Thursday, June 23, 2011

CDF Star and Garter Manchester June 2011

Dave Fielding

Here is a top review from our Cath Aubergine from Manchester of the show Dave Fielding performed with his current band Coconut Dogfuck:

It's hardly the fanfared homecoming worthy of a local musical legend, but then it's always been this way: if you're an elder statesman of rock then you'll always do better doing what you've always done. Scrape the barnacles off your youthful glories and sell them one last time to those who wish only to be reminded, over and over and over until the last glimmers of beauty have been washed out to grey. Ridiculous, isn't it? How did the Post-Punk generation, the Anything Goes generation, the generation that gave us not just new styles of music but whole new approaches formed in its wide-open minds, become the Groundhog Gig generation?

Dave Fielding gave the world sounds which still reverberate today. Sure, there were others who took advantage of the newly affordable echo and delay pedals in the early 80s, and in the early '00s the Interpol-led revival once again made those sounds commonplace - but somehow Fielding was a level above them all - and somewhere between the fluid echoes which see out The Chameleons' first album and the waves of synth shimmer that start their second, he basically invented shoegaze or dreampop or whatever you want to call it. From where it's not a million miles to the rich psychedelic stew of Krautrock (again, a rather shit word for rather wonderful music); up the beats just a little and we're into the kind of deep pulsating drone-trance which is (in Manchester, at least, but probably anywhere) best exemplified by GNOD. And this, in 2011, is also where you will find Dave Fielding. Look at it this way and it's no wilder or longer a leap from his much-loved old band than song-based semi-acoustic strum-alongs of oldies more commonly associated with men of his vintage. Sometimes a snatch of a riff familiar from his Chameleons days will find its way into the whirlpool - we recognise a sliver of "Second Skin" - but he uses it as a decent sample artist would, out of its original context and expertly placed in a new one.

Coconut Dogfuck started in 2004, but outside of Lincoln where they're based (and even in Lincoln, for that matter) live appearances are somewhat sporadic. Early versions of the band featured a didgeridoo which gave them something of a tribal / festival trance feel to them, and while the basic themes on his backing tracks are much the same (his only live accompaniments are a couple of percussionists) CDF 2011 has shifted away from the face-painted campfire and into some underground post-industrial space with colours dripping from the walls. And he still doesn't play tunes, not for the most part: Dave Fielding is all about sound, and his sounds make shapes in the air, just like the lasers that slice through the dry ice around him. They float and loop and twist and dance, flicker and grow and fade and die away. It's a bit progressive, a bit techno, a bit motorik, a bit space-rock - and as such, amazingly, would fit right alongside the aforementioned GNOD and their contemporaries in Manchester's present-day psychedelic underground. Dave has only ever made the music that he feels inside himself and has not lived in Manchester for years - he just somehow found his way home.

It's a shame that there aren't a few more people here - although it has to be said that somehow Manchester's live music scene has conspired to split the rather niche "former members of legendary local bands who have actually moved on a bit as opposed to pretending it's still 1985" market, what with Martin Bramah's Factory Star playing across town tonight; Martin still lives locally, plays more, has started to build something away from his Fall / Blue Orchids legacy. There's no reason however why Dave Fielding and the still gloriously named Coconut Dogfuck couldn't do likewise.

Cath Aubergine