Day 4 - Sparklehorse, Hackney Empire, July 1998
“One night in Hackney!”. Faded as this ticket might be and posting about an artist twice so quickly, I am being strict to this box of trinkets & memories, and moving through what I still have, in chronological order. (You’ll notice the changing styles in tickets over these 100 days - gradually, the uniqueness will fade, the individual promoter or venue designs giving way to the bland computer templates of Ticket Master and their grubby ilk). Today I return to Mark Linkous’ Sparklehorse, with warm memories of this intimate gig at a run down and (at the time) demolition-endangered Hackney Empire. Now it has been beautifully restored after high profile fundraising, but back in 1998 it was run down & under-utilised, and not often used for gigs. The buzz around Sparklehorse had cooled a little, as happens when the hype-crazed UK music media constantly moves its amphetamine gaze on to ‘The New Thing’. The bar area at the back was seating free, and this is where most of the smallish crowd chose to stand and drink, watching from a wee distance. However, if you went down towards the stage you sat in the remaining rows of theatre seats and were treated to a lounge-like performance by Linkous and his band, where you could almost shake his hand and talk to him. My abiding memory of it is that the crowd down front was small, and people were calling out (politely) requests at times. There were two mildly bevvie'd Scots in front of us who kept pleading in thick accents with Sparklehorse to give us the song ‘Cow’: “Marrrrk! Marrrrkkeeeee! Play Coo, man! Play Coo!”. He did. It was beautiful. The two lads both stood up afterwards, raised their cans, and shouted “Cheers, Mark! Cheers, pal!”. Now that’s rapport. RIP Mark Linkous, 1962-2010. Listen to ‘Cow’ here.