I didn’t know it at the time, but as the car sped it's way through the breath taking Welsh countryside, the planets were aligning above me. The motor contained me and my pal John (specialist skills-Charisma, Ex-Gothness) and the plan was to head away from meeting mutual friends just off the coast of Llandudno to London where we would attend a gig headlined by the Garlands. There I would leave John to head to Bristol to attend the rest of the Big Pink Cake curated weekender. At the time, I had joined an online forum called Anorak, and was beyond inspired by it. Sat in the passenger seat, head heavy with plans to write about music, start a club night and put on gigs for myself, the world seemed suddenly open. The club night would eventually manifest itself as the Salopian shindig Just Like Honey and, as we shall see, I finally got to promote pop shows, but I had already started to write a blog called Brilldream (originally called I Had an Excellent Dream after the Dentists song, which proved a bit too much of a mouthful). It was pretty basic stuff at the time, like a songwriter learning the chords before finding it's own muse and own voice but it was SOMETHING.
The plan was going quite wonderfully until we hit the traffic coming into London and any bonhomie slowly turned into fatigue as the boredom of the stationary traffic started to gnaw at our souls. John was keen on sacking off the gig and just going for a curry instead, and stated the plan quite plainly. I however, persisted on going, and eventually won out. It was a very fortunate victory.
The gig was amazing. I got to meet a few of the inspirational people of Anorak. It was odd meeting them in the flesh, like the characters of your favourite novel popping out the pages and offering to buy you a pint. I was dizzily trying to take this all in, admiring the signed BMX Bandits poster on the Betsey Trotwood wall when out of nowhere a stunningly pretty girl bounded up to me, said she loved my T-shirt and insisted I attended her club night before slapping a flyer in my hand and bounding off again. As it happened, I wouldn't be able to attend the night (distance, real life, that sort of thing) but I was intrigued by the flyer. The night was called Librarians Wanted and the flyer was shaped as a bookmark, most wonderfully of all (due to all consuming passion to find new bands to write about) was a list of bands, three of them I had not heard of. One these bands was called Evans the Death.
I listened to all the bands on the bill, but it was the tracks off the Evans the Death Myspace (oh yes) that sent me a bit giddy. In particular the demo versions of So Unclean and Sleeping Song. I listened again and again,as my tea grew ever colder, in rapture. Everything was there, the songs, the lyrics that mixed genuine teen angst/ennui with Smithsonian whimsy, the voice. That voice! Like an instrument in itself, a voice to be trusted. Admired even. I abandoned my tea and set about writing down how brilliant it all was, how odd people so young could create something so perfect. I got a thanks off them via email for the write up and I somewhat cheekily asked them for an interview, which they accepted. It was, I think, their first ever and sparkled with wit and genuine inspiration. It was brilliant.
A little while later they sent out requests for promoters to fill in gaps in their tour, and it's around here where things get a little cosmic. Now, I was no promoter (far from it) but I knew I had to put them on. And we duly did, the second ever event under the Just Like Honey banner. The gig was wonderful, if sparsely attended (it was a Monday night in March, complete with snow blizzard) and was everything I hoped it would be. The band played a blinder, and later they got drunk on the free Red Stripe (one band member in particular who loudly claimed to have snorted cocaine off a dog with a member of indiepop royalty who will for reasons of libel remain nameless. We had to carry him back to my house, bless him) and we even managed to break even. Now, the reason I'm so fond of this gig is it in a very roundabout way lead me to meeting my partner, Rachel. The story is I got friendly with a lad called Dave who was mainly there to see the local-ish support band Bad Grammar, and in a few years time I would lend him a bass guitar and he would introduce me to the woman who would go on to be the mother of my baby. A pretty unremarkable story until you tick off the myriad of variables that could have put pay to the meeting. What if we had gone for that curry? What if I had not been at the bar when Silja gave me that flyer? What if we had set up Just Like Honey a month later and missed out? What if Evans had been shit? What of they had said no the interview? It goes on and on. The two weirdest ones for me was the fact that the original support band had pulled out a week before the gig, leaving us slightly in the shit (but still lending us loads of amps. Thank you Chris! I've not forgotten you!) and Bad Grammar had got in touch THE NEXT DAY practically begging for a slot. Even weirder was the fact that at work, we had a full drum kit just laying around, which had (and I swear I'm not making this up) been donated as a raffle prize three weeks before the gig and remained unclaimed. I'm not much one for fate, but bloody hell.
So, it's with sadness that I learned that Evans the Death are to be no more. It's obviously upsetting that we will get no more albums (which got more weird, more wonderful and more ambitious with every release), that the radio wasn't saturated with Moss Bros tunes and they never got to headline the range of festivals that their ambition heralded. What really irks me (quite personally actually) is that Katherine Whitaker never got to be a major influence on young women around the world. Her empathy, wit, and political intelligence should make her the pin up of choice over the new crop of singers and it reamains no short of a travesty she's not a global identity as big as Beyonce. When Martha, my daughter, is old enough to form a band, I will play her the EtD albums and tell her how Katherine (who will no doubt by then by the first MP with a Turner prize) and the boys once stayed at daddies house and how I met her mother.
The final Evans the Death show will be at the Windmill in Brixton on 23rd September. I won't be there (distance, real life, that sort of thing) but you should go. Maybe, just maybe, the planets will align for you.