Tommy and I didn’t have that much music taste in common, weren’t that close, though we hung out a bit. He liked rock, had long hair, I liked indie and tracksuits and kept my hair short, but we both loved David Devant and His Spirit Wife. They played with props, with music hall, and with verve. They played with style and enthusiasm and anywhere at all. We went up from Birmingham to Coventry see them at a small club called The Planet. We were underprepared and had no real idea where it was, lost in the thick concrete trees beneath the ring road.
Eventually we found it, squashed against the city, up some steps, a thick brick box. It was small and we got right to the front when the band eventually came on. We drank furry lager from plastic glasses with rough edges, we talked the throat-burning talk of the not-well acquainted.
They were wonderful.I shouted for Life on the Crescent – a song played on the tiniest of organs and nothing else – they were about to play it anyway, I could see from the setlist. The Vessel, the singer who supposedly channeled the original David Devant a long dead magician, looked me softly in the eye, said, “Yes.”.
Their last song then, as it was last year when I saw them again, was We’re Not Even Going to Try – a crackling drum machine beat, an anthem to that special kind of not bothering that indicates you care very deeply. “I’m not even going to pull my shirt sleeve, up.”
Their last song, which meant we’d stayed to the end. And missed the last train.
We got back to station and sat in the waiting room, prepared to sit it out until 5am and the heavy-headed light of the first train back. We even got settled on the plastic-coated benches, just, and then were asked to leave – the station was closed.
But it was cold on the streets, we had no money and nowhere to go. But still warm from the glow of the gig, despite the sweat evaporating, we went for a stroll. Eventually we walked down the edge of the building, followed the track until the wall got low enough. Then we hopped over, walked back up the other side, up the inclining platform and back into the waiting room.
It wasn’t long before someone in a uniform came and slung us out again.
– What are you doing?
– Waiting for a train.
Which was true. I was waiting with my best mate.
This was written for Gig of My Life, a fanzine which was a response to the MEN bombing, it features lots of great writers, both musicians and music fans and is raising money for Youth Music, a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances. You can buy it here in digital and traditionally crafted paper format.