‘Poppy’. We called our genre ‘Jazz-Punk’ on the Battle of the Bands application form, but it was really just a giant mess with added slap-bass. We went on first, the drummer came in slow on the first song (wtf Chris?), and we were promptly blown away by the next band. Nice one, Chris.
Best gig I played / Most disastrous gig I played / Last gig I played
This is a threefer, all happening in the span of a week. I hadn’t been enjoying playing live for a long time, and I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to do it anymore, but I had a launch show to do for my album ‘Googbye, Cagoule World’, so I was freaking out. My friend and hero Jack Hayter played first and nailed it as always, and suddenly it felt like a nice room to be in. It turned into such a special gig for me, and a beautiful night. I was sober, everyone was super nice, everything felt right, and in my endorphin haze I was all like ‘Yes Ben, you can do this Ben, you really enjoy playing live, let’s do this more!’
The next week, I did a show in Sheffield and instantly remembered, ‘Yep, not for me!’ And Ben never played live again :)
Megadead is available now via Audio Antihero / Kirigirisu Recordings on CD, Cassette and Digital formats. Grab yourself a copy here.
Megadead by Benjamin Shaw