Misty’s Big Adventure: An Appreciation

Last Saturday I saw Misty’s Big Adventure play for the eleventh time.  It struck me that this was enough for a whole football team of Misty’s Big Adventure gigs, a concept which I realised was not entirely possible.  When I was younger I remember picking a football team comprising cartoon dogs but at least that made sense on some level.  Anyway, this all left me with a hurting head and so I had a sit down.  This gave me a chance to think about what is so great with Misty’s Big Adventure.

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If I were a dinosaur, a skeleton in a museum would you buy my postcard from the gift shop mausoleum?

I was originally going to write this as a gig review of Misty’s but then I didn’t.  I read a thing (shorthand for ‘I don’t remember what/where it was) about how cliched it is to write about the band ‘taking’ to the stage so I made a mental note not to do this but in the end they just kind of wandered onstage and messed around a bit and then started playing.  On Saturday, however, something was missing from their usual show.  Their faithful dancing monster, Erotic Volvo (that’s him in the pictures, albeit in finger puppet form), was nowhere to be seen.  The story goes that he wandered off after a gig in Selby to get pizza and has not been seen since but we had already spent time doing the pictures so we’re still using them.  Usually Volvo is an erratic, audience bothering flurry of hands who dances non-stop throughout the show, crawling through the crowd and entertaining and scaring in equal measure.  He was sadly missed by us but didn’t spoil our enjoyment of the gig.

I’m hungry, you said.  So I got out of bed and I went to the toaster and I put in some bread

If Erotic Volvo is the group’s energetic, hyperactive, eyecatching side then his absence leaves Grandmaster Gareth, bearded, solemn, considered, starkly centre stage.  Whilst the appeal of a dancing monster may spark original interest with many it is Gareth’s humanity which glues the whole thing together.  Epiphanies are found in small things, cautious glances towards the future are snuck, pop bands and club nights are cynically taken apart so you can see their innards whilst Gareth urges us to end the bland age.  And then it’s up off into the psychadelic solar system where we all have a second brain.

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Crumpled up guy, you drew a picture of me and then crumpled it up, now I’m a crumpled up guy

They don’t call it grumpy fun for nothing.  Misty’s have so far released Grumpy Fun, Grumpier Fun and set up Grumpy Fun Recordings.  In a parallel universe, perhaps in Gareth’s second brain, they are probably called Grumpy Fun.  The name would suit them well.  The Grumpy Fun records are where Misty’s collect their bits and bobs – a strange world removed from the fuller sound of their ‘proper’ albums – a world where little girls eat giraffes, where hammond is king and songs don’t need to have a point.  Some of their best material can be found there and, hearing some of the new songs from their forthcoming album ‘Television People’ for the first time live (never the easiest place to judge properly) they sounded more like grumpy fun songs than anything else the band has done.  I’m probably wrong though.

You put the rust in trust and then you put the rain in brain

Misty’s used to play ‘Smothered in Love’ at the end of the night.  They don’t anymore.  Which is a shame as it used to be a joyous celebration with the whole band crowded around two microphones.  They also used to start with a story about car crashes and waking up dead (I’m not doing it justice) before launching into their theme tune whilst Volvo crawled onstage.  They don’t do that anymore either.  Still, I wouldn’t expect them to stay the same nor would I want them to.  It is a strange thing seeing a band change gradually over a period of a few years, from falling in love with them at first sight in 2005 to enjoying them last week in 2008.  Small changes aside Misty’s remain the same band, grumpy AND fun, still off on a meandering adventure.

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23 look what I’ve become, oh I went diddly-diddly-diddly-diddly-diddly-diddly-diddly-diddly-deee

They never stop, rest or sleep.  Misty’s are next in Manchester on May 25th to play the MAPS festival in the Northern Quarter.  Please visit their myspace, http://www.myspace.com/mistysbigadventure, for more information

END THE BLAND AGE!

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