IQ, August 5th 2000
Whitchurch Festival 2000,
Testbourne Facilities, Whitchurch, UK

By Mark Nickol


It had seemed to have been a very long year since IQ last played in the UK, so it was quite a triumphant return to the lovely village of Whitchurch in Hampshire last weekend.

Before I come on to IQ, perhaps I should say a word or several about The Cardiacs. Unfortunately, I missed Haze so I canít offer any pearls, or otherwise, of wisdom about their performance. I was unfortunate enough to see The Cardiacs, though. This band have been around, apparently, since the early 80ís, and have even supported Blur. Well, to me it was just a noise, and someone well known on this list described the 'noise' as 'absolutely horrendous' !! It was just punk, with a bit of Madness thrown in for good measure!! During their set, I decided to have a wander around the record stalls, but I just couldnít concentrate with the noise in my head, so I, like quite a few other of the IQ fans, had to leave the hall.

The Cardiacs, were, however, very popular, and they are, apparently, well liked by many of the prog musicians. Just not my cup of tea at all, Iím afraid!

Anyway, onto more pleasant matters, and IQís set. This is what they played:

They started with Wurensh, a lovely start to the set, I thought. I think during this track that the band got slightly out of time with each other at one point! Nevertheless, well played!

This was followed by The Thousand Days, and then the first new track, Darma [announced by Peter as Darma, but actually the working title is Darkemar] there was a lively spacey guitar bit in the middle of this. The whole song was nice, but a bit unstructured, perhaps. Also at one point, I think that Pete was singing in a bit of a different key from the other guys!!
They continued with State of Mine and The Darkest Hour.

Mokey Sick was another new song - this saw the appearance of "a very thin Dalek" as John Jowitt described it to Pete! This was an extra bit of kit that was placed next to Peteís microphone stand, and I assumed that it was a microphone with added whiteners, but, in fact, it was a [changing colour] light on a stand, used to shine directly into Peteís face. I liked this song - again, it was quite spacey, but also quite rocky and different (!) There, now thatís descriptive, isnít it ?!?
The title of the song refers to the a joke told by a boy in Leicester(!), "Whatís yellow and smells of banana ? Answer - monkey sick", only his spelling wasnít that good, and his joke read "What's yellow and smells of baana? Answer - Mokey sick". So now you know!

The Narrow Margin - it was great to hear this song again. Letís face it, this has now become the 21st century equivalent of the early 80ís Last Human Gateway in the 20-minute epic category! There was just one bit, shortly after where Pete sings "Donít know where I know you from" that John started playing the bass pedals, but then stopped before the da da da, da da da bit(!). They continue on the CD, & I wanted to hear them continuing here, but they didnít(!) Peteís voice was getting a bit tired by this point, as it cracked up a bit towards the end.

At the end of the song, IQ did one of the sweetest, most moving things possible. It is now 10 years since Ledge died, and having used the backdrop during the Narrow Margin, a picture of Ledge was projected onto the backdrop at the end of the song. Pete said a few words about Ledge, about how much he is still missed, and they then played the beautiful, acoustic version of The Magic Roundabout. This had been released as a fan-club only single (I think), with Paul Menel singing it. A very lovely, lighter version. I also think that this is the first time in 8 years that I have ever heard IQ play this track!

This then led into King of Fools segueing into Outer Limits, where the bandís timing was a bit suspect again!

We then had High Waters and the wonderful The Wake. At the end of this song, Pete went over to mess around with Mikeís guitar, and managed to break a string!
So, while that was being fixed, we were delighted to hear, again for the first time in quite a while now, Wiggle. Then came another new song, Leppo, starting off with just Martin and Pete. This was quite good, with another dodgy bit of exposed Pete singing! Oops!
The main set finished with Failsafe.

The band came back and did three encores, Human Nature, the superb Subterranea, and a completely unrehearsed Awake & Nervous. Despite the fact that they hadnít rehearsed it, it was played brilliantly, with Martin breaking into Steptoe and Son just before the final burst, with Pete trying to keep a solemn face with his tambourine just in front of his face whilst the other boys were messing about!

All in all, it was a wonderful gig. Absolutely fabulous to see the boys play again. What really struck me was just how well the Subterranea tracks are standing up in the set. To me, Subterranea is such a perfect album, the tracks become the highlight of the show, especially as they still use the backdrop projections. I still donít see how they could better that album now. The new tracks have promise, but still need work. Mind you, new tracks often sound a bit dodgy on first playing, and are considerably refined for the final release - Clank Tingy Tingy bears little resemblance to the sublime Narrow Margin.

I thought that it was an excellent set for a comeback, with a good mix of old and new (and no Out Of Nowhere!!!!!).

The band announced that they were starting the recording of the new album the next day (i.e. on Sunday 6th August), so I hope that that went well.

It was great to catch up with a few of the other IAPHíers - ex-Big Chief Neil Durant, present Big Chief Ed Sander, Barry Hughes, Tim Collins, Marcus Greest, Sam Smyth. Good to have seen you all again!

Setlist:

Wurensh
The Thousand Days
Darkamar
State of Mine
The Darkest Hour
Mokey Sick
The Narrow Margin
The Magic Roundabout
King of Fools
Outer Limits
High Waters
The Wake
Wiggle
Leppo
Failsafe

Human Nature

Subterranea

Awake & Nervous

 

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