Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Bill Mason Band: Billy & The Rotas (1979)

Dodging the brick busses labbed from Moss Side, we gloomed steadily into the metropolis; a rickety sweat room above Jilly’s Rockworld on Oxford Rd, cloaked in shadow & smoke as sweet & sickly as patchouli. Each step up the stairs was another beckoning increment of Elysium as riffs wafted to greet us, the doorway at the top was a throbbing mouth which greedily swallowed us alive. A young teenager in the early 80’s, I had never been to a gig before. And this was a special gig, clad in leather with wide hollow eyes darting each & every which way, keen as prairie winds. A petulant strobe punctuated the swollen red glow of the room. Christian punk? Incredulous though it sounds even now, The Bill Mason Band were that rarest of things; animal, organic and raw with a Medieval purity spewing baleful St. Anthony’s Fire in every lyric. The End Times were here, tonight. I had wagged it from school earlier just to see them on TV debuting Mr. G from their only album No Sham! On screen, in the born again clinique of white studio lighting, overexposed & immaculately buffed the BMB were a shimmering contrast with tonight’s hedonistic fervour. Here, in the dark, the primal sweat and orgy of irrepressible raw sound, strangers became one animal, the Body of Christ lashing frantically at invisible phantasms of Hell, finding redemption in the storm of the strobe & driven like hail in the razor sharp pulsar of Dave Rawding’s snare.

You can forget all your troubles in this place
Forget your name, forget your face
Feel y’ heart suddenly begin to race
I thought this was a dancin’ concert
You got me here under false pretences
What a swizz! Talkin’ ‘bout God & heavenly showbiz!


North Utsire

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