I told my daughter I was going to see Twinkle Digitz. She asked me who the heck that was. After seeing Twinkle Digitz now for a third time (first, second), I kind of ask myself the same question every time. I played her Boogyin’ with my Baby-o and she said that I like it because of the synthesisers. That is clearly a part of it. However, I think that it is more than that. Even though the music and performance is carefree, slightly daggy and sometimes very silly, I think there are anchovies to be had. Also, there is something chaotic about the music that draws me in. Even though so much is based on triggers, it still feels like it could break at any minute, especially amidst an impromptu jig mid song.
I have lost count of how many times I have watched / listened to his An Apocolyptic Evening stream. Yes I was there to see Damian Cowell, I did not even know that Twinkle Digitz was the support until a few days before hand, but when I found out I was not going to miss it for the world. He played all the usual tracks, such as Pandora’s Box, Shit Eatin’ Grin, Boogyin’ with my Baby-o, Dancing ln My Dreams, God Machine and Blackmail Boogie. However, he also played a couple of newer tracks.
The first addition was In the City. This is a song of contrasts, with its blissful guitar driven verse which then explodes into the chorus. In some ways it reminds me of Radiohead’s Palo Alto. This he played when I saw him at Thornbury Local, but I could not hear it at the back. The other addition was the ‘almost finished’ It’s Autonomous Thomas, a song he supposedly co-wrote with ChatGPT. This had a different feel, although it was built on a rich bed of arpeggios, it was a bit more of a slow build.
I am hoping that the mention of ‘almost finished’ might mean that one day there might be a Twinkle Digitz album or EP. There is definitely something missed when it comes to high-fidelity depending on the streamed video recordings. But then again, maybe there is something about not necessarily knowing what you are going to get each time Twinkle Digitz performs that is a part of the appeal.
I saw Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine a few years ago after the release of Only the Shit You Love. I wondered if I was biased by it being the first concert I went to post-lockdown. However, I was not disappointed second time around.
Some artists are just different live. Sometimes it is the energy of the performance, sometimes it is the sound, sometimes it is the reimagination of the songs. For Cowell I feel it is all three.
I love the wall of sound produced live and the energy that comes with this. In addition to the singers up front, with one less musician on stage this time and a reduced percussion section, there was more space for Andy Hazel and Gordon Blake to bounce around at the back of the stage. (I especially loved Hazel’s shuffle associated with Sanctuary.) While the contrast between Cowell and his back-up singers brings out something different to the music. Although many of these parts are often present in the recorded music, in a song like Fuck I’m Dead, they provide something different to Cowell’s original recording.
After both gigs, I was intrigued with how Cowell never seems to rest on his laurels. I imagine he could just turn up and roll out the hits, but instead he always seems to be trying new things, playing different, even if it is his old music. For example, he played Garbage from Machiavelli and the Four Seasons. The choice felt like it was as much about Cowell’s modern sound as it was about some token rolling out the past. The only disappointment was that Cubase / visuals crashed halfway through the show, although nothing as bad as the video from The Zoo. Even with all the efforts mid-song to get the computer up and running again, some things are just not meant to be.
I Shit Me
Fuck I’m Dead
(Sort of) Emo
The Arseless Chaps
The Boy In The Box
Cool For Catamites
Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine
Get Yer Dag On!
This Is Bullshit
Where the Fuck’s the Vengabus?