Last Friday night in Derry my brothers-in-melodic post punk-pop Bam Bam & the Calling stepped onto a stage for the first time in a twelvemonth. The catalyst for this occasion (& it is an occasion) was to celebrate the life of their friend Sean Semple who unfortunately died in July of this year at the terribly premature age of 56. I did not know Sean but it is obvious from the tributes paid & the memories shared about him that a room full of family, friends & music was absolutely the best way of acknowledging a good man & a life lived well. Here from “A Night For Sean” is Bam Bam & the Calling playing “New Surroundings”. These men have been my friends for a long time, they would know if I was shooting them a line. This two chord wonder from back in the day still kicks ass !
Just as there is much respect for Sean in Derry it is the same for the band. The younger musicians of the city know how long these guys have been together & how good they are. My man Fergal Corscadden of the Gatefolds knows it was a great gig while Paul Connolly of the Wood Burning Savages, a band which makes a lovely & interesting noise deserving a wider audience, raved “Bam Bam & The Calling were incredible tonight. Masters of their craft. Watching them is a treat that cannot be measured”. And that’s the truth Ruth !
For a band who plays just once a year there has been other recent activity for Bam Bam. First the Irish music blog, the Fanning Sessions Archive, excavated a session from January 1987. Dave Fanning is a great radio DJ, the Irish equivalent of John Peel. I’m sure that it was a deal for the young band to record the session. “Secret Meeting” is short, sweet & as jangly as the guys ever sounded. Good memories brought back by a tune I have not heard for a long time but has been the song of my weekend
In a dusty attic there is a dusty chest which contains my krusty kassette which holds a recording taken from the sound desk when Bam Bam & the Calling headlined a gig at the Mean Fiddler in Harlesden, London. The Fiddler was the only reason to go to Harlesden in the late 1980s. It was a bigger than a pub, a proper rock club, a vanishing breed as gentrification & dance club culture took hold. An old friend of the band went up into his dusty attic this week & his visit produced cuttings from the Melody Maker which reviewed a Bam Bam gig at the Fiddler in August 1986. “…THE surprise package of this entire week, starting off as if we all had only 15 minutes left to live & it was going to be spent reeling under a superbly effective barrage of truly manic pop thrills”. Y’know it really was like that.
Thanks to Jim Cunningham there are more clips of Friday night to appear on the Y-tube. I am tempted to slap them all onto the blog of course but,if you want to see & hear four men who are happy doing what they’re doing, happy doing it right then you are just a couple of clicks away. You are all intelligent people you know what to do. It is a pity that it was such an unhappy event which caused the gig to be arranged. I know that singer/guitarist Paul was affected deeply by the loss of his friend. I hope that by coming together with those who knew & love him to mark his passing & to honour his life that the memories of Sean will be good ones. I also know that Sean loved music & loved Van Morrison so maybe this belongs here for him. Peace.