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Random Giggage – Nuboots

I like it when people send me text messages saying “Ed is ill, want to come to that gig I mentioned the other day?”. Monday was meant to be my last night off before the Christmas run of minimal sleep and too much beer, but it was a gig I couldn’t really pass up – a 6music recording at the Maida Vale studios of Gary Numan and Little Boots.

I was standing just to the left of the photographer when he took this

I was well aware of the existence of Mr Numan, even if I didn’t consciously know any of his songs other than Cars, and I’d seen Little Boots on her first appearance on Jools Holland and had been rather impressed by her shiny flashing machine and rather good tunes. However, I had no real idea what to expect from the recording, with talks of a collaboration as well as having seen clips of the studio on the web before. It turned out to be a largish room that was big enough for 1/3rd of it to contain about 60 people there to listen and the other 2/3rds to house two bands worth of gear, a bunch of camera men and a big dolly track with a couple of blokes zooming around on another camera.

Anyways, me and the “King of random but awesome tickets”, Mr Reeve, stood by the taped line of Do-No-Cross at the front and watched the show. Little Boots (aka Victoria Hesketh) and her band wandered out to play three songs, including a solo effort on the piano that hadn’t been recorded before, as well as the obligatory interview before being replaced Numan and chums. There may have been more eyeliner in the crowd than in front of the cameras, but that was probably more due to years of experience leading Numan’s band to go for subtlety than anything else. They too played three songs, although we had a couple of retakes as the guitarist had issues, as did somebody on the recording desk. Mr Numan’s interview was quite interesting, especially his potential flip-flop from talking about his appreciation for those who used his music as the backing for rapping to saying that while he felt the success of covers was more flattering than that of his original takes there were better uses of his music than “sampling 8 bars and talking over it”. There was a theory that he might have been talking about the Sugababes though…I don’t envy whoever edits that bit.

Then came the much vaunted collaboration. I suspect that someone needs to look up what that word means, because Little Boots singing a couple of shorter verses in “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” with the volume turned down didn’t real feel like a collaboration, although when Numan’s band went away and he joined in with Little Boots and band things seemed to work better. They played Little Boots’s “Stuck on Repeat”, with Numan adding his wobby vocals across it and finished off with a cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs“.

All in all – rather good. Little Boots and friends can knock out her tracks live rather well and Gary Numan is Gary Numan, even if he did apologise for being slightly restrained in his performance as his parents might watch. They’re going to put out the whole gig (edited to remove the traditional MAGIC OF TELEVISION! stoppy starty gaps) next year on the mysterious Red Button (which means I’ll probably never see it) but they’ve got Venus in Furs up on the 6music website (it wasn’t quite so dark as that video has been fiddled to show. It’s like they’re professionals at making videos or something). It was rather a good night. I may also now have a Little Boots album.


Comment from Robert
Time 9th December 2009 at 9:17 am

My most exciting televisual experience was watching a recording of University Challenge – back in the Bambie days. This sounds pretty great.

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