Luke Haines – Kilburn Luminaire
I went to see Mr Luke Haines at the Kilburn Luminaire last night. I was running late, as I didn’t finish work until 9 and, it transpired, the former Auteurs frontman was due onstage at a frustratingly early 9.15. What’s more, he was most prompt.
I arrived to a packed venue full of extremely tall people, but fortunately we were able to find a spot at the back, on some steps, so that we were even able to see the misanthrope in chief. We’d missed 20 minutes or so of his set, including the wonderful Suburban Morning, and we arrived half-way through new album closer “21st century man”, which is Haines’ self-obsessed equivalent to “We Didn’t Start The Fire”. Except good. I mean, here’s him on the 1980s:
” David Bowie lost it for years /died a death in his slap-bass phase / everybody else died of aids”
and here’s the nineties:
“What do you do after you’ve made your masterpiece / that’s what I did in the nineties / I was all over the nineties / I was all over the nineties”
That verse is particularly good because you know he thoroughly means it and thoroughly doesn’t mean it at the same time.
Anyway, the rest of the gig was excellent, despite my unfortunate right-at-the-back position. The Kilburn Luminaire is known for its enlightened/fascist approach to those that talk during gigs: there are big signs up everywhere that basically go “IF YOU WANT TO TALK WHILE THE MUSICIANS ARE PLAYING THEN FUCK OFF DOWNSTAIRS, SCUM. I MEAN, FOR FUCK’S SAKE – WHAT’S THE POINT IN GOING TO A GIG IF YOU’RE NOT EVEN GOING TO LISTEN?”, except more succinct. It’s a bit like how trains have only one train carriage nowadays where you’re NOT expected to shout into a phone for the whole journey. The Luminaire is the quiet carriage of the London gigging scene.
Inevitably there were some people behind us talking. I did my duty and asked them to keep it down; they looked outraged, but kind of complied. So I was able to enjoy Haines’ songs about Yorkshire, mass-murderers, paedophiles, the seventies, unsolved child murderers, and how Guildford is the Promised Land in relative peace.
There was also one very drunk guy in front of us who staggered around singing all the songs about murder at the top of his voice, staring around wide-eyed to make sure we all knew the words too. And presumably planning to murder us if we didn’t.
The set finished with two songs from his funk album about German domestic terrorism, Baader Meinhof. Excellent stuff, but it wasn’t Lenny Valentino or the other early Auteurs ‘hits’ that the crowd were shouting for. “That’s probably as likely as Graham Coxon playing Country House”, I said to Morgan.
Then he came back on and played Lenny Valentino, and the two ladies who had been sat at the back chatting away for the whole gig suddenly CAME TO LIFE. They launched themselves off their sofa of gossip, and danced and FRUGGED along to the whole tune and its three false endings. I still have no idea what Lenny Valentino is about.
Turns out it was Luke Haines’ wife.