“something inside me turned upside down”

February 21, 2008


bourbonese qualk. RRV, Lisboa 08-12-1987

Some unreliable recollections and rough recordings of the gig we (bourbonese qualk) did at the Rock Rendezvous in Lisbon in the 80’s, (December 8th 1987 to be exact…my memory triggered by recent comments on this blog): At the time Portugal was undergoing a minor renaissance in new music – the Fascist dictatorship of the seventies had given way to a state of attrition between the traditional conservative catholic mainstream versus an ad-hoc collective of revolutionary groups, eccentrics and newly active youth. This polarization resulted in a profusion of new music groups such as (amongst many others) electronic experimentalists SPQR (who supported us at this gig), dark surrealists ‘Mão Morta’ and the cerebral pop of Pop De’ll Arte. Our gig was organized by the hyperactive João Peste of the Ama Romanta label – responsible of promoting much of the new Portuguese underground and hosted by Rock Rendezvous, the epicentre of live music in Lisbon at the time.

bq_rrvAs gigs go this one wasn’t technically perfect – pre gig festivities had us ejected from various bars in Bairo Alto (specifically after Miles demolished a meter high pyramid of champagne glasses with a carefully aimed bottle of whisky – taken off the barman who’d refused to serve us) and the RRV was known for it’s less than Hi-Fi acoustics. What it lacked in dexterity and clarity it made up for in atmosphere, seeming to me, bordering on hysteria (I’d already inadvertently fallen off the stage – quite a drop – and got into a fight with some punks in the front row). Projected over the band were slides consisting of (real) dead insects trapped between glass which became grotesquely animated by microscopic parasites brought to life by the heat of the projector, consuming the dead bodies of the moths, ants and butterflies.*

Here’s a ‘random edited highlights’ of the event (edited due to low audio quality – recorded on cassette in someones pocket at the back of the hall…amusing nonetheless) :

bourbonese qualk RockRendezvous Lisboa 1987 8.4MB MP3 File


Under Review : a compendium of Portuguese music during the Eighties (in Portuguese)

Mão Morta group website


* This insect theme was part of a project to create a record as a ‘modern fossil’ album. The idea was to collect a huge number of (real) dead insects and press them in thick amber coloured vinyl of a record – creating a synthetic, everlasting amber ‘fossil’. I asked everyone i knew from around the world to mail me dead insects (this triggered the post office and customs people to raid my house one early morning claiming that my activities could lead to an outbreak of collorado beetle in South London) to be included in the project. Unfortunately spiralling costs, customs officials and the reluctance of the pressing plants to create the piece caused the eventual demise of the project.

6 Responses to ““something inside me turned upside down””

  1. Hi there Simon!
    Many thanks for the joyful recollections! It’s amazing how the simple vision of the gig’s poster triggers memories… BQ, SPQR (one of my portuguese favorites back then), Rock Rendez Vous, my sixteen years… [by the way, do you have any recordings from SPQR from that gig?]
    You probably didn’t catch it but at a certain point there’s one guy who shouts something like «You can shove rock’n’roll up your ass!»… Maybe one of the front row punks… lol. And I really liked the way you labelled João Peste as hyperactive… lol.

  2. I. Khider said

    Killer recording man, too bad I never attended those shows. Love the sounds, the aggressiveness and drama. Sound quality is pretty good too. I would be up for more if you have it kicking around.

    Now the idea of dead insects embedded in an album is good, but what about their body parts sticking out? Like would you have to scrape the surface to remove protruding antanae and wings? I imagine it would be a challenge to get those creatures perfectly embedded.

  3. Eu fui um dos que assistiu ao teu concerto no Porto.tnes muito bom gosto quando falas dos Pop del Arte e dos Mão Morta,excelentes bandas Portuguesas.FOREVER BOURBONESE QUALK

  4. Luis said

    That bar you mentioned in Bairro Alto was (is) the iconic Frágil. I was there that night, as a João Peste’s guest (it was Ama Romanta aniversary) and as a great Bourbonese Qualk fan, and when we were talking, you told me something like this for no reason: “I don’t like you”… Anyway, still a fan.

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