Monday, 5 November 2012

A Taste of Delirium (Stabbing a Dead Horse)

A Taste of Delirium (Stabbing a Dead Horse)
What happens when you take two prominent members of the now (almost) famous, or could it be infamous? ‘Fellowship of the Stick’, plonk them in a previously unexplored part of London with about six hours before what might just turn out to be one of the gigs of the year?

This does!

It started, as these things so often do, with a somewhat tentative and nebulous plan which, by the time various beery conversations had been had and promises made, especially to the wonderful Matt Stevens, that we would come to the London leg and finale of, the ‘Stabbing a Dead Horse’ tour on Friday 2nd November 2012 at the Lexington in Pentonville Road.

A tough but wise decision as:-

a) The evening clashed with IO Earth and the Tangent at the Peel in Kingston &

b) We can get home from central or north London by train whereas The Peel is only drive-able to or involves an overnighter at the lovely Travel Lodge! Easy really, decision made!

For the uninitiated, ‘Stabbing a Dead Horse’ does not immediately sound like a title for a Progressive Rock / Rock tour featuring three of the best young experimental bands around (With a fourth ‘local’ support band being added on several nights), however, it’s not too difficult to work out if you consider the following;

Stabbing = Knifeworld

Dead = The Fierce and the Dead

Horse = Trojan Horse

Still with me? If not best you give up now or, if you’re a real ale of pub ‘buff’ just read on through the ‘pubby’ bit until you get to the music bits.
(Self critical comment, great use of English Grant!).

Still, if you can’t take the Mickey out of yourself you don’t deserve to do so to anyone else, that’s what we always say, me, myself and I.

So, six hours to kill before the gig in the best possible way that two blokes who are not gay for each other can possibly enjoy, a pub crawl.

‘The Pubby Bit’ (Which is a purely personal recollection of events!)
Having departed work just after 12:00 we headed straight off to London and into Farringdon where we started off in the ‘Ye Olde Mitre’ a very attractive historic old pub tucked away down a side alley and once under the control and law of the Diocese of Cambridge, full of atmosphere and authentic history and with great beers and delicious bar snacks.

From here it was but a short hop to the ‘One Tun’, again somewhat tucked away but well worth a visit and it’s virtually next door to the ‘Sir John Oldcastle’ a fairly ‘Spoony’ sort of pub which is not actually surprising as it is in fact a, Weatherspoons, but, they did have some decent beers on during their beer festival.

One of the longest strolls between pubs took us up to the ‘Hat and Tun’ where the walls are decorated with stuffed animals and antlers and Kevin played ‘Toss the Barman’, not as awful as it sounds, it’s a dice game where you can, if lucky, win your drinks for free, needless to say after a lot of banter and hilarity, we didn’t! They also have a quiz here, as do many pubs and as we talked about quizzes and clever people, Kevin came out with the quote of the day “I’m not saying that you are thick, it’s just, you are not the cleverest person I know!” It was meant (and taken with) love and affection, the b’stard!

Next it was a short stroll to the Jerusalem Tavern’ for some excellent St. Peter’s beers (St. Peter’s is the brewery and they specialise in a range of organic beers). Another one of the oldest London pubs which does not appear to have been redecorated since some time in the Middle Ages! But, but, but, it was in this fine establishment that we met Paul Tippett, as in ‘Vitamin P’, now anyone who knows their music, especially their album covers, will know that Paul is a renowned artist (See Galahad’s Battle Scars album), he was very interesting to talk to and hopefully we’ll meet up again at ‘FrostBites’.

Although it was on our list, it was also very much Paul’s recommendation too, that we found ourselves in ‘The Dovetail’ a pub / bar that specialises in Belgium and European ales, which is where we encountered the ‘Delerium’ (On the pump no less) and foolishly followed that with a ‘Kwak’, who could resist a Kwak with its lovely glass in a wooden holder, ah, memories of Antrwerp.

By this time we were getting a little tipsy and a lot peckish so into ‘The Seksford Arms’ for absolutely splendid fish and chips at a mere £5:00 a head! (You also got the tail and the middle too) and of course another pint to wash it down with.

Another middle distance stroll took us up the hill, past, well almost past the doggie parlour, no, not dogging, doggie parlour, where Kevin was presented with postcards of two pretty appealing Cairn Terriers as we stopped to admire them before popping into ‘Filthy McNasty’s’ where we probably only had a half, at this stage I honestly can’t remember.

