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  gig reviews - tasty 22

- Stoke Love Music Hate Racism Festival
- Frank Black & the Catholics + Serafin

- Punish the Atom/Franz Ferdinand
- Broken Social Scene
- Motorhead


Stoke Love Music Hate Racism Carnival
7.9.03 - Stoke 6th Form College Fields

In response to the growing support for the British National Party in Stoke, the travelling Love Music, Hate Racism road show hit the town on Sunday September 7th. In all the mix of music and politics attracted a crowd of around 500, and the event itself passed without incident.  

Politics wise there was very little that we hadn’t already heard. This basically amounted to local bigwigs and politicos asking us to be nice to each other. Then there wouldn’t be any racism (apparently). 

Luckily the music was a tad better. There was a dance tent showing off local DJing talent, but I didn’t get chance to check it out. On the main stage, local rap-funk outfit, Dirty Money, kicked off the entertainment. Unfortunately your reporter was busily negotiating the tricky combination of candyfloss and mobile phone to form much of an opinion. They seemed all right, if that’s your sort of thing. 

Next along was student punk scallies Friends of Ken. They weren’t terrible – imagine Blink 182 goes to Eton – but it was like taking a trip to cliché city. I lost count of the hackneyed rock jumps (8 in the first 5 minutes). What made it worse was vocalist Ben’s attempt at political banter. He called on the under-18s present to “oppose the BNP”. How? “By waiting until you’re old enough to vote” mused Ben. I’d stick to the plastic punk mate. 

Thankfully, Paracat from The Unpeople showed our wannabe sk8r friends how political is done. Despite a number of breakdowns and false starts thanks to crap equipment, this self-described “skinhead in a tracksuit” was one of the day’s highlights. His rapping was full of eloquent revolutionary anger, exposing the empty rhetoric of the war on terror in ‘Terror equals terror’, for instance. As an added bonus to the decent politics, he’s actually quite good. One to watch for. 

Following hot on his heels was the intriguingly named Miss Black America. Sad to say, the name is the only thing going for this dull cohort of floppy haired indie lads. One song was too long for this tedious AFI/Ash hybrid. (To make matters worse, they got the longest set, weighing in at 40 minutes!). Still they have youth on their side so they might get better with time, but I saw no glimmer of hope amongst the dross. 

After the speeches, it was the turn of the up and coming Big Cash Prizes. Infamous in Stoke because of their fan’s flair for spray can related publicity, their set showed why they’re one of the hottest acts to come out of the Potteries. Marrying hard-edged electronica with homegrown baggy punk, BCP sounds like a Stokie Primal Scream/BRMC cross. The performance wasn’t without its problems. They were cursed by dodgy equipment, and vocalist Larry Diablo was hit with a throat infection. But they did not allow this to stop them from turning in a kick ass set. 

By this time I was suffering from sunburn and thanks to the grass, a wet arse. Before I left, I managed to catch the first 5 minutes of The Mountaineers. As representatives of the accountant-rock school of Radiohead, Athlete, and Coldplay, I thought I’d be more comfortable dozing off at home.

Phil BC

Frank Black & the Catholics + Serafin
5.10.03 -
Sheffield Leadmill

The third city in two days for the Tasty team took us to Sheffield once again to catch the king Pixie himself and rising Brit rockers Serafin in action at Sheffield Leadmill.

As if being allowed out on a school night wasn't naughty enough, Serafin started their set with what seemed like all four band members playing different tracks at once. Some frantic knob twiddling on the sound desk soon sorted out the sound but nothing could sort out the fact that they look like a hybrid band made up from different groups - a drummer who could be in Motley Crue, a guitarist who should be in the White Stripes, a singer who should be in the Stereophonics and a bassist who could be in almost any boy band. That said, for a band which looks like they formed on the back pages of the NME, Serafin can certainly kick out some stonking tunes and aren't averse to the odd self indulgent wall of feedback or two. Ably supported in the crowd by a pair of the most bizarrely dressed individuals seen this side of the 1970s Serafin kicked out a pretty crisp set well worthy of supporting the great man.

But obviously the night would belong to Frank and he didn't disappoint. The storming new stuff went down really well but you have to feel a bit sorry for him when he knows full well that no matter how good the new material, everybody is waiting for the Pixies tunes. No wonder the rumours of the Pixies getting back to together are rife at the moment.  And what about the poor old Catholics eh? Time to get back to flipping the burgers maybe.

