November 15th 1985 at Krackers at the bottom of Mt. Pleasant in Liverpool is the one and only time I saw Green On Red, I only know this because I looked it up on the internet and there it is, my memory didn’t fail me but there is still no set list for that Green on Red show so I have no idea what was played. I do however remember that i went in with a red flannel and came home without it.
I remember Krackers being a dark dingy hole of a place under the parking lot and movie theater there on the corner of Mt. Pleasant. I had managed to see Here and Now, Roy Harper and a few others over the years there, ending sometime in the early 90’s with Big Audio Dynamite. It was the type of place that smelled of various varieties of smoke, spilled drinks and vomit. Of course everything is enhanced by memory.
It may even still be there in some alternative Liverpool. I am sure the building is there but is the shady cinema showing movies that are no longer on first run through the day and pornography at night, the strangely terrifying parking lot that for years was the cheapest place to park your car. The overwhelming smell of urine and stale beer as you walked past. The Beehive pub across the street was a clash of cultures and crossing the street was an adventure that could not be remedied by the awful kebabs on the corner. I was unable to find any pictorial evidence of this place. Next time I am home if I manage I am taking pictures.
The bottom of Mt.Pleasant was always the place to get off the bus as a teenager, fueled with the expectation of what was to come. The truth was often much more unsatisfying than the reality or the stories we told on a Monday. For some reason I got off the bus there so I could walk and build the tension before entering whatever establishment had been chosen as the start of the evenings festivities. At some point we always ended up in the Marlborough Arms with Val the landlady and some awful karaoke happening, those pyramids along the Nile were seldom seen so often it seems.
But to the point, Green on Red. Dave had convinced me to go see them on the basis of his declaration that they would be great. He insisted that they were like Neil Young and similar to the Byrds and that they would rock my world. I have no idea where he got that idea as he had never seen them either, he owned one album called Gas Food Lodging that I had never heard. The likelihood is he could not convince his girlfriend to go with him and it was loud rock music and guaranteed to get me out if it involved beer as well.
The only real memory I have of the show is the intensity of the whole thing with Dan Stuart and Chuck Prophet shaking that walls of that strange cellar, the sweat dripping from the ceiling and the overwhelming heat in the room. The concert was a physical experience from start to finish. It has been one I have carried with me over time. I never knowingly listened to any of the records after the show or before it although Dave was such a big fan I am sure they were played in that little shared bedsit. If I close my eyes though I can see Dan Stuart hunched over his guitar backlit by the stage lights.
Then the other night I woke up thinking about the E.P. No Free Lunch. Not surprisingly this led to the inevitable search and clicking on the internet to feed the need. Several days later the parcel arrived with Gas Food Lodging and No Free Lunch expertly packed. Within minutes No Free Lunch was on and there was Dan Stuarts inescapable voice. It’s not as much like Neil Young as I remember. Chiming guitars and an Americana feel that we used to think of as indie rock in the 80’s. Before we new what we were listening to and after it became okay to enjoy the more esoteric end of folk. I was always a little uncomfortable with the genre of paisley underground, it always sounded like a an attempt to Floyd out country music to me and then they included the Bangles. Now it is not in any way ever a bad idea to include the Bangles, they just don’t seem too psychadelic.
The moral if there is one of this tale is that those late night memories I find myself having as I attempt to think of something that is not political or maybe too personal to share has real affects on my bill fold. As I sit here attempting to finish this off there are two more Green On Red albums winging their merry way to me through the wonders of the US Postal Service.