Photo of Yoko Ono and John Lennon used with permission from Ken Ross. © Ken Ross
Last night I went to a gig in the middle of nowhere North East London at a tiny little club called Cafe Oto to watch Sean Lennon's new band, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (GOASTT) perform. The evening began rather miserably. Dan's back was and is bothering him and I had a twisted ankle. It was windy and rainy and to end all things my stupid bank put a security flag on my debit card so I found myself in long gone nowhere without access to any money. After a painful half an hour on the phone with the bank, finally something was sorted. I am thinking of changing banks, but that is for another post.
We were wet, we had gravel in our eyes and we were somewhere that seemed to only have tiny dirty looking restaurants with stained laminated pictures of their food (never a good sign). At one point I said to Dan, "If I get stabbed tonight, I'm blaming you!"
Happily things got progressively better from there and no one was shanked. We met up with two friends in a Turkish themed restaurant for some beer and mediocre hummus and then over to Cafe Oto where Sean Lennon was debuting his new act to a sold out, intimate London audience. How Dave Joyner consistently manages to get his fingers on these kinds of tickets is beyond me, but if you want to see anything cool on almost any given night of the week, he's your man.
Though I was curious and a bit excited to see Sean Lennon, I was completely star struck when I saw that his mother Yoko Ono was also there, sitting a few feet away from me. There is this history of music and whether you like her or not, Yoko played a pretty significant role in it. Not to mention that I am an art geek and she was doing ridiculous performance art before almost anyone else. She is tiny - maybe just over five feet tall and small boned like a little bird. She was wearing a black suit and a little black top hat with gigantic black bug sunglasses (though it was darkly lit in the venue). She always had an entourage and despite the fact that the woman is an icon, she wasn't bothered much for autographs or pictures, though this was a hipster London crowd who were probably cultivating their "I don't give a fuck" vibe.
Though I would have died to have a picture with Yoko, I just couldn't bring myself to ask her (or her bodyguard) if it was OK and it was just too dark in the venue to get a good on the sly picture.
GOASTT was a sweet little folky act consisting of Sean Lennon and his girlfriend Charlotte harmonising with one another in these little poppy ditties. The push behind the Lennon name is what has clearly made this act viable, as I imagine in almost any large city in the world there are dozens of beautiful kids doing exactly the same thing. Still, it was nice.
It was pretty obvious that Sean Lennon came alive when playing the guitar but unfortunately the dynamics of their group doesn't allow him much room for this. On the two occasions when he did a solo, Charlotte (who doesn't seem to play anything except for the tambourine) seemed a bit awkward and lost.
Here is a very dark and grainy video of one of their songs last night:
At the end of the night, the unthinkable happened. The crowd seemed to want more and there wasn't any more to give from the scheduled acts so Yoko Ono decided to get up on stage and do an improvised song, her son accompanying her on guitar. In true Yoko style it features guttural yelling and screaming the words "I feel bad" on repeat. Absolutely brilliant. Here is a snippet (again very dark and hard to see):
Seriously, an amazing and unforgettable night in London.