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
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
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
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!
The Thousand Days
State of Mine
The Darkest Hour
The Narrow Margin
The Magic Roundabout
King of Fools
Awake & Nervous