Waking the Witch

Last night I attempted to awaken a witch at a gig organised in tribute to Kate Bush's incredible album 'Hounds of Love.' Needless to say there were plenty of serious Kate fans there. Whilst it was obviously exciting to play for a packed room full of such passionate Kate Bush lovers, it was also frightening. Kind of like having to recite Shakespeare for a bunch of Shakespeare scholars. Or something.

Rather than my usual 'Cloudbusting' cover, I played a version of 'Waking the Witch' that I tried to rework using guitar, beats, loops and voice samples from the likes of Charles Bukowski, Arundhati Roy, Dylan Thomas and, believe it or not, Vladimir Putin. It seemed to me that whilst the song is nearly thirty years old and is said to be about the persecution of and discrimination against women throughout the ages, there are plenty of 'witch hunts' going on in the world today that I wanted to reference in the soundscape that opens the song. Cue the sounds of Putin's rambling speeches condemning 'homosexual propaganda' in Russia, and soundbites from Arundhati Roy's speech 'Come September' about the US War On Terror. I also used any samples I could find of people talking about sleep and waking up, as a nod to Kate's original version. And then I proceeded to make lots of noise, and to try make it as frightening as the original, which quite frankly scared the bejesus out of me the first time I heard it.

I've put a call out for anyone who might have been filming on the night to share their footage, as I don't honestly know when another opportunity to play 'Waking the Witch' will arise again. Possibly never, in which case my cover version will vanish into the ether with all the other ghosts of cover versions throughout time, surviving only in the memories of those loyal Bush disciples who made that pilgrimage to North London and gathered there in honour of the Hounds.

Or I might just record it myself sometime and whack it online. We shall see.

That's enough bloggage for now, I'm playing at St Ethelburga's Church in Liverpool Street tonight for Ed Prosek's EP launch so must go and drink coffee and remember how to play things that aren't Kate Bush. The original and inimitable 'Dig For The Promise' string quartet will be joining me for the set, which I'm rather bloody excited about.

Here's wishing you a fine weekend,

John