Minds Music Monday – Floating World Duo

Art & Talk has been busy leading up to Easter and gave us TWO gigs from the Floating World Tour of 2002 to enjoy over the weekend period.

One is a 10 track FM Broadcast from Amsterdam. The other, from 10 days later, is a full setlist gig at a winery in California.

I haven’t listened to either of them yet, but will do in the days to come. I’ve had another task at hand, which has had me going over gigs from my favourite period – forever stuck in 1982. Lol

I guess there’s trepidation for me, as I start to hear conflicting things from the fanbase for gigs around this era. Early SM gigs are pretty much universally lauded, as much as they are now (with only a small contingent of sour puss’s brandishing all the same old tired-out drivel “the band ain’t the band any more. They’re like a tribute act these days” ya da fucking ya da), but during this kinda of middling period, they seem a bit more hit and miss. But I won’t know unless I listen to them myself! One man’s meat is another man’s poison…as the saying goes.

Not much new content from the band performed with this tour – we only hear Spaceface from the first gig, and One Step Closer is added for the second. It smacks of not being TOO assured of your new output to only have a couple of newbies in your setlist.

Anyways, enough waffling – get your lugholes round them!

Quality Is Key

There’s been a recent newcomer on YouTube, uploading SM bootlegs. Some I really enjoyed as they were of a fairly decent quality – others …. not so great.

The most recent upload I was really excited to see was another from the tail end of 1982 – my all time favourite period for listening to them live.

I started to tune in last night but I quickly stopped, disappointed that the quality of the audio just WASN’T there.

They had shared the upload on one of the SM fan group pages with a cheeky “Art & Talk who???” comment. Lol

Well, if you’re going to be full of bravado about it, then honestly, A&T has nothing to fear because A&T uploads QUALITY!

I’ll even delve into periods of the band I am not so enamoured with because I know the sound quality of the bootleg will be “to a standard”. It is why I listened to the Glastonbury set a few nights ago. As much as I love the Good News From The Next World album, and as great as the band was live at the time, there is an element of Jim’s singing voice at that period that grates on me. I don’t really know what it is – I just don’t like the way he sounds at that point. It’s mostly to do with word annunciations and nuances in pronunciations of words – kind of “American mid-west crooner” kind of style. Or more … over-emphasised “blues man”. It just sounds false and kind of protracted and laboured. It wasn’t so pronounced at the Glastonbury gig so I did enjoy it but other gigs from the time, his voice just gets on my tits and I have to stop listening (sorry, Jim!).

So, yes, the quality of A&T’s uploads means I *will* listen to things I normally wouldn’t. Not always. Some I still haven’t dabbled in – but I’ll get around to it.

Of course there are some points in the history of the band’s bootlegs in which it will be nigh on impossible to have quality recordings. Unless they actually had made recordings for radio, etc, and they were professionally recorded, there is going to be little quality around.

And still, for my own level of interest in wanting to listen to bootlegs – quality is key. It is why I shied away from dabbling into bootlegs for so long. One) the general poor quality of recordings, and two) I wasn’t overly into live music when I first got into the band. That has changed massively since being a SM fan and now I really enjoy the live music experience. And I actually find the bootleg experience to be a much better (and truer) representation of what it is like being at a gig than a more professionally recorded thing with full production techniques and “in studio ‘enhancements’” and overdubs made to them.

I want to hear the crowd! Yes, I hate having some bloke being a pub singer right next to me and wailing over the top so I end up hearing much more of them than I do of Jim! But I’d prefer that than to no crowd noise at all and Jim’s voice sounding perfectly audible … almost as if he had gone and recorded his voice in a studio 🤨🤔🤔

If you’re going to give me a live album – make it LIVE. Don’t fiddle with it! Give me the imperfections and the crowd noise.

Still, one wonders exactly HOW MUCH is *live* at the gigs these days. Well, not much at the moment in good old Covid World.

But I digress.

