Sunday, 12 May 2013


Yin and Yang. My brother got a tattoo of the symbol on his arm when he was younger, back in the eighties. I thought it was the coolest thing EVER. Of course now, the double tadpole has become much over-used, adorning teenager's dope boxes, crustie's handbags, and posters in trippy Ibiza neons full of predictable hippy iconography... anyway, my brother was very much into Judo at the time, which involved a lot of that martial art philosophy, zen-like states, harnessing your own power to over power your opponent, be quiet in your mind so that you may be loud in your intent etc etc. Back then, he would shut himself in the garage and do meditative things and reflect on the nature of the yin & yang. The duality of being.

So last Thursday was like that. It was like we were all inside the mind of a martial artist, meditating, struggling with his own duality, trying to be completely 'middle way' but slipping from one extreme thought process to another, but ending up his meditation by being rewarded none the less for the experience and feeling rejuvenated.

VITA has played The Medicine Sessions now a few times and has a strong fan base earned by now, he has some strong support of his dark, experimentally inclined, stories and intense delivery and true to his talented form, he performed like a shaman, channelling dead hunters, heroin addicts, alcoholic beat poets who never knew fame, scurvy ridden sailors from the Atlantic Ocean and ethereal middle-men from houses of ill-repute. It is true, one person left the room in disgust, but given he was twenty or so Fosters beers worse for wear, I think that was because he couldn't handle the images that were being created in his head, he stumbled away muttering before almost falling head first down the stairs. Those of us out on the landing ignored him and turned back to be engulfed by the dark matter being invoked from the Universe inside and revelled in every last molecule.
So, here was the Yin. The dark place, the bit of the night that brought us into our own heads to contemplate and challenge ourselves and the nature of sound. Here was the Yin master, sat before us with a grimace and snarl, creating intimidating soundscapes complete with mountain ranges, dark City streets and the characters you might find living in them.

The Yang then, arrived after the break. All six of them. The Art Crimes Band were already in full swing when I returned from puffing on my cigarette. I ascended the stairs to a wall of sound which cascaded from the room like a joyous, Caribbean festival. The room again was so jammed with people that I had to huddle on the landing and peek in, to see the band as they summoned in everything that was light and shiny and joyful and lovely. Metaphorical glitter and confetti rained down in soundwave form upon the Medicine Room with each beat of the Cajun, exuberant strum on the guitar, funk of bass,  smooth squanch of the saxophones (two of them) and sexy lilt of lady vocal. The room was ready to party, hold hands, dance down the street, kiss, copulate in a youthful manner, sunbathe on glorious beaches, reminisce about every good day, remember the sweet touches of past loves, the laughter of childhood and plant a million acres of scented wildflowers. The Art Crimes Band enjoy what they do and perform with smiles all round, shimmies and knowing nods and winks to each other.

So you see, true to The Medicine Sessions philosophy, of keeping everything eclectic,
Thursday 9th May, may well have been one of the best nights of duality we've had. Each act delivering their art seamlessly, with genuine talent and intent. Credit goes to The Medicine audience, who show how open and supportive they are to the material. The fact that both bands had a full house to play to, makes me proud to be involved in organising The Medicine Sessions.