Sink or Swim Promotions present – Independent Venues Week – da Googie – Too Many Things – Just Dropped In Records – Coventry – 3rd February 2024
For their first Independent Venue Week show Just Dropped in records have excelled themselves. Deb Googe from, amongst others, My Bloody Valentine, is playing a solo show. Fighting Boredom are not missing this one, read what we thought below.
It’s independent venue week and for the first time the record shop is one of the venues, they’ve made a day of it with a record fair in the main hall here all day and it’s now time for the music. The space is full, benches, easy chairs in a line right at the front of the stage, a murmur of conversation and smiles as people see friends.
Either side of the screen at the back of the stage is a few records on the racks, two My Bloody Valentine albums catch my eye as they are undoubtedly supposed to. We have an indie star here tonight, I’d say indie royalty but I think I would get told off so I will stick with star. But before that, Too Many Things take the stage.
They are a duo, Marion Andrau and Jem Doulton, Marion plays guitar and sings, Jem plays on a set of keyboards and synths, he sings too. There’s a low drone playing that turns into a sound that reminds me of a clock’s pendulum swinging and the cogs turning inside, a slow beat starts with quickly strummed guitar over it and then Marion sings, her voice is jarring and clear. It’s powerful as if it’s been straining to be let out before it’s time. It’s strong like Sinead or Patti Smith. She plays jittery guitar and along with the beats it’s a cacophony of sound swallowed up with waves of synths. The next song has a skipping hip hop beat, the synths and guitars come in, not quite together, just a little off from each other and as they both sing the music ambles along behind until Jem talks over the sound but I can’t make out the words. But Marion is now thrashing at her guitar and I’m swallowed up by the sound.
The synth is now clear and high over a different skittery beat, a drone begins and the guitar plays too, again not quite together but it works. The vocal is powerful again, the pace slows then quickens as the noise rises around the tempo, neither of them look up, when Marion sings she has her eyes closed, either concentrating or utterly lost in what she is creating. The music reaches a level of chaos that is akin the The Black Angel’s Death Song. A slow beat starts with gentle guitar and synths in unison, it gets stronger and underneath there’s a click like a record sticking, the vocals harmonise as the music gets louder again. It’s about drudgery and repetition as we all head down, it chops suddenly to an end.
They go back to layered chaos over a beat the massive sound falls back to a beat and guitar and gently stops.
This is where it all goes strange. Too Many Things transform into the bar band in Twin Peaks, the guitar sparkles and the bass rock’n’rolls up and down, they sing a perfect crooning love song that is lost and lonely in a moonless night. Suddenly it’s clear that they create the chaos so that moments like this are diamond sharp, what a song. Marion is standing away from the mic but her words are still clear, just distant and perfect.
Their last song has a slow beat and buzzing bass with a fuzzed out guitar. A high tiny synth tune plays as the vocals sound angry. They finish the song and thank us, I could listen to another hour or so of them play.
Da Googie is Deb Googe who has played with Thurston Moore, Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine. Hence the size of the crowd. She walks onto the stage and jokes about what you had to do to get one of the comfy seats at the front. She starts by playing deep guitar throbs that sound like percussion, loops then and adds strums which then are looped and as she layers more and more onto the sound the music becomes whole and all encompassing. It’s done slowly and methodically and it’s all made with the guitar, she creates almost techno repetitive beats as the music gets louder and stronger then falls back to the beats. It spikes into something that sounds like a jet engine then drops off again, the bass pattern circles as strange noises and odd grooves fall off the sides and then it all just stops.
She leans over and asks where we would be without pedals then introduces her next song as a greatest hits piece and invites us to sing along if we recognise them.
The bass is low and fierce, the guitar over it sounds quieter, the projection behind has shifted from a psychedelic mass of colour to a Tron like sci fi animation. The music turns into a laid back low cool groove that I drift away into.
A scratchy echoing bass falls away then rises again on a loop, there’s a tubular sounding chime and as the nose fades off into the night the guitar sounds tortured. I can’t see what she is using to make the sounds, the bass drone envelopes everything and a full on fuzzed out guitar smashes over the top as Hawkwind swooshes and sounds turn it into full psychedelia. It all falls away, crashes down and there’s a small guitar sound echoing over a low bass buzz, the film trunks to an expanse of water and the music turns to waves of noise flowin back and forth like the tide with a big fat bass playing behind them. Over this is a small sound that sparkles like light on the water’s surface.
What blows my mind is that Deb is playing this on one guitar and forming worlds of music with just that, layers and layers of different sounds building towers of music. It is breathtaking.
Too Many Things join Deb onstage and she explains that they’ve written some songs together, and she’s worried about her voice giving out. They tune up and the guitars start, they sound grating and discordant, the vocal doesn’t give out and Deb sounds strong over the broken strange sound. It gets very loud and very chaotic, I feel that there are too many elements and the song suffers for it. Then Deb announces that there will be an encore bit they’re not leaving the stage as she can’t be bothered with all that fannying about, someone in the crowd shouts for more and she smiles and says that someone gets it. They stand and play. A low twangy guitar echoes off into the desert, a synth sound follows. A massive bass holds it all down as the atmosphere overwhelms me. Marion sings and sounds angry and strong. The others join in and harmonise and we are back in Twin Peaks, watching them play before red velvet curtains as bikers cry in the audience. Spellbinding.
Too Many Things
All words by Adrian Bloxham, all pictures by Martin Ward.