Reflecting Failure: Looking back at the first No Side Effects gig

Ade reflects on the happenings, stress and exhilaration of our first ever live performance

In the late evening on Friday 2nd November, Tom and I finally brought the sounds of No Side Effects into the live realm with our first ever 45 minute set to a friendly, welcoming audience at the Darkroom Espresso in Swindon. The day also marked the release of our debut album ‘Reinventing Failure’. It’s been a long journey.

The album plucks some emotional strings from the past 5 years. We’ve worked hard to create something that sounds good to us and had some really good laughs along the way.

So, around August this year, Tom convinced me that we should commit to a live date and that he had some contacts for a venue in Swindon. This, I was told, was a way to make sure we practiced together by applying a little pressure. This made sense as up to now, we’d not managed to find time for regular practice sessions to create a live set. Now, we’d have no choice but to meet up.

I’ve been reluctant to do anything live, unsure if I could overcome my fear of failing and letting everyone down. I did, however, have it down as a personal goal this year, despite my reservations. In the end, I agreed to a date and we proceeded to pencil in plenty of evenings to try to polish a performance. It was long hours of work, pushed by Tom’s drive to get it sounding right and tempered by my insecurities and doubt.

We set up all our gear in Tom’s Neon Meadow studio. I would drive up from Newbury and we’d practice in the evening and most of the following day. There was one occasion where I found it really difficult and tried to convince Tom to cancel.

The day of the gig finally arrived and we’d both booked the day off to practice and by 4pm, we decided to pack up, both generally happy with the progress but mainly because we just couldn’t practice anymore.

On the evening of the gig, we loaded up both our vehicles and drove the 30 minutes into Swindon town centre. We pulled up onto the double yellow lines outside the Darkroom Espresso coffee shop to unload the gear, at a surprisingly timely 6pm. I suffered further discussions as to why I had brought such a large, heavy keyboard.

We were welcomed by Charlie of Zero Gravity Tea Party and Will, the coffee shop owner and proceeded to set up and sound test, an activity which renders Tom unapproachable until it is finished. Our electronic smorgasbord sprawled its way across the room, a stereo jack lead at a time, leaving just enough space for Charlie’s seated grotto of candles and fairy lights.

It was the first time I met the local artists and musicians that Tom was familiar with and who made up the crowd. I was so focused on overcoming the anxiety of playing live and remembering my music that I completely overlooked that I would have to chat to a room of strangers.

I relaxed more when Charlie of Zero Gravity Tea Ceremony (ZGTC) started performing. The ambient acoustic waves interjected with intense energetic hypnotica, building on loops played from four tape decks and through a variety of ‘surfaces’. It was a great, confident and personal performance. At the end of the evening, it was suggested by Tom that Charlie’s ‘LoFi’ set provided a complimentary analogue yin to our harder, digital yang. In contrast to the ZGTC performance, we had lined up enough electronic equipment to open a PC World.

At around 9pm, I managed to stand when our time was beckoning. My knees wobbled and I had to engage my meditation practice. It’s always interesting how nerves and anxiety manifest themselves. I’ve been in many stressful situations but this was different. This was me at centre stage, performing, singing in public. Weird. Scary.

Photo by Simon Warner

The decision to open with Anti-trust was a good one. A chance to settle the nerves with a loose arrangement of sounds. The world shrinks to the instruments in front of me. We bring in the slowly building crescendos, electric guitar and the heartbeat bass-drum all collapse to an end in modulated fuzz and all falls to silence. We were encouraged by a generous reception. Tom gives a little banter as I search for the next rack of settings on the keyboard.

Photo by Swindon Sound and Light

This led, somewhat seamlessly, into In Your Brain Right Now, a complicated mix of samples, funk guitar, jazz keyboards and repeating bass and drums which, in rehearsals, provided us with plenty of blank moments. We were reticent to bring this track to the live performance as it has so many elements but it is now one of the most enjoyable to play. We worked through the 10 or so minutes of this song without major downfalls and again, finished to a little applause. (We had 2 rounds of applause, the first during one of the sound breaks within the song)

Photo by Swindon Sound and Light

The third song Outstare the Square is another mix of samples, vocal loops and repetitive bass combining the album version with an early mix which used a religious evangelist sample. This track had us in stitches when we first put it together and it was nice to hear some of the humour had transferred to the crowd, particularly when ‘… Obama plays golf’.

