Release The Bats – John Carpenter Live, London Troxy
Well, fellow fiends, have you recovered from our most blood thirsty night of the year? I am still coming to the terms that one of my heroes, John Carpenter, was not only coming to the UK to perform a set-list culled from his hugely admired films, but that he would be performing in a venue that when it was announced lay dormant about ten minutes walk from my flat. Now, yes I have moved in the intervening few months, but the Troxy is still an easily accessible venue from my Isle of Dogs lair, and frankly there was no way I was missing this bucket-list chance to score another life-goal. Some of the reports of previous dates in the tour have been less than stellar, due to what sounds like some unscrupulous promoters who have drastically oversold the venue rather than any issue with the sound or performance. For this inaugural London evening instead we had the pleasure of a fine venue, an enthusiastic crowd and the benefit of it actually being Halloween night, so there was a palpable roaor when he and his crew took to the stage for a sonic shattering experience;
Well, OK, I’m dipping into the realms of hyperbole. This was a throughly entertaining evening, the sound and venue were great, and it was awe-inspiring to see the soundtracks to such beloved films of mine as those attached here and The Fog, and Big Trouble In Little China, and They Live played by the great man himself. That said there was a fair amount of filler, the new material is fine, its good background web surfing / writing music as far as I’m concerned, but it didn’t exactly come to life in the venue. I’m sure you’re all aware of the set-list which doesn’t appear to have altered from the North American strand of the tour, nor indeed does Carpenters pre-rehearsed banter between tracks. Still, as I anticipated just the audience brought out the more cult attuned London film set, some of which had made an amusing effort to dress up as the likes of Rowdy Roddy Piper or Snake Plisken, although no-one that I saw made a full Michael Myers effort….
I don’t think opening the set with two of his strongest tracks was necessarily the best strategy, and leaving the likes of Christine for the encore, as with the best will in the world that isn’t exactly ois most memorable contribution to the composer canon. Still, hopefully the footage above and below speaks for itself, you either like his stuff or you don’t, and given the timing and its influence I’d judge the biggest audience reaction was for the film Halloween, whose opening frantic oscillations brought a grin to my eyes. A fantastic evening which makes up the lack of the possible BFI appearance, so catch up on tour if you can;