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Freeheat - London Mean Fiddler

  by Olga Sladeckova

published: 20 / 1 / 2002

Freeheat - London Mean Fiddler


The Mean Fiddler is an underground venue on Tottenham Court Road in West London. Don't be fooled by its outwardly innocent-looking appearance though. Inside it anything but that, as was proved on the night of the 29th November when Freeheat came to play t

The Mean Fiddler is an underground venue on Tottenham Court Road in West London. Don't be fooled by its outwardly innocent-looking appearance though. Inside it anything but that, as was proved on the night of the 29th November when Freeheat came to play the last gig of their first UK tour. Freeheat features Jim Reid and Ben Lurie, both formerly of The Jesus and Mary Chain, on guitars, one time the Gun Club member Romi Mori on bass and ex Earl Brutus member Nick Sanderson on drums and was formed at the very end of 1999. The band have already recorded an EP 'Retox', which has already been released in Europe and is due to come out in the UK in February. Anyway, back to the venue. Walk down the stairs, get a drink and prepare yourself for an exciting evening. The first support band, Polo, are already on stage hitting their instruments and warming the audience up. All kinds of people have come out tonight. There are dedicated Mary Chain fans. Right in front of me a guy's messed up non haircut reveals it all. Then there is a whole new generation of underground kids. There are also those who obviously remember the mid 80's music period as an essential part of their growing up, and there is also...also...the Parkinsons. They are the second supporting act. Having not seen them before, I check the audience to see whether they can give me any clue what to get ready for. Some of the people stuck at the front of the stage seem to be getting very excited and are laughing suspiciously. God bless. The experience when it happens is truly amazing. A barrage of high volume sounds fills the hall as the four men in the Parkinsons become completely lost in sea of their own music. The singer, like the other members of the band, is half naked by the end of the first song and starts showering himself in beer. It might sound a bit weird now but in connection with Parkinsons' live music it all seems totally natural. Well, maybe a little bit too natural as the bass guitarist suddenly strips himself completely naked. It's honest though, isn't it ? Or is it? The people down the front definitely loved the idea though especially after the bassist stage dived into the audience and jumped amongst them. How much did I regret standing half way up the hall. Maybe next time though. Finally, it's nearly 10 '0' clock and Jim, Ben, Romi and Nick approach the stage to the screaming of the packed hall. Jim welcomes us to the show and the band sets off on an amazing ride. Three powerful guitars take off to race with our souls. The density of the first song, 'Baby G', is truly appealing and literally overtakes the audience. It's fascinating seeing all those people starving for every tiny note the band produces. 'Facing Up To The Facts', one of the songs of the 'Retox' EP, pulls us in with its thick content of hectic sounds. The musicians are without doubt enjoying it thoroughly as every single soul in the audience falls under the spell of the band's spirit. Jim gives instructions about what song is coming up next. Nick claps his drumsticks and Romi, Jim and Ben restart their guitars to bring shape to 'The Two Of Us', another track from 'Retox'. "I met a girl/ She was crazy about me..." sings Jim. "I met a boy/ He was crazy about me...," sings Romi. The roots of the JAMC album 'Stoned & Dethroned' definitely can't be denied here. 'K Moon' is Freeheat's last song tonight. At the end the music blurs and you just lose yourself in the space of a trembling sound, which has still underneath it all the undercurrent of a gentle tune. Mary Chain fans will know this joy by heart. It feels euphoric. "We have to get more!" everyone is thinking as the crowd continues to scream and chant after the band has gone off the stage. Freeheat approach the stage once again.The very last song is 'Teenage Lust'. Close your eyes. The Mary Chain are back. I didn't get the chance to see the JAMC live but with Freeheat, I think, it is like a second chapter to the amazing music the band once made. It's a real shame that UK underground music remains underground as it was at this gig. At least tonight it made a great step of moving towards the surface. Keep going! The set list: Baby G What Goes Around Back On The Water The Story So Far Facing Up To The Facts Get On Home Virtually Unreal Fucked Up Lover No Love The Two Of Us K Moon Teenage Lust

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Freeheat - London Mean Fiddler

Freeheat - London Mean Fiddler

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Interview (2006)
Freeheat - Interview
After the collapse of the Jesus and Mary Chain, singer Jim Reid and guitarist Ben Lurie formed a new band, Freeheat. Olga Sladeckova talks to Ben Lurie about the group and their posthumously released debut album, 'Back on the Water'

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Retox (2002)
Long delayed debut by former Jesus and Mary Chain's frontman Jim Reid's new band

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