For a while there I forgot I was supposed to be talking about music and stuff

Friday 3 September 2004

For some years now my local has been The Empress, so I have witnessed the slow decline of its clientele. Dowdy boozers bravely denying their encroaching senescence camp furtively in corners once populated by clutches of not-quite-hip arts undergrads sipping pots laced with Stone’s Green Ginger Wine. Actually, that doesn’t sound like much of a decline: it’s neutral at worst, if not an outright improvement. Besides, I’m one of those ageing kidults responsible for reducing North Fitzroy to the sleepy shambles it is today.
Even before gentrifying arrivistes with an entitlement complex moved in next door and bullied the pub into submission, their band lineups hadn’t been much chop: it always seemed to be a stageful of bright young things earnestly reworking some licks off the first Tortoise album. So it had been a while since I had a reason to pay money and actually see a band in addition to overhearing one between pots/bad pickup lines/fistfights in the front bar.
Anyway, this was supposed to be a rave for having a non-alcohol-related reason for going to the Empress again, namely the gig turned on by Anthony Pateras, Sean Baxter and David Brown; but it’s hard for me to write about anything that either isn’t about me, or doesn’t let me hang shit on someone or something. In brief: Anthony got to play with the decrepit piano on stage, which until now I thought was for decoration only, and astonished North Fitzroy with the only known prepared upright piano in captivity. David practiced his usual trick of beguiling the audience into thinking he was just as bemused as they were by the sounds coming out of his guitar. Sean managed to get through the whole set without quite demolishing his drumkit and saying “cunt” only once, but that was in reference to the French so it hardly counts. A nice night’s entertainment, particularly their acoustic cover version of Xenakis’ Bohor. The soaks in the front bar hated it.