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Jeremy Pearce - 11 Nov 2018
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"I can Remember asking their Merch man some years back at the System7 Rovo gig ."Was their agelessness due to a micro biotic diet"? .to which he replied that this was not the case and "They were both in fact partial to the odd sausage !"

Two legends of the psychedelic underground still pushing the music forwards after all these years. I'm a massive fan and have lost count how many times I've watched them now. First time was at a Orb Brixton Academy all-nighter in 90 or 91. I discovered them through getting into Gong as a boy and their music still brings me endless pleasure decades on. Steve's in my personal  top 5 all time guitarists and I have most of the solo stuff on vinyl.


Under The Bridge is a strange place, not completely dissimilar to the now defunct Brooklyn Bowl inside the ghastly 02 complex, but with good acoustics and no idiots bouncing bowling balls and smashing skittles whist bands are playing, nor the constant stench of deep fried US fast food export. 

It's the night club situated under Chelsea FC and it's about as corporate as it gets

You have a sensation of being over shadowed by the massive concrete football stadium structure and more concrete. What it does have is a serious surround-sound, system and a state of the art back projector and a certain intimacy.  I have only been up there twice before because it's a bit like the black hole of the universe to reach from border Essex. That was for Michael Rother (Neu) and the superb Turkish psych band Baba Zula.  It had been a nightmare journey up because I hadn't realised  that the Circle District line where it meets Notting Hill wasn't running. So I ended taking a  bus from there to Fulham Broadway and walking up, losing about 40 mins but I still reached the venue just as Steve and Miquette were about to start their more ambient Mirror system set.

The concert was held to promote their Cafe 7 release. The gig was far from sold out but that didn't matter much because it gave the event a kind of private party feel and it gave everyone who was there the space to dance and socialize too. Back in the day I used to hang out up the Sir George Robey in Finsbury Park and started going to the Club Dog events from the beginning with the cammo netting pinned to the ceiling. I can remember a rumour that one of the bouncers hired by the pub (whether Club Dog night or not I cant remember) accidently killed a member of the "Hackney Hell Crew "and got caught trying to dispose of the body in the park. I think this was about the same time as the Crypt was running in Catford where first saw the 'Ozrics'.  And Floes - a library three story squat venue on New Cross one way system.

Then there was the Whirl-y-gig people who are still Whirling. Then the Club Dog moved to the student Union near Arsenal football club and this was the Rocket where the Dog night became Mega and then on to the Academy Brixton and then there was Frazer Clark's Megatripolis.  As I looked around quite a lot of the people in the place had been hanging out in these places .There were older people too but the bulk were from this period. I went up to the System 7 Inspiral gig  (with Mixmaster Morris) when they played my fave solo album Green in its full glory and did a questions and answers session (The first was up Hebden Bridge)  and they both explained how the sound developed. The FX peddles and sound modulators, the analog synths and the time delay loops  and how Steve's metal wand technique gave his playing that unique signature sound and gliss and like tonight, it felt like a coming together. 

I was chatting in the break between sets to a group of women about my age who had been hanging out in the same places as I had at that time and they said I should head up to Noisly. Alex Paterson was originally billed for this show but couldn't make it. So Josko Radio Zora took his place and was very good. We were talking about the Brixton Orb gig with the giant inflatable ball and Glade and the Crypt and there was a massive connection taking place that night for me. I wish I had bumped into Doctor Stu too who hosts the economics show on Resonance FM and only plays Gong, Gong derivatives, Kraut rock and Velvet Underground. I can remember when  watching  the Superb System 7 Rovo Islington Academy gig some years back asking Steve and Miquette's merch man (the same as tonight ) whether their defiance to  ageing was due to a macrobiotic diet to which he replied, that this wasn't the case and they were both in fact "partial to the odd sausage"! 

Within my collection I have a double vinyl System 7 /777 that was released on Big Life that suggested 'play at 45rpm' on the label that I did so for over a decade un questionably, that made it sound like some kind of gabba techno and only started playing it at the intended 33rpm after that and it becomes quite ambient at the right speed, but strangely good at either setting. At some point I would love  to talk with them both about Branson, Gong, Daevid Allen, Kevin Ayres and the Canterbury scene. (I was watching a band of late teen early 20 somethings up at a private party up in Mersham Kent playing music that had been sprinkled with Soft Machine about two years ago it's still in the water there to this day). And the Psychedelic underground from then now and  future and the New Kind of Politics and the concept of the "Acid Corbynism " ...perhaps my wish will come true, who knows?  I never got to see the classic Gong line up but I did see Daevid Allen play with Here and Now's Planet Gong with Steffe Sharpstrings and Here and Now back in the day. I think the time before this gig I saw them as part of The Orb's Fridge gig celebrating the first album where everyone turned up and before that the dystopian Hawkwind Cornet gig in the blackness just after the Bataclan terror attack. Steve came on with the band after the System 7 support slot (that I missed due to the increased security) and contributed to an outstanding Orgone Accumulator rocking out with Tim Blake and the rest of the "Machine" 

So that's it System 7 Under The Bridge. The thing that was obviously apparent from this intimate gig for me was that how much in love they both are with each other after all these years. Every time they looked at each other they oozed it and for me that said more than words and this was in fact the "Meaning of Everything" (Angels Egg )

Campfire x

 

1 Comments

73

Pete Lawrence

You really brought the day and the gig to life, @Jeremy Pearce. Thanks for writing it x

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