Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip landed in Frome’s 23 Bath Street for a night of ‘unruly tales of everyday detritus and unexpected magic’ – flawlessly underpinned by Johnny Flockton and Benson Walker on guitar and bass. Suffice to say a storm went down.
Nice full house again for this Labour Party Fundraiser. Sean Dromgoole MC’s and does the introductions for the Straight Fits, ‘all from Frome – and they love Labour!’
This band have cracked open mum and dad’s eighties record collection, spun them around and re-imagined them for now. Their youthful enthusiasm, energy and fizz is pure Orange Juice for now. Good times.
Then it’s Mik’s turn. He doesn’t disappoint. On he strides in a pirates hat and artists smock, tambourine in hand, and whispers a chorus of ‘Sleep in Heavenly Peace’, which lulls us rather as Jack Nicholson would have lulled his ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ compadres – the maniacal grin, the disturbing undertow. He lets that sit for a while as Johnny Flockton and Benson Walker summon up a West Coast meets Soul Train vibe for an ‘Ode to Beer’ with the catchy hook, ‘We know beer…’ Then there’s the Bus Song, for which the head gear is mostly French Revolutionary meets Mohican, depending on the angle, and a workers jacket which hovers somewhere between boho and butcher. Sweet soul sound from the band, the stuff of gritty urban legend from our man. Library Song strays into punk – more John Cooper Clark than the Pistols – a tale of anarchy in the aisles. We’re into voodoo next, with heavy hints of The Doors, ‘upstanding, spiritual people everywhere – you’re a fucking inspiration’ yells Mik – and we’re totally buying what he’s selling. What a ride. The worker jacket is now pink ombre – or is that just the lighting? – either way Mik is in no mood for holding back as he introduces us to his subconcious by way of The Snowman tune -‘I’m Turning Into Dad’ renders the familiar sound track quietly disturbing, deeply unsettling, borderline mildly psychotic as he explores the truth of this statement, and ends on an existential whisper of despair. What a legend.
Back after the break and the tempo is rising. There’s a squeeze box as Mik mines his psyche in the contemplative, but upbeat ‘I feel my love coming – she looks like me mam…’ As you do. ‘Bed Song’ is pure rock n roll – ‘I’ve got an ache in my hip, a pain in my back – I’m going back to bed…’ Nothing says ageing rock star quite so eloquently as backache. Mik grins dangerously. There’s a ‘Betting Shop Song’ about marker pens ‘covered in flu’ and a segue into funk from the band that takes the tempo up and packs the dance floor, plus we’re howling with laughter. There’s ‘Plastic Fox’ in a punk style that I describe as ‘an absolute outrage’ – so it must have been brilliant, and another funky number, the aptly named ‘Watch Song’, about a £39 Sekonda from the market that puts our man in mind of Daniel Craig. We veer off for a sweet Irish melody called ‘Adrianne O’Driscoll’ and then meet calypso head on for an ode to the NHS, ‘Here I am in a hospi-tent. The NHS just came and went…’. As the set reaches fever pitch we’re all along for the ride, ‘We’re getting primal, more drums’ hollers Mik. “It’s a fucking new dawn in Frome.’ With which none of us would disagree. A roller coaster of a ride, a whirlwind of surreal, unsettling, deranged humour – with riffs. The Ego has landed. And his bought his five star band with him. Epic.
A Labour Party Fundraiser.
7th December 2017