MIXTAPE: Silly Billies | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Words: Jack Gardner

Silly Billies Comedy (“the best place for alternative comedy” – NARC.) returns to the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle on Wednesday 21st June for another night of weird and wonderful comedy. Seymour Mace, John Scott, Joby Mageean, John Paul McCue and Kelly Edgar complete the line-up and Chester-le-Street’s second best double act Jack & Sam host the night. I am Jack and this is the Silly Billies mixtape – ten songs that reflect the night and form the Silly Billies playlist. Buy tickets here.

Reginald Dixon – Gold and Silver Waltz

The music upon arrival at Silly Billies is The Very Best of Reginald Dixon. The golden curtain backdrop is shimmering and the sounds of the Wurlitzer ricochet across the room. Reginald Dixon was the organist for Blackpool Tower from 1930 until 1970 and recorded 296 albums of Wurlitzer bangers. He’s part of the Silly Billies vibe.

Slade – Run Runaway

Our entrance song! No artist epitomises the 1970s (God’s decade) quite like the magnificent Slade. They had it all: sideburns, outrageous outfits and great slabs of stomping glam rock. This tune is a Celtic rock jig from 1984 and the perfect energy boosting song to start a show.

Nurse With Wound – I Don’t Want To Have Easy Listening Nightmares

We like our music as odd and outsider as we like our comedy. This beast is part our interval playlist; a repetitive lounge-esque jazz loop that mutates into a Lynchian nightmarish. I saw them at Tusk Festival in Gateshead in 2017 and I’m still recovering.

The Fall – Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul

The etymology of amateur is made out of love. All my favourite music and comedy has an amateur vibe; a balance of naivety and awareness plus low production value. No artist achieved this more than The Fall. I loved them and saw them more times than any other group. Mark E Smith was a shaman, tapping into the uncanny atmosphere of post-industrial Northern England.

and the Native Hipsters – Mr Magic

and the Native Hipster was an experimental band from the early 80s and regularly played on John Peel’s show. I love this song so much. An easy listening backing track, uncalled for sax solos and the deranged vocals of lead singer Blatt who starts of singing but by the end is angrily listing all things that are red.

Ry Cooder & Manuel Galban – Patricia

Ry Cooder is incredible, he played for Captain Beefheart, inadvertently created the alt. country genre with his Paris, Texas soundtrack and produced Buena Vista Social Club. This is a lounge-inspired collaboration with Cuban musician Manuel Galban. It’s got such a playful vibe; you can’t help but feel giddy listening to it.

Junior Y Su Equipo – La Borrachita

Junior Y Su Euqipo is an Ecuadorian musician and this is from a new compilation of early electronic music from South America called Saturno 2000. It’s a little instrumental gem that sounds like Latin folk filtered through a Game Boy. Our sort of jam.

Earl Brutus – Don’t Leave Me Behind Mate

The most underrated band of the 90s: one half art school happening, one half drunken riot in a chip shop. Name another band with a song about drinking alone in The Harvester?

Half Man Half Biscuit – 24 Hour Garage People

Andy Kershaw described them as “England’s best folk band” and he’s right. The attention to detail in Nigel Blackwell’s lyrics is incredible; he’s sardonic, surreal and hilarious. I could choose any of their songs but this one is particularly funny.

Television Personalities – People Think That We’re Strange

A band that wore their amateurism and naivety as a badge of honour. They can make you laugh and cry in the same song. This is a song to bow out on, it’s a celebration of the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk but burn, burn, burn like Roman candles across the night… The Silly Billies.

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