Blurt Live at Dot 17 March 2009.
Back in the town that 29 years previously made them almost famous. Recall the debut 1980 Free University Rock Against Junk concert ‘three pink sacks on grass’ sleeve. Nowhere like Berlin to see this band live be it in Dot, Ausland or the legendary SO36, erudite audiences here being truly appreciative of genuine talent and all things atonal.
The venue gradually fills with sublime types to the strains of Ideal’s Annette Humpe ‘In meinem Film bin ich der Star, Ich komm’ auch nur alleine klar’. A forlorn female mounts the stage and grabs a mic but is gently eased away by congenial staff.
Enter stage left the lambent lineaments of alto saxmeister Ted Milton and team Blurt, avatars incarnate from an Otto Dix Weimar tableau. Its blurting time in Kreuzberg!
After perfunctory tweaks at the desk it’s straight into 'Empty Vessels' and before the third number 'Kasimir’s Tractor' the newest recruit to bang the kit, Dave Aylward looking like he’s just emerged from a Turkish Bath has to towel himself down. Nice to see a man enjoy his work. Meanwhile Ted engaging in rapport with a buff in an aside on Schadenfreude quips, “you’re not German but your learning the humour fast”
The evening unfolds and we are treated to extraordinary renditions from the back catalogue. 'Enemy Ears', the reverie inducing 'Aboule Ton Fric', 'Shoot and Shout', 'The Ruminant Plinth', the propeller tilting classic first single 'Get'. ‘Oh…that’s when you’re nose will lift off the ground…’cause when you’re only halfway, halfway up, your neither up nor down’.
Mid song drums throb solo… Blurt engine idles, Ted invites guitarist Steve Eagles over and pours him a dram of whiskey as glasses clink in a toast to our very good health before play resumes, ergo “malt does more than Milton can”.
The forlorn lady who had earlier been onstage makes a beeline for Ted. So pleased to see the band back in town all she wants to do is hug him. And noblesse oblige in uninhibited reciprocation Ted heals her with a kiss. Berlin loves you Ted Milton.
After the credit munching 'Eat Up Your House' we hear the band’s first 7” release since 1982; 'Cut It' /'Hat', “about where my Mother lives” before finishing on 'Cherry Blossom Polish'. This crowd will not meekly disperse into the night ohne Zugabe.
So it’s 'The Little Death' by which point in the evening per happenstance the poetic realist masterpiece 'Amour De Ma Vie' comes timely next. Tchaikovsky’s maxim that music shows us beauties we find nowhere else never better exemplified; succour for the disenchanted, the crestfallen. Continuing on a theme some further gems from the 'Pagan Strings' period are deftly delivered before a 'Cherry Blossom Polish' snippet finale. “ The broken reeds have sown their seeds” . 'La clef des champs!' We are all ecstatic, having transcended the mundane, intuited the unknowable, and savoured the quintessence. Filtering out of Dot to the familiarly reassuring whiff of lignite and wending our way back to hostel, flat or squat the music in our hearts we bore long after it was played no more.
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