Finally we arrived at ‘The Lexington’ very merry but surprisingly not absolutely legless and very excited about what was to come, so, after procuring what was to be our final beer of the evening (Well I might have sneaked another one in later!) we made our way up-stairs to the music venue in time for the world to become a very differently exciting place indeed!

The Music Bit! (Which is entirely my own opinion and comments).
The Lexington was packed almost to capacity and I’m not at all surprised, although the tour was a three band tour (Knifeworld, The Fierce and the Dead and Trojan Horse) they had added a fourth, local, band at most venues, tonight in London it was the turn of ‘Pigshackle’, I wouldn’t know where to start to adequately describe their music but they were very good and certainly interesting, does ‘Prog-Punk’ crossover come close?

Next up it was the mighty ‘Trojan Horse’, I must admit, I’ve listened to a fair bit of Trojan Horse on Youtube and from their free downloads all of which I’d enjoyed but it still didn’t prepare me for the full on live show, for me it sounded like a unique blend of Prog with elements of Hardcore / Post Hardcore thrown in for good measure, heavy as hell and it sure worked for me, brilliant, brilliant stuff.

It was great to see our friend Matt Stevens fronting up the ‘Fierce and the Dead’, we’ve seen Matt several times playing his solo stuff and know what a genius he is but this was the first time for us to experience the full electric band and what an experience it turned out to be! If you’re a fan of complex soaring instrumental rock then you’ll love TFATD, we did, I’d go so far to say it was (Insert suitable expletive) AWESOME.

Finally ‘Knifeworld’ took to the stage, or should I say took over the stage there seemed to be so many of them!  With the traditional guitars and keyboards and drums there was a woodwind and brass section and how on earth does anyone manage to mix Rock, Prog, Indie, Jazz, (you name it it’s in there somewhere) all up together in a bouncy heady danceable cerebral trip of a music experience and make it work so brilliantly, well Knifeworld did, gobsmacked, utterly gobsmacked. The closest albeit tentative comparison that Kevin & I could agree on was, if Gong were formed now, new, young and fresh, this is probably the sort of music they would be playing! I hasten to point out that we are lifelong Gong fans.

The finale, well certainly the number before the well-earned encore, which saw just about all the bands on stage together was a sight and sound that has already engraved itself deeply in my fondest of memories.

All in all a damn good day out and a night to remember, and yes, we did make it home afterwards, just!

Kevin gave me a challenge, I had to write the poem to "Streets of London" by Ralph Mctell, so this is what I came up with:-

Did you see the two men
In Farringdon and Hatton Garden
Ambling along and laughing
One with a walking stick?
In their eyes was wonder
Real Ales for to plunder
Today’s adventures telling today’s new tall tales.

So how can you tell me you’re so sober
And say for you that the ale don’t flow?
Let me take you by the stick and drag you through the streets of London
I’ll show you pub’s that you never before did know.

Ye Olde Mitre & the One Tun
The Sir John Oldcastle were fun
Then the Hat and Tun with the spotless loos
Kevin said they smelled nice
And gave them a resounding “Seven”
“I can’t believe I heard that”
“He’s the Len Goodman of the loos!”


In the old Jerusalem Tavern
Dark and grey like a cavern
We met Paul who does art for prog bands
And his group of friends
They will be going to Frostbites
And other gigs we go to
So it’s a good probability
We’ll see them again!


And so on to the Dovetail
To sup on Belgium’s finest
Then off to the Seksford Arms
For Fish, chips and peas
On our stroll Kevin met two doggies
In the poodle parlour
They were little Cairn Terriers
And friendly as can be


We called in at Filthy McNasty’s
Before we found the Lexington
And four great bands that evening
For us all to see
Pigshackle and then of course
There was the mighty Trojan Horse
The Fierce and the Dead
And then Knifeworld came to close


Until the next time, stay warm, stay dry, stay happy - Grant.

Footnote: Apparently the stabbing the dead horse comes from a story that Kavus (Knifeworld) and his brother found a dead horse on Dartmoor, there was a knife and fork close by. they wondered if it was wrong to stab a horse that was already dead, they couldn't do it
time went on and the 3 bands were coming together for a tour ...Kavus thought the bands names were symbolic to the event that had occurred several years earlier.....

Words - Grant Meaby, Photographs - Kevin Blackett & Grant Meaby - A Fellowship of the Stick publication 2012.

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