REVIEW >> NARCS album launch

NARCS // ALLUSONDRUGS // INSATELLITES
The Packhorse, Leeds // Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hello, my name is Scott. I’d like to talk to you about something quite remarkable which took place on the last day in August, 2013. Let me start by providing you with an essential truth. Full disclosure is the only way we can form any sort of bond. I am biased.

Clue Records is my child and the events recalled here are ones I had a hand in creating, as well as descriptions of our two children – NARCS and ALLUSONDRUGS.

However, I promise not to embellish what happened or lie to you. I would like us to be friends. And it’s not my fault that the dreamy leader of our beloved Bang The Drum Magazine was swanning around in Bingley, living it up, slinking his hips around to the sound of Primal Scream and Tinchy Stryder. I can assure you that if he was with us that evening, he would say exactly the same thing. Wouldn’t you, Phil?

So, I shall continue. It was the evening of August 31, a Saturday as I remember. The location was The Packhorse Pub and the time was approaching 7.30pm. The weather was warm, bordering on mafting, and I had been imprisoned in the Packhorse since 3pm that afternoon. Not a single drop of sweet, sweet alcohol had passed my lips.

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Myself, my label-mate Ste and 50% of Leeds based love-pups NARCS had been locked in the front upstairs room of the pub. We weren’t allowed in the gig room as it smelt like Tulisa’s handbag after a trip to the ‘sweet’ shop and was full of people ‘clashing’. It was later explained that ‘clashing’ is just a new name for rap-battling.

If only we’d known, we could have crashed through the wall and performed a modern day take on Aerosmith and Run DMC’s smash hit ‘Walk This Way’. Instead, we stayed put, blowing up balloons and making large pink signs with which to decorate the stage, listening to the sounds of ‘WINDERZ’ taking on ‘DRAPES’ next door.

These were their actual rap monikers. Don’t believe me? Check out this video and see if you can see our feet clambering up the stairs behind the action. Amazing to see that the battle for window space still rages on and has now evolved to the arena of hip and/or hop.

Upon entrance to our carefully kitted-out room, revellers were treated to a NARCSY bag. “What is a NARCSY bag?” I hear you cry (thanks for reading this far and joining in with questions).

Well, a NARCSY bag is a brown paper bag, usually used by American hobos to disguise drinks on the street. Except we had wrote NARCSY on them in big black letters and filled them with loads of sweets, toy army figures, glow sticks, playing cards and good/terrible CDs (ranging from The Cribs and Deftones to Jamelia and Robbie Williams).

There was a flashing green art gallery featuring pictures of Hans Moleman, free drink tokens (one water each), fairy lights as far as the eye could see, balloons hanging from the ceiling and a huge pink ‘CLUE’ sign hanging above the stage. We also had disposable cameras doing the rounds with a sign asking people to ‘Take A Picture And Pass It On – Make It Snappy’. Some of those snaps are the ones you see here, others were done on fancy cameras.

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INSATELLITES took to the stage as guests of NARCS. The room was heaving and the audience were treated to lovely melodies, driven guitar lines and a superb version of the sore-ing Sore (see what I did there?)

ALLUSONDRUGS hit the stage next, accompanied by a small TV displaying a video of them having a weird picnic. They started with the maniacal, cackling voice of Jack Nicholson’s Joker from the 1989 Batman film and kicked in hard with awesome versions of Tutti Frutti, Mkat and Cherry Pie. Mosh pits occurred throughout and clothes were lost to beer spillage.

Singer Jason took time out between songs to watch himself on TV, and I’m sure Damo (guitar) just watched it all the way through between clicking effects pedals. They finished but weren’t allowed to leave the stage, completing a full room sing-a-long version of the beautiful Sunset Yellow before being allowed to leave.

I toured the pub with a megaphone, informing people NARCS were taking to the stage. They did so to roars from the crowd and once the sweary-old-man intro sample from their album had told the audience to “F*ck off!” they launched into Souvenir and a fury-filled Sandchild.

First single 19 was barked back at NARCS by the crowd before a rollicking version of Creatures in which singer Wilko called for Jesus to start a mosh pit. Luckily Jesus was in attendance and promptly did so. Don’t believe me again? Watch this video >>

Old favourite Coast To Coast was sang back with fervour before Collisions crashed in (the song not action, although the action happened as well).

Then for Karaoke, where Wilko channelled the absurdity of TV talent shows into one very sweaty room. For me, this emphasised that although millions may watch these shows on Saturday evenings, none of the viewers will have felt 1% of the buzz, energy or excitement that was created in that room.

High Commissioner and Irregular Reader blasted on until the final track of the album, Tall Grass. The air was a sea of confetti and smoke from the party poppers which were thrown into the crowd. The song starts tenderly and the crowd quietened to hear the closing track. Once through the verses it builds and builds until the deafening crescendo.

Throughout the final frantic phase of the song, the whole room was bouncing, balloons were being ripped from the ceiling, more party poppers went off and the CLUE sign hanging above the stage was torn down by Wilko and Joe before being launched into the crowd.

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John and Stanley kept the rhythm going while Wilko threw down his guitar and launched himself into the moshpit while Joe stripped the walls with his guitar. I was filming from the holding pen/merch table, but got over-excited at the unfolding events and vaulted over the front three rows, launching myself into the heart and  heat of the battle.

This lovely video is my view of events before, during and after the pit >>

The night though hadn’t ended. We all toddled off to a lovely after party which involved sausage rolls, Vennu Mallesh and a broken bed. At 7.30am I wandered home to ponder upon the evening & ask myself, “When will windows & drapes ever get on? And how do curtains, nets & blinds fit into all this?” I hit the hay before I drove myself (window) sill-y.

SCOTT LEWIS
Clue Records

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