Bunch of idiots

The Idiot Bastard Band @ Carnglaze Caverns/Rum Store – 07/12/12 

On paper this evening consisted of sitting in a cave at a balmy 10 degrees Celsius watching four upper-middle aged gents playing some covers and some songs of their own. In reality that was exactly what was presented but the slight tweak was that the four gents in question were Ade Edmonson, Phil Jupitus, Rowland Rivron and Neil Innes – four giants of comedy. As they take to the stage following an introduction from a white dinner-jacketed cave owner (weird, I know), the quartet hit the ground running in terms of comedy, musicianship, banter and charm....of sorts.  From their own songs, like Edmonson’s beautifully observed version of the overheard mobile conversation  that we’ve all heard ‘Man On A Train’, to covers, Arctic Monkeys ‘Don’t Sit Down Cos I’ve Moved Your Chair’ was a highlight for me, everything was done with fun, good humour and surprisingly excellent musicianship throughout.

Tonight was a celebration of comedy music and the comic song with absolutely no pretension, no ego and very little taste in clothing. Versions of the Flight of the Conchords’ ‘Carol Brown’ and John Hegley’s ‘I Need You’ and Ian Dury’s ‘There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards’ sung by a beautifully expressive Rivron on drums. There is an element of performance and timing to the show that tells you that these guys care about the comic song but there is just enough improvisation and corpsing mid-song that to keep the set fresh and, most importantly, keep it fun for the band. However, It’s on the wondrous ‘Infusion’, originally by Nervous Norvous, that these particular Bastards come in to their element. Edmonson and Innes take a musical lead while Rivron provides hilarious and often confusing sound effects for each car crash featured in the song. The cherry is added by Jupitus, though, regularly halting proceedings to question the homo-erotic nature of the lyrics (“shoot the juice to me Bruce”, “pop the fluid in me Louis” and “put a gallon in me Alan” being the choicest of these lines). It’s this combination of musicianship, improvisation and utterly genius comedy timing that makes this such a fun show.

The climax of this show is twofold and leaves the audience with a warm glow – necessary when you’ve spent the evening sat in a cave during a damp December in Cornwall. Firstly, “I Am A Coldplay Song” is the band’s attempt at an anthemic ballad which the band will be remembered by but it’s also a wonderfully straight-on assessment of the shameless design on structure of the crowd pleasing, tear jerking, BBC montage beds that are spewed out by the indie-soft-rockers. This was accompanied by Jupitus orchestrating a mobile phone light show (“Just the Nokia’s”) which, amazingly, lit up the caves like some sort of low budge Jean-Michel Jarre laser display. After well deserved and prolongued applause the band returned to their instruments to perform the Innes penned Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band hit “I’m The Urban Spaceman” to rapturous applause and a full audience sing-a-long.

The moral of this story, then, is that the next time four old(er) men invite you to follow them in to a cave on a dark night then you might want to think about following them. You never know, you could have a riotously fun evening of music and comedy. Alternatively, you could have a horrible, life-changing, mentally scarring experience but at least you’ll be able to enjoy the Geology!

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