For a Canadian far away from Canterburyland it's something of a challenge
to draw a list of five favourite gigs. Does listening to Robert Wyatt sing
along to the melody of "Slightly All The Time" while drinking and watching
the Soft Machine Beat Club 71 video clip together count? I've been
fortunate over the years in having visited England several times and it was
tempting to include a great gig by Steve Hillage at Sheffield City Hall
back in 76, or for that matter the undoubtably great gigs I missed by a
day, ie Nick Evans' Dreamtime! Then there's the many wonderful gigs from
musicians who fall under the umbrella of "and beyond..."  So I stuck as
close as possible to those we've come to tag rightly or wrongly as
"Canterbury" and came up only with great memories.

1- National Health- Roundhouse, London Oct10/76
My wife was sweet sixteen when I brought her to England for a taste of
the culture I'd discovered when biking there the two summers previous.
Through a mutual friend we meet a young Mick Dillingham, who suggested we
all head up to the Roundhouse to check out a new band with Bill Bruford and
Dave Stewart, who were - get this - opening for Kraftwerk! We sat front and
centre where I soaked in the most delighfully complex progressive music I'd
yet encountered. Amanda was a beautiful singer. But the continuous kinetic
"dancing" from the hippie beside us got on my nerves - that I can remember
though our smoke filled room. And why was the bar so bloody loud? We
retired to the one across the street ourselves before the headliners hit.
Thanks Mick! 

2- National Health- The Edge, Toronto Nov7/79
This time I thought I knew what I was in for, and was promptly proven
wrong. First there was Alan Gowen behind the keyboards, and when they slid
into "Play Time" off the second great Gilgamesh album I nearly soiled
myself! Greaves was/is the the most frightenly brilliant bass guitarist
I've ever seen/heard. I guess you had to be there but trust me the energy
in that tiny packed room was nothing less than ferocious. After their two
hour long sets we all packed their dressing rooms where handshakes and
autographs were sought after. I remember Phil Miller being surprised that a
Canadian would have brought a Matching Mole LP to be signed. What's really
amazing is that for years afterwards I'd continue to meet various people
who were also at this concert, two of whom are now good friends.

3- Shortwave- The Forum, London Oct /94
Speaking of good friends... it was stage front elbow to elbow with Nick
Loebner, Phil Howitt, Martin Wakeling, Harold Luss where the Shortwave boys
strutted their stuff and slacked our collective jaws. I thought I'd gone to
fuzz-bass heaven! More important was the wonderful musical interplay within
their compelling compositions. Is there a mellifluous saxist/flautist around
that can hold a flame as bright as Didier Malherbe's? This is a highly
tuned listening band that had their own conception of groove. A twisted
one, as refected so intensely on "the face". Afterwards I remember babbling
something like "now I can die". Unforgetable.

4- Manifestival- Convication Hall, Toronto Apr 79
Imagine a call from a friend telling you that both Daevid's New York Gong
and Mother Gong are appearing in a 1,500 seat university hall that very
evening! Now imagine walking into the hall and counting yourself amongst an
audience total of nineteen. Brought new meaning to embarrassing, especially
when local pop-punk band The Poles meet with complete silence after each of
their songs. Zu Band (Kramer,Laswell,Maher,etc) did a great set which
included Eno's "Sombre Reptiles", a pair of saxophonists chrarged around
the open spaces blowing up a storm (Yochko Seffer & ?) before Mother Gong
played a twelve minute set (there's a tape to prove it). Then Zu Band
became N.Y.Gong and Daevid toppled the evening. As their set continued
roadies began to break down the P.A. system. One by one the band fell into
silence as their eqipment was unpugged and amplifiers hauled off. In the
very end David remained alone on a near empty stage, and when his guitar
was unplugged he continued acousticly, though not for long. None of this
was "part of the act", and was extrordinary to witness.

5- Richard Sinclair- Cameron Hotel, Toronto Dec/94
Richard had played a couple of nice solo gigs in Toronto circa 92,93, but
this night was memorable as he performed both solo and with our own
Bananamoon. Led by drummer/composer Charlie Ringas (who can be heard with
friends singing "Phlakaton" on Health's "Missing Pieces" CD from
aforementioned Edge gig) they joined Richard, stormed through some Hatfield
classics, and bashed out "Nan True's Hole" as though they'd been waiting
their lives for this chance. This came out of a reportedly tense rehearsal
that put Richard back onto bass guitar, where he shines brightest, and into
kicking overdrive. The resulting music for us 50 or so fans was at times
ragged yet always exhilarating. It was a cold winter night in a decrepit
downtown hotel corner but the King of Canterbury was back on form.


issue 20 - the issue that never happened!
- mike king's top 5 gigs