Have your Big Yoga Muffin and Eat it: Dolittle live at The Fighting Cocks 2011

Of all the early 90s indie CDs I own (and believe me, it’s a lot…) Eat’s ‘Epicure’ is one of those I still play a lot. It’s on my iPod too and there’s not a track on it that ever gets skipped.

Sadly the follow-up album never materialised and as the horrible UK indie musical wasteland that was the mid/late 90s dawned, with all that Blur vs Oasis nonsense and little else, my musical interests began to wander as the old guard collapsed in on itself.

When Pop Will Eat Itself briefly reformed in 2005, I met a lot of people I hadn’t seen for a decade; kit-baggers from the Levs, Stuffies, Poppies, Neds and EMF. It signalled the start of a great renaissance in gig going thanks to a bunch of bands doing one off shows and reignited my passion for a lot of old favourites.

There have been some cracking gigs since, with ‘4 for Wiz‘ probably the highlight, but despite other great shows from The Wonder Stuff, EMF, Cud, Levellers and more, discovering Dolittle was probably the second best outcome of it all.

After Eat split, frontman Ange Dolittle dipped into a couple of musical projects (namely Weknowwhereyoulive and Big Yoga Muffin) that passed under most peoples’ radars, before (unbeknown to me) forming Dolittle.

And so I find myself in The Fighting cocks in Kingston for what has become an annual pilgrimage to deepest South London.

While a more central location would be preferable, we’re just happy to be here at all after last year’s show was snowed off. And in fairness, ‘the Cocks’ is a cracking little pub: nothing says ROCK like a leopard skin pool table and a sign announcing ‘Our house wine is Jagermeister’.

With the help of ‘Mr G’ (guitars), Rich (bass) and a drum machine, Ange has re-imagined a bunch of favourites from all three bands that works surprisingly well, despite their disparate beginnings. What you get beautifully represents the songs you once loved, but is very much a thing in its own right.

Because, a lot of the time, it’s all about the lyrics. It’s not that Ange particularly speaks to me – to be honest, most of the time i haven’t got a clue what he’s going on about (which might well be a good thing). But the lyrics run the gamut from comedy couplets to heart wrenching honesty in pretty much every track.

And, better still, the whole thing is delivered completely without pretension. This isn’t about reverence and detachment; the band are in the pub chatting all evening and enjoying themselves as you would in your local. this is about celebrating music from both sides of the venue, the stage and the floor.

In truth though, the same can be said of most of the indie bands of that era: Miles had been in the local pub pre-gig the night before at The Wonder Stuff, for example. There’s a mutual respect that I guess comes with time and, I guess, age.

Tonight, as usual, Dolittle are supreme. Self-deprecating, highly amusing, enthusiastic and musically on the money, it’s a great show (broken in half by the traditional fag break). And while old Eat favourites tend to swim to the top for me (‘Epicure’, ‘Shame’, ‘Bleed Me White’ and more), there are so many highlights.

Big Yoga Muffin’s ‘Tragedies of Life’ and ‘Me and Libby’ plus WKWYL’s ‘Confessions of a Thug’ are also highlights, but tonight, as always, ‘Don’t Wanna Go Out Like Presley’ is the track that really stays with me; passion and pathos in spades.

The night closes with a promise to do more gigs in 2012, and I hope to bring Dolittle back to Cambridge for a second show in the summer. But whether you want to catch up with these bands again live, or just to remember the good times, I’d highly recommend joining the fortunate few and checking them out (linked above).

What makes it all the more remarkable was how nice an evening it was despite half the audience being horrible hung over from The Wonder Stuff the night before (and for quite a few a couple of extra nights before that too). Not to mention the usual group of no-marks who decide to stand near the front, despite having no interest in the music, and talking loudly throughout. Nice to see Ange dedicate ‘It’s Not Much Fun Being Dumb’ to them though.

As an aside, Eat might well be the greatest word in indie. Seriously. Apart from, well, Eat, we’ve got Pop Will Eat Itself, Jimmy Eat World, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Eat Static… that’s a cracking gig right there. Eat Static on first, obviously, but the order beyond that? Tough one…

Thought I’d embed this too – made me giggle.

One thought on “Have your Big Yoga Muffin and Eat it: Dolittle live at The Fighting Cocks 2011

  1. Pingback: Me Me Me: My eclectic Top 10 of 2011 | Go Play Listen

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