We went to a leaving do in Leeds last night. Another never before experienced format of an evening for us; a benefit gig and art auction raffle for a skateboard based charity. Wharfe Chambers – the utterly unique venue we first went to in December for the UK premier of the film Ladyfingers was host.
Before I jump into a braindump of the show, a comment on the beneficiary of last night : Skateistan. At first glance, it may seem to the cynical, as a ridiculous, Micky Mouse premise for a charity; the funding of skateboarding based community projects in poverty stricken and war torn areas, but they actually seem to be having real impact. It’s perhaps because the premise is so innocuous looking, that it’s being waived through by the officials and red tapers. It’s perhaps because something like a skateboard, being so universal and ubiquitous, and so exclusively intentioned as a symbol of having fun, means this project seems to be actually sidestepping all the politics and getting to the heart of the matter. The fun, coupled with the charities underlying ethos of hope and mission of education seems destined to do good. Charities like this and perhaps the cricketing parallel ‘Afghan Connection’ have tapped into something – using a sport as the focal point, and using it as a catalyst for change. Anything that puts a smile on the face of a kid who otherwise has a pretty rough ride in life is a cause well worth supporting, in my book. Don’t just take my word for it, they’ve just recently been ranked #85 in the World Journal’s NGO list.
So, the night. Typically, a night out for me has a story line,with a start, middle and end. This gig was strictly ‘the middle’ bit, as we’d dropped in mid flow, then checked out after an hour or two and drove home (a massive plus point of having a not drinking, pregnant wife). We more fell into the observer, rather than the participant type last night. I did observe a few Rooster Buckeye at £2.50 a pint mind you, a bunch of old friends, good chats, happy faces, and two bands..
A lot of the full house crowd, mainly younger than me skater punks were there for the headline act, who they knew word for word. We’d missed the opening act, which was a shame, as Serious Sam Barrett who I’ve seen before, is excellent. The middle band who were on when we arrived, were in full swing. These guys (and gal, on bass), from Liverpool, describing themselves as ‘horror punx’ were all about a slick, metallic sound, and thrash punk riffs cleverly structured around the entertaining theatrical performance of their make up clad front man. If you can imagine a big band punk version of muse, that looked like a bunch of semi gothics, you might get close. Good stuff.
The headline act, after the very well stocked raffle was announced, was the Dry Heaves, hailing from Sheffield. 100% energy. Mid crowd in your face front man, the crowd swelling and heaving as the two Gibson SGs, bass and superb drummanship ripped a new one, for the baying audience. Exit stage right for me and weeble-esque proportioned wife. On top of their game, from the 5 or so numbers we saw.
So a tip top night, good luck in London village Timbo.
Check out more on Skateistan:
Skateistan official website >>