The Null Device

Club AC30

The shoegazer movement may have died out in the mid-1990s in most places, but in London, it's alive and well every month at Club AC30. Your Humble Narrator went along to this month's one.

Club AC30 is held at a pub named The Water Rats (presumably after the Australian police soap; I heard that the Poms love Australian TV, but didn't think they'd take it quite this far), not far from King's Cross, and features bands and a DJ.

First up was a Clairecords shoegazer outfit named Air Formation; they took to the stage and proceeded to make a wall of noise not unlike My Bloody Valentine or someone. The sound in the venue, or possibly the mixing, wasn't the best, though, so at times it was hard to tell whether, in fact, the keyboard (a Yamaha CS-1X) was plugged in. Anyway, they were quite good, though I'm not sure if I'll get their CD.

Next up was a Swedish band named Douglas Heart (not to be confused with Douglas Hart, formerly of the Jesus and Mary Chain). They were basically minor-key pop with some shoegazing elements; two guitarists, a bass player, a drummer, a Roland D-50 keyboard (wasn't that the one all the gothic-rock bands used in the 1980s or something?), and a female vocalist, who also played melodica and trumpet. Except that the microphones didn't seem to work very well, and half of the time the audience couldn't hear her. Anyway, they sounded a bit like the Cranes or the Sundays or someone; most of their set didn't grab me, but the last song (a stomping number with a great big fuzzy monster bass line) changed my mind.

The third act was Rachel Goswell, someone who gets invited to these things largely on the strength of what she was doing 10 years ago. Her act these days is basically acoustic-guitar folk, much of the sort you could find at any acoustic open-mike night in Fitzroy. For some of the songs of this gig, she had a band with guitar and bass, though her set still contained no shoegazing action whatsoever. She does, though, have a lovely voice. The audience hushed respectfully as she came on (shushing those still talking amongst them), applauded after each song, and called for an encore, which she obliged them with.

Between sets, Ulrich Schnauss DJed, playing a lot of ambient tracks, ranging from shoegazer to electronica; there were some really nice tracks in the mix he played.

There are 3 comments on "Club AC30":

Posted by: kate radley fanclub http:// Wed Dec 15 13:55:34 2004

love ulrich schnauss! he broke his hand or something and cancelled his NAmerican tour last year.

i recall the D50 being listed as the source of "tones, drones, tremeloes" on the insert to the first Spiritualized album, Lazer Guided Melodies.

Posted by: Graham http://grudnuk.com/ Wed Dec 15 14:32:16 2004

The Roland D50, hmm, I wanted one of those as a teenager. Had the catalogues. Simply because it seemed absurdly expensive, and it was multi-timbral or something, whatever that meant. There were D20 and D10s as well, and a rack-mount unit from the same family. They might've been crap for all I know.

I guess that ilk were a bit ubiquitous and unfashionably, but subsequently cheap to pick up, indeed much like the CS1x in the late 90s.

Posted by: Mark Dorset Thu Dec 16 03:17:00 2004

Yeah, Ulrich Schnauss is one of my fave artists of the past couple of years. I had tix to see him in SF with M83, but he pulled out at the last minute due to a broken hand. I was so disappointed!

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