Monday, June 21, 2010

RIP Frank Sidebottom

Sad news that Chris Sivey aka Frank Sidebottom has passed away. Most people outside of the UK wouldn't have a clue about who he was but to those who he knew him, he was among that rare breed of wonderful musical Brut loonies which also includes ace jokers like John Otway, John Cooper Clarke and Viv Stanshall (Bonzo Dog Band). Could a grown man wearing an over-sized cartoon head really make music for adults, doing his own lo-fi song covers? He could if his audience was equally loony, and we were.

Frank made a rare Stateside visits last April and I knew that I needed to witness it. It was at dive bar I never heard of and there couldn't have been more than 20 people there to see it. Somehow I knew that this needed to be documented so I recorded as much video as my camera could hold and the results are below.

I'd seen a number of great big arena shows (Prince, Madge, Bruce) but I also really savor a good small club gig, partially for the intimacy, seeing the performers up close or in this case, being right in their face. When Frank sang "Can't Help Falling In Love With You," he walked around to shake hands during the line "take my hand..." and then when he got to me, he yanked it away and yelled "give it back!" Later, during the Beatles medley, he foolishly gave me the mic in the middle of the sing-a-long and I bellowed the chorus of "Hey Jude." Even then I knew that if the camera video didn't work somehow, this was going to be a show I'd never forgot. Luckily, the video worked so I can share these wonderful moments with you (appropriately enough, the videos are lo-fi, with plenty of crowd ambiance and people walking in front of me).

Thanks Frank. Every time I think of that concert, it brings a big dopey grin to my face and I know that you'd appreciate that most of all.

Frankie is a punk rocker! - Ramones cover

Frank will tear us apart again- Joy Division cover

Frank hits the north- Fall cover

Frank = the 5th Beatle. His Fabs medley


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