Ellipse Promotion Present Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers, Thee Acid Tongue & The Big Sugars
Coventry Square 1 – September 11th 2021
A year and a half on from my last gig and at long last I’m in a dark room full of likeminded lunatics watching live music again. Coventry has given us three bands tonight, Fighting Boredom favourites Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers, Thee Acid Tongue and The Big Sugars. See what we thought below.
There’s a bearded dude in a pink fur coat, a black beanie that rises about a foot foot above his head, sunglasses and a pair of spiked goggles on his forehead. Around him a bunch of long hairs are creating some sort of psych rock madness. The back drop projection is attempting to induce seizures in the crowd and I’m bloody loving it.
This is finally it, my first gig since lockdown in March twenty twenty.
I have been trying to get to one but a combination of enforced self isolation and technical difficulties have rendered my efforts useless. But I’m here now and it’s damn good to be back.
The Big Sugars are on when we walk in and they are playing a punk glam stomp of a song, there’s a load of people on stage and they all seem to be grinning. The song ends and someone says ‘I’m sorry I seem to have lost the battle with my trousers’ and they’re off into Southern boogie territory, very seventies and very groovy.
They also go all swinging sixties sing along at one point and another Glam rock stomp at another. This is the sound of friends getting up on stage and getting way into a groove that they love. There’s at least two Imagineers onstage and it’s odd to see them up there looking like they know what’s going on…
There then follows a period of garage fuzzed out nastiness and the singer seems to have grown furry paws.
I have no idea what is going on. Maybe someone’s spiked the Gin. They finish with a totally straight faced rendition of the Stones ‘Start Me Up’ and it’s ace. Very silly and very groovy.
The next band are a late replacement for the Resurrection Men who were the last band I saw before lockdown. Thee Acid Tongue are proper old school punk. They play rock’n’roll with a hard edge and it’s short sharp and distille
d. They are playing the music that they know so well it seems effortless. The guitar is low slung and boot tapping cool, the drummer’s got black hair and a cool detachment as he hammers out the beat. The singer is in a short sleeved shirt, bleached hair and leans into the mic to deliver his lines. Then there’s Tracey, laughing as she plays with purple hair, red shorts and quite frankly insane boots.
They play loud, low and loose. It’s fast punk that feeds off the attitude that gave us this in the first place. This isn’t as much a band as their life. It’s hard but it’s not a throwback to old times, young kids are dancing, this is still relevant now.
That they were around when it all kicked off and they are doing it now speaks volumes. The groove carries on. There’s a riff that’s pure Thunders and a bad asses feeling of the Damned but it’s cool and straight on. They go into a swamp stooge crawl and a black hearted boogie and the demons start to slither into the back of the room behind the screens.
There’s a bunch of people from the NHS chanting Tracey! and dancing like maniacs, one of them is fastidiously fastening clothes pegs onto peoples jackets as they dance. The band launch into another street hard punk song and they are all grinning. They are all giving it everything and it’s excellent.
They come off and the gin is starting to slip under my guard. I’m watching the crowd and the shadows behind them are growing as Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers stumble out of their rusting beautiful time machine and walk on stage just as if everything is normal.
The guitar hits with a stupidly psychotic blast, there’s a pause, squeal of feedback and the badness rises. This is a groove straight out of the back of Altamont, it’s the death of the sixties in a riff. The backdrop projection rivals Warhol and as you notice that, the drums kick in. The bass throws down and they’re gone daddy gone..
Aaron moves to the mic and as he destroys the guitar he starts singing like a possessed blues singer brought back by the devil to entertain his hordes. Kids and the rest are dancing but The Imagineers haven’t cut loose yet, they’re not all the way out there. The drums kick out a rabid jazz funk and the feedback signals the boogie of the bad news rising. There’s a buzzing in my head and the voice is like someone spitting petrol.
They play a night dark swamp boogie with the drums and bass fuzzed out and massive, they play a primal blues riot and with that voice it’s all you need.
There’s hair all over the stage, where are the helicopters come to get us out of here. This is what came out of the purple haze, agent orange bred this shit. The kids are losing their minds and the demons are getting closer, circling. I’m seriously worrying about flashbacks. The time machine has landed to the sound of confusion and chaos. The sound coming through now is righteous guitar boogie and whiskey fumed vocals.
There’s a psychedelic wigout, a loose punk dangerous slam and then they start to lurch. Blues from down there and the demons have joined the kids and are dancing too.
It’s just brilliant, the first gig since lockdown. Not that Charles Dexter Ward were locked down, they travelled to the Jurassic to hunt down dinosaurs for even bigger sounds. Someone has grabbed my notebook and written that Mel and Deanna loved it! There’s two encores and the guitarist doesn’t even make it offstage before either, there’s primal screams and fuzzy riffs, you know the score. When they eventually leave the stage for good they lay the guitar on the speaker so it feeds back into the silence.
What a gig. What a show to come back to. I stumble home and realise there’s a clothes peg on the back of my shirt…
Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers
Thee Acid Tongue
The Big Sugars
The Big Sugars are on Facebook
Pictures by Martin Ward
Words by Adrian Bloxham