Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Salute to the Loft's Swan Song

The Loft were a Janice Long favorite and one of the very early bands to join Alan McGee's Creation label. Unfortunately, for us, the lads didn't spend a lot of time in the studio during their brief time together, and they apparently didn't like each other much either. It's a story as old as rock 'n' roll, but the Loft get extra credit for their very public implosion on stage -- while supporting the Colour Field -- in front of 3,000 at Hammersmith Palais on June 24, 1985.

Before the show, lead singer, guitarist and principal songwriter Peter Astor informed bassist Bill Prince by phone that he wanted lead guitarist Andy Strickland and Prince out of the band. When Strickland got word of the call, he demanded Astor make the concert. That night, just before they played their new single, "Up the Hill and Down the Slope," Strickland stuck it to Astor good, announcing, "some of you may already know, but this is our last gig." According to journalist Danny Kelly, halfway through the song, "Astor slowed the tempo to a crawl and astonished [the crowd] with a brief but painfully intimate vilification of his fellow guitarists. A sneering "hard luck", a Telecaster hurled testily to the ground and a running exit ended this sad, graceless guilt-ridden interlude. A quick, savagely angry, thrash from the remaining trio and they too were gone. For good. A sickening end for a fine little band..."

All we were left with was a spectacular 7" debut ("Why Does the Rain") and the aforementioned four-song 12" single ("Up the Hill and Down the Slope"). Since then, there have been two comps that have included these two artifacts, along with a few extra songs, and I suggest if you're a fan of C86, jangle pop or bands heavily influenced by Television, you pick up 'Magpie Eyes 1982-1985.' All it takes is one listen to realize if they could have kept it together long enough for a full-length album these blokes would have been big.

I was going to post the more obvious choice of "Up the Hill and Down the Slope" (along with its ultra weird and wonderful guitar solo), but a quick look around the Web shows quite a few bloggers have beat me to it, including one I really respect, Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area. So, I'm going to include a favorite of mine that, perhaps, isn't quite as well known. It was originally part of the "Up the Hill and Down the Slope" single.

The Loft - Your Door Shines Like Gold (mp3)

No comments: