Friday, 23 December 2011

The return of Club Choke - by Theo

Club Choke holds a special place in our hearts for, although it had ceased to exist as a monthly event by the time we met, it was through the club's message boards that we commenced our friendship and flirtation. So when we heard that Club Choke would be resurrected for its 10th anniversary we immediately signed up before we'd even seen the line up - but what a line up!

Thanks to my sister Hermione and her husband Richard agreeing to babysit (despite a triple booking) we made it to The Croft on time, where we ran into a veritable who's who in the Bristol music scene from the past 10 years. Many of them were old friends who we hadn't seen since we'd got back from Spain, so we almost wanted there to be more time between bands to chat and catch up. As it was, in order to fit an incredible 8 bands into the evening, there were two stages running in synch, meaning no break between bands.
Anta kicked off the evening with one long, almost seamless piece of tight-to-the-groove prog. Awesome, even if the gong was (intentionally?) hilarious.

Then it was a dash back through the Croft to the (relatively) new front room for the ultimate Choke band - Big Joan - who were as brilliant as ever with fat, scratchy bass and a captivating front woman. Playing mostly tracks from their ace new album, they did wheel out one old favourite, Tiger, which was great to hear.

The one non-local band, Actionbeat, followed back in the main room. We stuck it for a bit, but the pretentious vocals were bugging Kate and the squally guitars were irritating me: after two bands who had had such emphatic rhythms, I wanted something with a groove, and despite having two drummers Actionbeat didn't.

The very enjoyable Glis Glis were next, but by then we were starting to flag - sometimes you need a break between bands - and we're not used to standing up so much these days!

We got our wind back for the main event though, the legendary Madnomad. They'd stopped playing just as I got into the local scene, so had never seen them (despite knowing all the members), though their reputation had set the bar high. They cleared it. Despite nearly a decade away from the stage (as Madnomad) they'd lost none of their stage presence and had us all bouncing along merrily, though the general lack of participation in the masked mosh pit at the end perhaps showed everyone's age - ours included.

Sadly, we didn't have enough stamina to make it through the following three acts - SJ Esau, War Against Sleep and Geisha - all bands we've seen and enjoyed many a time, and we had babysitters to relieve, so we called it a night there. But what a great way to finish...

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