All the gigs of my life

All the gigs of my life: Gig 43 – Gay Dad, Wednesday, June 9, 1999, ICA

My one and only headlining gig from Gay Dad. And it was pretty good. But all I can remember is sparkling shoulders.

This will be a slightly different blog post, as for some reason, I hardly wrote anything about the gig in my diary. This happened from time to time, and will be increasingly frequent as I move towards the gigs I went to in my 30s. In this case, I didn’t even start writing about this gig until nearly a week later on the 15th of June. First, I copied down a quote from the Melody Maker journalist Daniel Booth, who I deemed “the new Simon Price!” 

(Yes, I used to get a bit fangirly about music journalists)

Gay Dad are what Mansun would sound like if Paul Draper, when he looks in the mirror, stripped naked and danced round the room singing ‘They call me Mr Boombastic’.

Daniel Booth, Melody Maker, 1999

“So true! My god, what an IMAGE.”

Falling into Gay Dad fandom wasn’t a lightning bolt, new-favourite-band kind of moment for me, though it might have been, if I were a few years younger. They were definitely, from their first single “To Earth With Love”, undoubtedly My Kind Of Band, with their touches of glam swagger, their provocative name and image, and their cosmos-sized tunes. I must have seen them supporting Mansun at the Brixton Academy the previous October, though I recorded nothing of their set in my diary. However, I was clearly impressed enough by that gig and their debut album “Leisure Noise” to head out to see them at their own gig.

My last diary entry before coming to this gig was on the 6th of June. I was not in the best of moods, and was feeling a little bit of a relapse into the depression I’d experienced the year before. “I’ve also got very little interest in music just now, which is an ominous thing.” Thank god then for this gig – for though I wrote very little about it, what I did write seems to suggest it was just the right thing to shake me out of my temporary doldrums.

“Interest in music? Interest in GAY DAD! I saw them last week, at the ICA, which was a box and nothing more. I’m not impressed with his name, but Cliff Jones! There was no barrier and he was right there, about 0.2mm from me, and he was skinny in the most unweedy way possible and his bare shoulders were covered with glitter and he was something else. Hard to believe he’s not a megastar already. Can’t think of anything profound to write. Just keep thinking of his sparkling shoulders.”

And that is the entirety of my diary entry for this gig. So, sparkly shoulders aside, what else is there to say about Gay Dad? When I get to these blog posts about bands I only had a fleeting interest in, I like to go back and revisit the tunes I was enjoying at the time. Usually, this just reaffirms why my interest in the band waned – like for example, with Space in 1997. This time, I had to first overcome the hurdle of finding that their debut wasn’t on Spotify – I’m sure it used to be, but only the singles “To Earth With Love” and “Oh Jim” are available to stream. I do have the album on my laptop, but I was at work when I wanted to listen to it, so I made do with a YouTube playlist.

And to my surprise, it turns out the “Leisure Noise” is still a fantastic record – somehow managing to merge the epic dreamscapes of shoegazing with the shining immediacy of glam rock. So why, then, did my fandom wane after this gig? I didn’t buy their second album “Transmission”, or pay any attention to it at all, which surprises me, because listening now to its first single “Now, Always and Forever”, it sounds just as great as anything on their debut. Perhaps if they hadn’t split up soon after the release of their second album, I might have eventually wandered my way back to their fandom and gone to a few more gigs in years to come, but this was not to be.

As it stands, Gay Dad are a frustrating entry in my personal gigography. I saw them twice and know they were brilliant, but have very little to show for it now – not even a ticket stub remains. All I can hope is that they decide to take the plunge into the current trend for 90s bands to reform, and I get to stand down the front and stare at those sparkly shoulders once again.

Categories: All the gigs of my life

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2 replies »

    • Some how I missed this comment last year, so here’s a belated reply! Yes ‘Joy’ was a fabulous tune. You’re right, I can’t imagine them suiting a Stereophonics gig crowd at all. Crossing my fingers that they might reform!


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