Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nathan Bell - 26 Oct




Nathan Scott Bell is a banjo player hailing from Baltimore, Maryland via Brazil.

You may have seen Nathan play in Nottingham before as ½ of Human Bell with Bonnie Prince Billy sidekick (and now Arboreteum frontman) Dave Heumann, who we had the pleasure of putting on a few years back.

We tried to put him on last year but UK border control weren't so keen though they did enjoy his impromptu gig in the holding cell at Heathrow.
Now he's back at the invitation of Capsule for the Supersonic Festival and we've asked him back to Nottingham.

Nathan is perhaps best known for his bass playing in legendary Dischord Records band Lungfish. He manned the low-end from 1996 to 2003, meaning when you put on Artificial Horizon or The Unanimous Hour and find yourself transported to alien, subquatic lands where your balance has been flipped upside down and you get the feeling of “I-should-probably-just-lay-back-down-here-that’s-better” it’s this man you should be thanking.

That this ability to alter perception should continue will come as no surprise if you’ve heard the music Nathan makes on his own and as part of the Brassa Bell ensemble.
Those same transformative qualities are richly abundant but now, instead of the bass, Nathan uses the banjo.
Whereas former Lungfish bandmate Daniel Higgs uses his own banjo as a grounding point for his vocals or as a raga-like instrument that always insists upon the moment, Nathan uses it’s spectral tones to explore melodic possibilities that hang in the air and bury into the brain.
Whether picked, bowed, sung into, scraped or drummed-on, he uses the banjo to somehow dislocate you from the present.
But this is no flashback or nostalgia trip. He might use tools from a past century but it’s the future you’ll be hearing.
Don’t be afraid.


Where to start to describe The Horse Loom?
The best acoustic guitar player in the country? Maybe.
The most unique marriage between British folk music, avant garde guitar playing and punk rock spirit? Certainly.
Wonderful? Definitely.
You’ll have to ask him about that.

Northumbrian guitarist and singer Steve Malley would doubtless be extremely embarrassed to read any of these things. That says a lot. Steve played guitar in Crane in the early 90s, whose post-Husker Du take on The Byrds-meets-DC hardcore earned them a deserving reputation as one of the UK's finest live bands. He would go on to play in Kodiak, Four Frame and then most notably The Unit Ama.
The Unit Ama existed in direct contrast to their (musical) peers from America. Whereas a cold and cool approach was favoured by the bands from across the pond, The Ama dropped any of this fa├žade and opened themselves and their music to possibilities of accident and misfortune creating a live experience that was truly inspiring. I say with total sincerity that they changed a lot of people’s musical outlook forever.

The Horse Loom sees Steve take this approach and apply it to his love of folk music. Combining folk structures and melodies with his incredible guitar playing has made The Horse Loom something truly unique. Getting Steve (a fireman by day) to play gigs these days is next to impossible so don’t miss this rare adventure to Nottingham.


Black Octagon brings together musicians from the same bubbling underground music world in Liverpool that brought you bands like Mugstar and Kling Klang. Take that sense of unravelling psychedelia and export it to the wilds of the countryside and you might start to imagine what sounds would occur. 2 guitars intertwine over bobbing drum patterns recalling something somewhere between the Neil Young “Dead Man” soundtrackisms of later Earth and the beautiful, layered melodies of Aerial M. But always sounding distinctly British and distinctly rural.

This is all happening at Lee Rosy’s Tea Room. We’ll open at 8pm and kick it off at 8.30 and try and bring things to a close at 11. Lee Rosy’s will be serving teas, coffees and the usual waistband-disaster that is their cake display. There will be a full Lancashire & Somerset record stall with limited vinyl releases, books and artwork:

It’s a fiver.

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