Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Best Gig I Ever Done See #5 - Will Oldham Palace Bonnie Prince Bullshit Whatever

Palace Brothers
Nottingham, The Narrowboat 7th June 1994

I somehow missed the very first Palace Brothers gig when they came to Nottingham in 1993 and did all the stuff from the first album, so I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't miss them the next time. Except when the next time came it wasn't a "them" it was a "him".

The second album hadn't been released when he played at The Narrowboat in (early summer) 1994 so I didn't realise it was just Will Oldham and a guitar, and at first felt a little short-changed when I realised that was the format for the gig too. At this point in my life I'd probably never even seen someone play acoustic guitar to so many attentive people in such a small room, but it was dictionary-definition spine-tingling (this was way before anti-folk and made this sort of thing commonplace.)

Will sat down and my first thoughts were "jesus he's ugly". Sadly he hasn't improved with age either..

Next he introduced a song with the words - this is called "I am a cinematographer" and when, at first, the lyrics seemed to be that phrase repeated over and over, there were people around me stifling giggles like they'd just turned up to a concert at the special school.

The evening progressed and the audience settled in as Will did a few tracks from the first album, then the giggles started again when he introduced "a song by Prince" - of course he was joking we thought...but no it was a gorgeous sparse rendition of "The Cross" from Sign O' The Times, which sat perfectly within the context of the religious imagery in Will's other songs. Was he joking? Part of me wonders if everything Will Oldham does is a joke I just don't get. That beard even?

When I got home the first thing I did was get my flatmate to play the Prince version (as I didn't own any Prince records - I was still scarred from my mate refusing to lend me the Purple Rain soundtrack when we were at school so I could offend my parents with the track about the girl wanking herself off with a copy of Cosmo). Anyway - I listened to it a lot for the next few weeks and it's still a big favourite.

So here is NOT the Prince version but the 2nd Palace Brothers Peel Session recorded on this visit to the UK, including aforesaid reading of "The Cross"

Will Oldham Peel Session 29 July 1994