We’d not done a gig in ages, but Dave from Lancashire & Somerset had a date to fill on the Pete Simonelli tour. Pete is the poet/frontman from one of my favourite bands of all time (on record and live) – Enablers.
Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, day of the Shrovetide game of mentalism with long-from football as its excuse. Pete, Dave and Dana arrive in a van that’s back is broken. Dana plays as Insect Ark, and is supporting Pete on this tour.
Dana sets up on the small stage at Bar One, by a small but roaring fire and flanked by deep red curtains. Laptop, lapsteel, bass and an array of pedals create growing soundscapes that are spacious, spooky, industrial, futuristic. Some songs don’t have names, but the small Derby crowd aren’t feeling very creative being, as they are, warmed and full of pancakes.
Here’s my favourite Insect Ark song:
Pete sits there like something out of Twin Peaks. The guy could read your shopping list and make a supermarket think it a masterpiece. Luckily, he has the words to match the delivery. Those poems that we know as Enablers songs sound different here, ‘A Blues For Us’ in particular. Backed by music, the poems sound urgent and raspy…even threatening. Here in the back room at Bar One they sound slower, more meditative, sombre, without losing any directness. We’re treated to nearly an hour of poems and stories from an upcoming collection, as well as those already available from Lancashire & Somerset.
There was a general feeling in the room of being lucky to have seen this, and to have seen it here like this. I’d put these guys on again in a shot, them both being engaging and inspiring performers as well as genuinely lovely people.