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- Sub Club, Glasgow »
- Bobby Conn »
It’s nipple-stingingly bitter, it’s way after DiS’s bedtime and the front of the queue can only be spied with Hubble-strength magnification.
“So, Bobby Conn. What’s he like?” another victim asks.
Death folk evangelist? The greatest showman since David Copperfield? A man who sees no paradox between proclaiming himself both the Antichrist and America’s conscience? No one accolade does justice to the genius of Chicago’s favourite little man.
“Erm,” I waver, before trying my best shot.
“I can almost guarantee that you won’t have seen or heard anything quite like him.”
If my brain hadn’t been so numbed by the cold and copious caffeine, I might have remembered Mr Conn’s promise that “If you’re not sick/I’m sure/there’s an easy way to get you there tonight.” Jackpot!
Empires have crumbled and the rest of the human race has evolved into sparks of pure energy before we scuffle down the stairs and into the chamber of secrets that is Glasgow’s Optimo. I clock the merch stand that puts gruel into Bobby’s kid’s cake-hole. There are black marker pen scrawls offering descriptions of his two most recent releases. _ ‘The Golden Age’_: _“Bobby’s most personal LP to date!” _ _ ‘The Homeland’ _: _“Very political!!!” _
I am momentarily perplexed: Bobby is nowhere to be seen. When he surfaces from a circle of sprightly degenerates in the crowd, I sigh out. Even with the aid of 5inch silver platforms, Conn’s impish stature would surely make Prince feel a giant.
Not that you’d ever suspect that from his voice. Taking the stage alongside violinist Monica Bou Bou – who like Conn, is dressed in an acid wash denim suit with all important faux sheepskin piping (very Urban Outfitters) – his blasting falsetto fills this red cavern with the crazed power of a brimstone preacher.
Unfortunately, the Glass Gypsies – the sonic force behind the bristling orchestration of The Homeland _– could never ensconce themselves upon this minute stage. But it is a triumph of both logistics and aesthetics that Monica, Bobby and drum machine treat us to a set heavy from 2001’s _The Golden Age _. This _is _ Scotland’s version of Nag Nag Nag after all, and to have our fashionista psyches both pandered to and exorcised with Conn’s aural analogue of Bret Easton Ellis’ _Less Than Zero seems sardonically apt.
“We were into swimwear/we danced to cheap cassettes”, Conn strains in ‘Angels’ while Monica’s violin flourishes dance and slur like Nigel Kennedy on quaaludes. “I was pretty dumb/but my gums had got too numb from the cocaine”.
Closing with the Stevie Wonder-meets-Aerosmith crunch of ‘Relax’ – a tale about a guy called George from Texas who makes a pact with some shady ‘prince’ for deductions on his income tax - I’m reminded of another lyric: “It’s a wonderful party/ it’s vomit and glitter”.
I kick myself.
That’s what I should have said.
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