I am nineteen again. Standing in a room under a friend’s house. Things are not quite right, I could be very drunk, it’s hard to tell. A sound overpowers me like a heavy, surging sea. Scraping sonic whitecaps from a bow that refuses to be either still or gentle. My first experience of Dirty Three.
“There you go, that’s two miracles tonight!” Warren Ellis.
I am much older, I stand behind the mixing desk as these memories from more than a decade ago are summoned by the three dishevelled shamans onstage.
Warren Ellis announces a simple truth “this song….is…about…love” Well they are all songs about love, sometimes a drowning love that has given up trying to fight its way to the surface and breathe. Sometimes it is a bitter, passionate fight, blood vessels bulging around its constricted throat. Warren Ellis kicks out, his right leg a parallel to the ground and then I am in my memory again, this time it is hot and Warren Ellis has his foot stuck in the kick drum. Eventually he extracts it and staggers away from the kit, he loses a shoe but not a single note. Tonight he breaks something too, A connection between the violin and an amplifier, there are frantic moments and genuine disappointment whenever the violin sound is suddenly lost.
Mick Turner is stoic while Jim White’s drumming is the antagonist to Warren Ellis’ Violin. For a moment my thoughts are drawn to the Tren Brothers playing in a pub that no longer exists.
Don’t Look Back invites great artists to revisit their classic works. Sonic Youth played Daydream Nation, The Stooges Funhouse under that banner. These gigs create their own special kind of nostalgia. It is about love. The audience who love an album so much, they drive the artists to distraction and the artists’ love for the sounds that create those embracing moments in music.
Tonight is a requiem. Tonight Ocean Songs is laid to rest under the Authentic Celestial Music. I am proud to be able to say “I was there.”