Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine/Jim’s Super Stereoworld/Abdoujaparov – Mean Fiddler, London, Fri 15 Nov 2002

review by Teqkiller

Met up with Vicky and Nick (rhyming potential is overwhelming here) in the Wetherspoons that’s where the Marquee used to be on Charing Cross Road. This is the first time I have been to said establishment, and I had quite a hard time reconciling its creamy white Wetherspoonness with the grotty old Marquee. I have to say it’s not really my kind of Wetherspoons, it is on of those ones where the noise of people talking is quite overwhelming and the queues for the bar are something else. The bar staff were quite rude too, and one of them seemed to think that a “beer and burger” was some kind of exotic cocktail.

Oh wait a minute, I was supposed to be reviewing the Carter gig, not the Wetherspoons, wasn’t I?

Went in to the gig, which was at the Mean Fiddler (“which they’re going knock down, and make into a supermarket, or a fuckin’ rail link or some shit”, sang Jimbob, ad libbing his way through “GI Blues”). Fuck me, was it packed! Nick commented this was not because there were actually more people, just that all have them had put on a good few stone in the last ten years. The audience was probably 95% male, 30ish with short hair and ageing Carter shirts. I spent a lot of time staring at people trying to mentally deduct the years and imagine the spritely young indie kids they’d been before the weight went on, the hair came off and those “YOU FAT BASTARD” prints started to fade, and determine if I’d snogged any of them back at the Venue.

Only caught a bit of Abdoujap … – I still can’t spell it, Fruity’s band – and snatches of Jim’s Super Stereoworld over the balcony. Noticed that, in contrast to this time last year, the floor was packed, and people actually knew the words and were cheering and singing along, as opposed to waiting patiently for the Carter encore. I might be bothered to start liking them too, they are good so long as you don’t start comparing them to Carter, which makes them sound a bit like a singalong with Jimbob in an Irish pub.

Anyway, waiting over, and Vicky and I valiantly battled our way through the crowd to the front, while a lot of people stood around shouting “YOU FAT BASTARD!” Lots of people came on stage, the infamous Red Dwarf Fat Bastard sample rang out, and BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE, 1992 had descended on the Mean Fiddler.

Being at one of these gigs is one of those things like taking acid: you can’t quite picture what it’s like unless you’re actually doing it, and although it feels fucking fantastic most of the time you think you would probably want to be mad to put yourself through it. I’m 5’3″ in my DMs, which meant I spent the whole of “Surfin’ USM” with my face wedged in some fat guy’s armpit, being involuntarily bounced up and down, kneed in the tits, having my feet trodden on, a mixture of beer, sweat and 15 stone stagedivers raining constantly from the sky, trying to time my bounces so I can get some precious air, and at the same time singing every fucking word, because the words to Carter songs are like riding a bike, something you’ll never forget.

Setlist goes as follows (I think): Surfin’ USM / Every Time a Church Bell Rings / Rubbish / Do Re Me So Far So Good / Glam Rock Cops / After The Watershed // [encore] Say It With Flowers / Sheriff Fatman / GI Blues

I have to admit with every song I got a little bit nearer the back. This didn’t make much difference – unlike those namby-pamby goth gigs where people are standing around with cigarettes and pints, the whole of the dancefloor from bar to stage was a mass of people pogoing, stagediving and generally injuring each other in the name of a good time. By the end of it, I was aware of why they only allow 40 minutes for the Carter USM encore: any more and we’d all be dead.

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