Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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RocknRoll Interlude – On Tour with The London Dirthole Company

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I’ve been on tour with The London Dirthole Company, legendary London based noise creatives. The music made by The London Dirthole Company is a joyful ride into the world of the modern Outsider artist as a musical phenomena. As out of time and place and unreservedly important as The Fall, The Monks and The Velvet Underground. The London Dirthole Company forge an uptempo thundering garage pop hybrid that is inexplicably both brutal and sensitive.

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Here’s my take on the first show in Antwerp. From there we crawled to Berlin, Kolding and Copenhagen… more dates this summer. Can’t wait.

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Dirt time. Pay dirt. We hit the stage, most of us in sharp suits, and do the job, loud, bestial and with a wry grin down into the cavernous venue, the audience behind the cameras, squashed against the wall by the Dirthole noise. The sound is great in an aggressive, merciless way and the band churns like an old, well oiled steam engine, defying time, space and bad clothes down below. Ashley counts in the songs, there’s no need for long introductions or pauses, the Dirthole is always ready. We start with the one-riff party stomper From A to B, naturally, and finish with the RocknRoll burnout Amnesia. Peter jerks and wails, his skinny frame in retro-fitted Saville Row garments, bouncing up and down in front of the wall of drums and metal like an East End dervish. Rob in pinstripe hits the drums like a man used to wet work, Roger in bulky silk suit doing the Escobar to perfection, Kirsten a scary beautiful scarecrow, a Keith Richards caught in the Fluxus movement, beating the shit out of an upturned sink. At the back, Debbie starts the songs and puts down the grooves with frightening precision though they are instantly assaulted by Ashley’s barely in tune bass monster. The Dirthole maestro stands on stage as if on deck of a 19th century whaling ship, a punk rock Captain Ahab, out to spear his audience and, if necessary, jump down its throat. Professor Paul, cowboy hat and Telecaster clangs across the songs, such as they are, with furious stakato accents that would make a renditioned CIA hostage instantly lose his mind. I stand in the wings, hat in my face, and keep a tight riff going, trying to remember songs I barely know. It’s all good. It’s a glamorous rehearsal. Halfway through the show I glance across at Ashley and find myself in a weird time warp, young and old at the same time, and definitely noisy. Noisy as a Dirthole

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All my dreams are coming true. Everything rains on me. I can’t take no more, Everything rains on me.

Listen to I can’t take no more.

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