Photo by Swindon Sound and Light

The video clips posted by bergamasque show an introduction to the final track of our set called Dark Light. The ambient intro that we worked on for the first time on that day worked well before unleashing the relentless bass drum, soaring guitar and synths. A final descend into overdrive pedals and synth chaos brings the set to a close and a generous double round of applause.

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Three short video samples by bergamasque

The weeks of hard work paid off and the elation and relief afterwards was palpable. We had to settle and reflect for a few hours afterwards. I actually remembered the whole evening, this time my memories not being wiped by anxiety. It was a shaky start but on the other side of the evening, it felt good.

we both must say thank you, thank you and thank you for all the photos from Swindon Sound and Light which, to be honest, made us look far cooler than we are (speak for yourself {eds: Tom}) and the video clips from bergamasque which encapsulated a little of the performance and Charlie for his stellar ZGTC set, check out his music. We are also really grateful for those who came out to support us and for the Darkroom Espresso owner, Will, for allowing us to inflict our untested noise on some of his customers.

The coffee is really good here by the way.

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No Side Effects on the BBC

Yes, we know, someone else liked our music except our Mums. A big thank you to Radio Berkshire and presenter Linda Serck and her team for playing ‘Dark Light’ on the ‘Introducing’ programme this evening.

Listen to the 1 hour show by clicking this link. Dark Light is featured on our debut album to be released on 2nd August 2018. We also have a music video of the single.

New ‘Grasslands’ L.P. Release

Tom has gone off on his own (again), abandoning No Side Effects to sing about grass, while wearing a silly hat. His CD looks nice, but it’s all a bit weird.

Here’s a song called ‘Paper Fire’. Burning paper is the least weird thing he’s burnt recently (I worry about him).

 

There’s also this review where they say some vaguely nice things about this album and some pretty photos of his CD.

https://dancingaboutarchitecture.info/2018/01/30/flames-doorways-grass-and-time-grasslands-reviewed-by-dave-franklin/

CD Front (LR)

CD Inside (LR).JPG

There’s also this launch event where he’s trying to get everyone to dress as animals. I just don’t get it.

https://www.facebook.com/events/497283963989278/

Reinventing Failure – National Poetry Day

No Side Effects approve of #NationalPoetryDay. As a special treat, we thought we’d depress you with some of our prose of existential dread. 


We have retracted

All our names from the sun

This is enacted

This wave that never turns

 

All these voices sing and bicker

Reaching out for a slither of gold

But these machines and machinations

Will bring ruin to us all

 

Flick the switch that makes it fall apart so efficiently

Lay foundations that allow us to build something that can truly fall

And all we have are pedigrees and interventions to bury us all

 

We are reinventing failure

 

Our long protracted

Sentiments of how we feel

Our world is divided

Don’t apologies for the things you’ve done

 

All these engines roar and splutter

A space apart from our worlds apart

We’re certain we can die

So much faster

 

Smash the bricks so they can crumble much quicker

Recycle our memories and repackage them for another day

When all we have are trembling hands and prophecy

 

We have reinvented failure

 

Clear this, clear this faster

Find this, find this quicker

Kill this, kill this cleaner

Take this, take this leaner

Build this, build this bigger

Run this, run this water

Make this, make this torture

Hate this, hate this weather

Share this, share this failure

 

We revise and analyse

What’s in our skies

With time and lies we pacify

Our resemblance to humans

 

We rewind and wonder why

Our minds are inclined to satisfy

 

Our imminent failure.

 

New Album Trailer

The day is almost here where you can get on with your lives and no longer have to cope with the perpetual, nagging numbness of a massive musical chasm. Until then, you’ll have to make do with the following trailer for the No Side Effects debut album ‘Reinventing Failure’, coming very soon.


 

New Single ‘Final Forecast’

 

Final Forecast Single Cover V04

The latest creative offering to the world of musical and visual entertainment from No Side Effects is available today. Why not overcome your total indifference and have a listen, what do you have to lose? You can even add this to your endless music collection for FREE, if you are moved to do so.

Firstly, have a listen and/or download

 

Secondly, enjoy the music video

 

Alternatively you can stream though soundcloud

This track features an ambient mix of live drums, electronic keyboard and a great guitar solo from Tom. This is one of Ade’s favourite tracks off the new album ‘Reinventing Failure’. We hope you enjoy.