Comus – Borderline 28th April 2012

A couple of years ago I hadn’t even heard of 70’s cult psychedelic folk band Comus but then for some reason their name kept cropping up on one of my e-mail groups so I decided to check them out. I fell in love with their first album First Utterance the first time I heard it and have been wanting to see them ever since. They only reformed in 2009 playing together for the first time in 37 years and have done a handful of gigs since. I was going to go and see them about this time last year but my car broke down a few days before the gig and I ended up spending all my money.

We did manage to get Roger Wootton and Glenn Goring to appear as a duo at the Summer of Love festival last year but although I enjoyed their set it didn’t have the weirdness that the Comus songs have on record – I don’t think the fact that it was pissing down with rain helped matters much either. So I decided that I needed to see the full band and was glad to see that they were playing at the Borderline in London on 28th April.

I’ve always loved the Borderline as a venue but it had been quite a while since I’d been and the first thing I noticed was that there had been some changes. I think they’d knocked the wall behind the sound booth down and made the gents smaller so that there was more room to stand and watch the band. Other than that and a new small bar near the “dancefloor” it was still pretty much as I’d remembered it.

I was at the bar when the first band came on. They were called Purson and from the very first song they had the audience entranced with their sixties flavored rock. They looked and sounded as if they were playing a speakeasy in 1969 with just the lack of oil lamps and a smokey haze giving things away. The lead singer, Rosalie Cunningham, who was wearing a long flowing hippy dress has a lovely voice and plays a mean guitar while the rest of the band kick ass behind her!

Next up were Fusion Orchestra 2 who turned out to be a reincarnation of a band that were around in the early 70’s  with one album that has achieved a cult status – bit like Comus then! However the new incarnation (with a 2 added on the end of the name probably to avoid lawsuits!)  only has one original member, Colin Dawson, in it. At first glance I thought that maybe it was the drummer but it turned out to be the guitarist. The band came on and were just about to start when a female singer suddenly appeared wearing a black dress with a flower in her hair. This sudden last minute appearance jarred me for a few minutes because she didn’t look as if she belonged with the rest of the group but once you got used to her looks her voice fitted in well. She did admit though that the album, Skeleton in Armour, had come out almost 20 years before she was even born.

After they had finished the stage was virtually stripped bare of equipment leaving only a small rack of drums before Comus took to the stage and opened with Song to Comus off the First Utterance album. Unfortunately due to a technical hitch Colin Pearson’s violin was not audible during the song and there was a long gap while it was sorted out before the set continued with a favourite of mine Diana. The sound seemed to improve as the night went on and by the end they sounded great. The set was comprised of all but one song from First Utterance and the three new songs from the new album (or mini album as they called it) Out of the Coma.

Set List

Song to Comus
Diana
Out of the coma
The Return
Drip Drip
The Herald
The Sacrifice
The Prisoner
Encore
The Bite

I enjoyed seeing them live and my only criticism would be the lack of material. Given that they only play stuff from their first album as the second album was generally regarded (even by the band) as crap they will find it hard to continue to pull in crowds if they play the same songs every time. The three news songs were good and Out of the Coma sounded much better than it did when I first heard it at SoL last year. They seem to be working closely with David Tibet of Current 93 who was supposed to be there but couldn’t make it due to illness so maybe that might produce some creative outpourings.

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Whitstable

Whitstable Oyster Co

We went to Whitstable one day during the Christmas period, just to get out of the house and to let the sea air blow away the cobwebs! I took some pictures using my HTC Desire HD and the Vignette app. The one above is an update of a picture I took in 2007.

Whitstable Fisherman's Cottages

We saw these lovely old Fisherman’s Cottages on the Seafront which have been converted into little apartments. They are right on the seafront and most of them have sea views. They looked like the perfect place for a weekend getaway but when we checked them out on line they were steamingly expensive!

Whitstable Deli

This is one of the more unusual pictures I took – I saw them hanging outside a deli as we walked down the main street. You can see the rest of the pictures I took by visiting my flickr site.  We went for Fish & Chips at a restaurant a few doors down from the Deli.

Have you ever noticed how much nicer Fish & Chips taste at the Seaside!

South Norwood Country Park

I “discovered” this place today! It’s just round the corner from where I have worked for over 20 years and I didn’t even know it was there. Hiden from the world by a huge Tesco store, a train line and the trees that surround it a vast area of open country side in South London. It is mostly reclaimed land that used to be sewage works and a dumping ground. In the few minutes I had to wander round one small corner of it  I was amazed by the variety of wild life that I saw.