The following an overly sentimental account of a ‘Chuck Mosley and Friends’ show in Edinburgh, which took place on the night of 23rd September, 2016. No tissues were harmed in the compilation of these recollections and lies.
By Evil Toast Man
When long-time friend and Infinite Hive label owner John Anderson said he had a spare ticket for the Edinburgh show, I snapped at the chance. Granted I initially thought he was talking about the Glasgow show but the fact it was for Edinburgh was even more advantageous for me. Between that time and my grand departure, fate had intervened meaning that Chuck Mosley's album with Indoria was to be released in the UK by Infinite Hive (if you can't make it to one of Chuck's shows, you can still buy it here: www.infinitehive.com) Arrangements were made to crash on john's couch, flights booked, head shaved and bag packed I jetted north through the thick British cloud to be delivered to the Scottish capital.
I was introduced to Chuck by John. We had a pleasant but brief exchange and I left for the bar with a very favourable impression. It's rare in my experience, that when you meet one of your heroes and your expectations are not just met, but exceeded. Chuck was warm, funny and sincere. I left Chuck for the bar and ordered a drink. Taking my change I turn to find John leaning against the bar next to Chuck in a weird huddle. Approaching and John’s taking a rare break from his management and label duties - getting his nails painted, by Chuck. How many people can say they had their nails done by Chuck right before a show?
The next hour or so was a whirlwind of introductions, a blur of handshakes, of kisses on the cheek, of name and after name and new face after new face. It became a bit of a maelstrom, with the locals making me feel right at home. I was overwhelmed by the convivial reception.
Kick off time soon crept upon us and the crowd gathered at the bar made their way through the dark archway toward the stage. Rum Runners playing only their second show gave a great account of themselves in front of a packed house. Melodic with plenty of bite, if this is how good they are for just their second show, the future for them is very bright indeed. Paper Beats Rock took the stage shortly after. Reminding me of so many good things, like early 90s sub pop landed in Edinburgh for a day and flirted with a little punk and stoner, with a tiny dash of Swansea's Black Eye Riot and Acrimony. Can't go wrong. Megalomatic were intense. The vocalist/guitarist has some serious balls, though it did seem too close to the usual Scuzz playlist stuff and as such my main impression was not of what they played but what they could play instead. I just thought "massive potential" but a great frontman in the making.
Chuck took to the stage along with Doug and Kent. The interplay between them was light hearted and had people in stitches. The set was brief but well-conceived. The execution was lax, but it added to the overall enjoyment of the evening. Songs started and stopped with frequent interludes from Chuck and Doug, sprinkling the set with little gems and baubles, of stories and of dialogue that in a more formal setting might have seemed unprofessional or an unnecessary distraction. Here, it was salt and pepper on your dinner and dinner was fucking tasty.
One such break in the performance came from Chuck losing patience with an errant mic stand clamp. The mic had been causing issues through the early set, with constant adjustments. This time it was slowly dropping through the song, with Chuck trying desperately to stay level, the poor fella was almost to his knees. Doug and Kent came to the rescue while Chuck tried to continue playing, that is until Doug started deliberately moving the mic to anyplace other than in front of Chuck's face. Initially he seemed annoyed but instantly a smile broke across his face saying "funny fucker!" to Doug through half gritted teeth and a smile that he couldn’t contain.
The set was a good mix of VUA, Indoria and Faith No More tracks he helped write. There was only one Cement track I can recall (Living Sound Delay) though there may have been more. It was a fantastic blend and nothing seemed out of place. The Crab Song being a Faith No More favourite was met with an astounding response. The crowd sang along and then abruptly it stopped and so started a cover of Faith No More's Take This Bottle.
Ignoring much of the social media posts regarding Chuck prior to the gig (to avoid spoiling any potential surprises) I had not known that this was in his repertoire. I and many around us were floored. So, the lyrics weren't quite right? So it wasn't Patton? We knew that going in, yet it's the best live performance of the track I've heard, even though it was part of a medley of sorts of FNM tracks. Chuck handled most of the vocals with Doug then taking over for one of the latter verses. The crowd lapped it all up, singing a long and even singing well beyond the band's closing of the track.
The interplay between Doug and Chuck was fantastic, playing the Morecombe and Wise roles almost perfectly. They performed with warmth and good humour, with Chuck's personality being the star of the evening. This was less about a musical performance and felt instead like an "An Evening with Chuck Mosley". Everything thrown out there by the band was well received. The crowd responded to everything positively. I've never laughed so hard at a show or watched a show with such a massive grin on my face from beginning to end.
On leaving Bannerman's for the cool fresh air outside John turned to me and yelled "That was fucking hilarious". It was hilarious. It was entertaining, it was nice to hear him play new and old stuff and it was nice to spend time with the man. The show felt like more than a gig, it felt more like an evening spent with good company. When he titled the show “Chuck Mosley and Friends”, I arrived at the show thinking the friends were Doug and Kent and in the USA Faith No More and Roddy and the others who spent time to appear with the man. When I left the venue I felt like we, the crowd were the friends and I had gotten it all wrong. There was an almost tangible transfer of energy between the band and the crowd, it felt like a mutual appreciation and a fondness. It seemed that the crowd loved Chuck and that Chuck loved the crowd. Intimacy in such shows is famous cliché, and so is saying things that are about to be said are clichéd, clichéd. But is saying things are often said to be clichéd when they talk about things being clichéd clichés, clichéd? Probably, but “you can’t triple stamp a double stamp.”