Illness has hit many an Oxfordian this festive season, which may go some way to explaining why The Cellar is half empty tonight. It's a shame, The Walk Off were always at their best playing to a packed room full of people who were well up for dancing their genitals off. It is a real shame that their last ever gig is to a half size crowd, half of whom themselves are ill and not at their best. When I say half crowd, I mean that the cellar was only about half full, not that The Walk Off played a gig to a crowd of midgets and children. God, how good would it have been to get The Walk Off playing at a children's party?
Clanky Robo Gob Jobs is up first though. I can't really say anything I haven't said before in my last thing I wrote about a gig he played at. I will simply say this time, I didn't like it.
Party Shank are next. Whenever I saw Party Shank before, they were awesome. Happy Hardcore played using a variety of toys, it was good fun and caused good dance times. Now they seem to have decided they want to be taken seriously, so we're treated to a first 10 minutes that sounds like they've nicked as many samples from "Waters Of Nazareth" by Justice as they possibly can and rejigged and rearranged them into something very danceable but strangely empty. This is the feeling I get from the whole rest of their set too. Ultimately, for some reason I can't quite put my finger on, the whole is not as good as the sum of it's parts. Good samples, check. Pounding, very danceable drumbeats, check. Driving electro-basslines, check. All the ingredients for something I would normally be wetting myself with excitement for are here, and I should be over-excitedly telling you about my new favourite band, but there's something so strangely empty about it. Something slightly cynical. Like they've found the perfect formula and know exactly what buttons to push, but have somehow forgotten to add any sort of soul into it. A detached sense of this all just coming a little too easily to them. The fun is gone and you no longer have the great fun feel good party band that Party Shank were. They seem to have tapped right into what's "Cool" right now, and know exactly how to play it. I don't know, maybe it's one of those things I'll see again and totally change my mind, and I'm not even sure I've explained it properly, but there was just something that didn't work for me. It seemed a little too obvious. A little too calculated. A little too formulaic. A little too soulless. I dunno, I'm probably being too harsh here, but that's what I thought.
Then came The Walk Off for their last ever performance. I'll be honest, the start was a little shaky, it took a while to get going. Now whether that's their fault, or the fact that there's only half a crowd of people not necessarily feeling at their best is very much debatable. I would personally say it was due to the crowd, coz once people started to get into it, they played a good set. It's just a shame that night couldn't have been the massive dance party send off they deserved, but at this time and in these circumstances, at moments you can see they've kind of had enough of doing this. The second half of the performance was awesome though, a real reminder of why I loved them, and dance was had, and had hard. But this isn't the one I'll remember them for, and I don't think they'd want it that way either.
The first time I saw The Walk Off was in February, and I genuinely thought they were the best band I had ever seen (Until I saw Shit & Shine, but I won't go into that now). They played at the Zodiac at the Smash Disco night after A Silver Mount Zion had played a pretty special gig, and were superb then too. Then at the Cellar in June or July (I can't remember which) they played just as well as they had at the Zodiac. Those are the gigs I will remember them for. When they made my limbs try to force themselves off my body. When I got drenched in sweat and booze and didn't give a fuck about anything coz I was dancing to the most awesome noise I'd ever heard.
Oh yeah, and that last minute gig where no-one turned up and we all sat ion the stage and it was very surreal.
I will miss you The Walk Off.