I was pretty curious to catch Stephen Lawrie's acoustic solo set, because, I've had the luck to see how that thing called The Telescopes on stage twice in my life, and while the first time - supported by One Unique Signal kids - it was really huge, - the latter, a couple of years ago, everything sounded pretty (FORGIVE ME!) boring. Like the cover band of The Telescopes. I know I know. Before the end of that show, I remember that even Stephen Lawrie got out of the venue, while his band was still playing. And it costs me a lot to say that, since I'm a huge addicted to mr Lawrie's Music, and I feel like.. in debt.. for all his amazing songs. This happens to me with a lot of other 'seminal' bands which changed/shaped my inner self.
Bullshits and personal thoughts told, - so, I was damn curious to see how Stephen would have performed solo. I didn't even know he can play guitar. But, actually, he is the author of all The Telescopes' songs, as far as I know.
His show started a few minutes around midnight, in a small concert room flooded with drone music, inside a venue more similar to a place to have a drink and a bite, than for enjoying a live show - Städlin. One beer 5 euro. One gin lemon 10 euro. I had to save my money for my vinyl LP.
I did not take pictures. So, picture this: there are some candles on the floor, inside glass round ampoules, making a semicircle around Lawrie's seat: pretty holy-like atmopshere, fainted lights, one acoustic guitar, and a loooooong keyboard (a Kurzweil), pieces of duct tape to hold down some buzzing keys.
The room gets easily crowded as Stephen starts tuning his guitar. Finally my dear friend A. reaches me, he steps into the room, he sees me, he waves his hand to say like hello I finally made it..FUCK!!! then he accidentally KICKS one of those bloody candles away, which goes in a thousand pieces against the wall, right under the nose of Stephen Lawrie. Shoe holder 13, I guess. That was the most accidental punk thing of that night to enjoy heheheheeheheheh.
BTW, Stephen Lawrie is a professional dude, he did not even blink once, and he kept tuning his six string. Most people around were sitting down (unaware of the broken glass), then it started Stone Tape hypnosis: Dead Inside, The Desert in your Heart, Silent Water - here, - this renewed, doped, sedated version of what originally was a fiercely fucking wild song - from Taste, -
this drives me crazy.. I mean, it's like being tormented by a song which you sing between you and your inner self since always, until you've started whispering it here and there, constantly.. precisely "Hey I must be dreaming, said the whisper". This song aged together with Lawrie, exactly like the silent water which breaks the dams. And something's broken inside each of us.
Later, he performs also an ultra stripped down version of The Perfect Needle - again, that passive-aggressive inner rage as key to perform it. I've always wondered if the lyrics here were about drugs or euthanasia. I did promise my-self to ask about that to Stephen later, as I would have been buying Stone Tape LP, then I forgot. Nevermind. He signed my copy, I said hello, and thanks for all your music.
Maybe a 30 minutes set, maybe a life-long set, can't remember right now, - yet, the mesmeric, ecstatic state of sound played its part in it. No encores, though.
I'll see not to miss his full-band show in Rome next February 8th. See you soon, Stephen.