Bootlegs – they need to be of a certain standard. They can still have the crowd and the punters talking and singing and you can hear the cheers and the screams and that makes you feel a part of it. And the band still sounds full and strong, and you can hear Jim’s patter between songs and he always sounds amazing and emotive, sometimes even breathless, and on the VERY ODD occasion, off key – but it all adds to the magic.

So, you provide the quality and I’ll keep on listening – capiche?!

Barras Bootleg At Christmas 1983 Is The Glittering Prize!

A “new” recording from Art & Talk was dropped late on Monday night. A true bootleg, recorded from within the crowd. For a bootleg, the quality is absolutely AMAZING!

They open with Waterfront. Jim intros it with “this is Barrowland, this is Christmas, you’re Glasgow and this is Waterfront.” Later on in the song, Jim says “this song is about Glasgow. There’s something about Glasgow, and other cities like Glasgow. People say Glasgow gets you down but I believe in Glasgow things are gonna turn around and go UP”.

That vision. That faith he has in the city it just feels sssooo contagious and beautiful. Even though in latter years he’s talked about it being all monochrome and that he and Charlie wanted to get out – not so much because they hated Glasgow – nothing like it – but that there was just a big old world out there to see and they wanted to see it. It was Wanderlust. And Glasgow is definitely not monochrome any more.

The love he has for Glasgow is so palpable in this.

Then on to The American. “Tonight’s a special night. It’s the first night of this new venue. The best venue. And this song is called…The American.” LISTEN TO THAT CROWD GO MENTAL!

The real special treat? Hearing White Hot Day. As it started to play I was thinking “what is this? It must be something off Sparkle, right? Or is it? Perhaps a different start to East At Easter? Maybe a different start to Book Of Brilliant Things? No… what is it?” And then Mick’s keyboards and Charlie’s guitar riff kick in and wow! “IT’S WHITE HOT DAY! OH MY GOD!”

Just beautiful! And Jim sings with such passion! The energy is astounding! It’s 3am when I’m listening and I just want to fling myself out of bed and just dance and scream and sing at the top of my lungs. Lol

Track of the track, it just builds and builds.

Up On The Catwalk – Jim changing the words to say “Get out of Glasgow, go up to Brixton”. I love those little things.

The intros of the songs are just so lovely. Promised You A Miracle and then Someone Somewhere In Summertime. During PYAM, he says, “I spoke to some people today. People who traveled from London and Birmingham and Manchester. People who traveled from France and Belgium. And I asked them ‘why’d you come to Glasgow?’ Do you know what they said? They said they’d heard it was the best audience in the world. (Crowd cheers) I’ve told you that before but you don’t believe me. And you’re right not believe me because I’m biased.”

Someone Somewhere In Summertime intro “for this next one, you’re gonna have to use your imagination. It’s cold outside but this is called…”

The interaction Jim has with the crowd throughout this gig is just so amazing. Even 12 months prior to this he seemed to struggle to be this engaging with the crowd. You could see and sense him slowly getting more comfortable during the New Gold Dream tour but I think the festivals in Europe during the spring and summer of 1983 really helped out with that. At least in part. A culmination of New Gold Dream being so well received, the band being so tight and on it, Mel joining – I think he gave Jim an added backbone of support. You can really feel that point Jim made when talking of Mel when he first joined the band. He said of him “with Mel behind me I feel 10 feet tall.” You can hear it!

Speaking of New Gold Dream – this version of the song is OUT OF THIS WORLD!

Finally, the fun of Love Song. Dedicating it to all the people who traveled to see them at Barras, and for all the local Glaswegians. And I loved the alternating line of “Scotland’s a boyfriend.”

An amazing, wonderful gig. I’ll stop waxing lyrical and let you enjoy it for yourself.

Thanks to Art & Talk for the upload – he promises a second night for us shortly…

P.S. Jim – I adore you, you beautiful man! Thank you for being the most amazing frontman ever! ❤️❤️