The Final Solstice Upstairs at the Garage, London
In complete contrast to Psychic TV's Time's Up where we last spotted him, tonight Alex Fergusson took the stage to a near empty room. Looking like a Cockney Paul McCartney (okay, Mr Fergusson is right handed and plays guitar) complete with chewing gum he performed a handful of songs solo completing his short set with a version of Psychic TV's 'White Nights', with the seasonal 'Santa Claus is checking his list' lyric. He's perhaps not a natural frontman but he is nonchalant and good enough to get away with it. Alex Fergusson has always been an excellent songwriter so he's probably best placed to be perfoming these songs. It's good to have him back and we're keen to hear more. Has anyone got details of the solo album he released?
Next up was Durtro Recording Artists Pantaleimon, perhaps better known at this point in time as David Tibet's better half, Andreas Degens. She looked nervous as she took her seat upon the stage to perform tracks from her debut release, Trees Hold Time. She needn't have worried as her short set of dulcimer and lone vocal track enchanted the audience right up to the point where the last note faded from the speakers. "That's it" she laughed as she quietly left the stage.
This was Sorrow's most recent London outing since they featured as Death In June's special guests in May 1999 at the Garage. Rose, dressed in her inimitable 'Bad Fairy' style with angel wings, took to the stage with partner Robert Lee and two other musicians to perform tracks from the Sorrow recordings Under The Yew Possessed and Sleep Forever Now. Rose, as enchanting as ever, alternated between keyboard and guitar while her bittersweet vocals captivated the audience. The enchanting ether -pop backing was provided by multi-instrumentalist Robert Lee on guitar and electric viola and two other musicians playing cello, bassoon and pipes. Given the layered production techniques of their studio releases their melancholic acoustic sounds work perfectly in the intimacy of a live setting. A surprise rendition of Current 93's 'Happy Birthday Pigface Christus' was dedicated to the 'sick man' in the audience. David Tibet nodded appreciatively. They even performed a version of the traditional and ever so apt festive song 'Christmas Is Drawing Near' a track released by the Coil/ Sorrow collaboration Rosa Mundi. Despite some minor technical glitches from Rose's Madonna mic which often faltered, this was a great performance marred only by a relatively poor attendance. Not counting the other musicians in the room which included members of Cyclobe, People Like Us, Nature and Organisation, Fire and Ice and Current 93 there couldn't have been many tickets sold. Perhaps this is indicative of a listless UK scene. It's not often Sorrow perform in traditional 'rock' venues so unless they receive some airplay, publicity or get picked up by The Wire there's scant chance of their audience increasing. Which is a great pity as given the chance Sorrow could quite easily find willing ears.
On a frighteningly cold winter night those who did risk the elements were rewarded by a great night out.
Alex Fergusson - www.alexfergusson.com
Pantaleimon - www.pantaleimon.com
Sorrow - www.rosemcdowall.com