But tonight there was a bit of shock in stall. It suddenly dawned on me that some of the older Frank tunes like 'Headache' and 'Bullet' were sounding great, even, dare I say it, Pixies-esque. Don't get me wrong the likes of 'Velouria' and the storming set closer 'Where is My Mind' sound as fantastic ever. But maybe there are the signs that Frank and the Catholics are here to stay and it may really be Death to the Pixies.


Punish the Atom/ Franz Ferdinand
9.10.03 - The Social, Nottingham

After a dull working day, I arrived at The Social and managed to see Punish the Atom's last four songs. I was struck by their amazing, heavier eighties style of rock. Not cheesy eighties, but a cooler, magnified way, reminiscent maybe of The Fall. The crowd's image seemed complement Punish the Atom perfectly - the hair and clothes - but the band are so much more than that. A good start.
Franz Ferdinand started their set with 'Cheating on You ', followed by 'Jacqueline' and 'Tell her Tonight'. Apart from 'Shopping for Blood' and 'Darts of Pleasure', I assume that most songs performed were unknown to the audience. But that didn't matter because their music was contagious, and electrifyingly awesome. The next single 'Darts of Pleasure' was the last song they played, probably on purpose. The band managed to keep the crowd waiting for 'Darts of Pleasure' - on purpose I think! However, Franz Ferdinand proved that there's more to them than 'Darts of Pleasure' with their electric-robotic, primal rock n roll. And there is a strong eighties connection in the way they sound, perhaps a 'punky' sort of New Order with a sort of happier Robert Smith vocals? Who knows. All I know is that it was impossible to stand still throughout their set.
Aline Lemos

Broken Social Scene/AKP
14.10.03 - Fibbers, York

Obviously all bands deserve some credit for just getting up on stage and having the balls to play in front of an audience, no matter how big. Some bands deserve a doff of the cap for being bothered to do something constructive and doing it with enthusiasm. Occasionally, some bands are actually pretty musically proficient which is obviously commendable. So when all three of the above criteria are met by tonight's warm up act AKP, why is it they are so terrible? Sounding like a cross between the high gothic moments of Muse and the whiniest warblings of Placebo, I found the whole set pretty anodine. Being told to download an MP3 from their website because it was free didn't help. As my mate pointed out, just because someone might give you a turd in a box for free, you wouldn't necessarily want it. Being told we should enjoy ourselves because AKP are from York did little to raise the gloom. But being subjected to 10 minute guitar solos by someone who had clearly just received a new Zoom effects pedal and was hell bent on using every one in every song was the final straw. Go home and write some proper songs before darkening my doorstep again you cheeky monkeys.

And on to Broken Social Scene. Probably the complete opposite of AKP in that musically, they are very much the sum of the parts rather than depending on any individual excellence, BSS create sprawling soundscapes that fill the room. The band also fills the stage with their army of guitarist and very own bontempi sounding electric organ - fab! Funny looking bunch these Canadians too but they seem to be the world's nicest band, even looking after their bus driver on stage - aahh shucks!


14.10.03 - Leeds Uni Refectory, Leeds

“Don’t forget about us!” Strange world for Phil Campbell, long-time Motörhead guitarist, to use in front of a buzzing, refectory-size crowd, but poignant none the less. The fact is that while times may change, Motörhead don’t, not really. And so, after ruling the British rock roost for much of the late-seventies and early eighties, Lemmy and cohort’s cartoon biker-Viking malarkey has often found itself shunted unceremoniously to the sidelines by such passing fads as hair-rock, grunge, and nu-metal (RIP). But now that we find ourselves saddled with a flavour-of-the-month concern whose stock-in-trade is a sound uncannily similar that of ‘classic’ (or ‘well-dodgy’, depending on whether you were there or not), old-school British metal – Hello, The Darkness, my old friends! – you could be forgiven for thinking that Motörhead’s time might once again be nigh.

The audience demographic, which ranged from tubby mullet-heads keen to bathe in nostalgia (if nothing else) to suburban skate-kids wondering what all the fuss is about, certainly seemed to bear this out. For sure, the band, now stripped down to a no-nonsense three piece allowing (apart from an eight-minute piss-break – sorry, drum solo) for no fripperies, are still bracing enough, doling out fearsome yet somehow endearing blasts of noise. And there can be no doubting that their oldest – and by far their best – songs, such as a truly monumental No Class, Metropolis (highlight for me), and traditional ‘Come back, we’ve not finished yet!’ encore Overkill have weathered very well indeed.

 Unfortunately, however, hardly anyone present tonight had heard any of the newer stuff, which obvious fact seemed not surprisingly to grate with the band somewhat, but  their decision to cover God Save The Queen might help to explain these shifting fortunes. For, just as the Pistol’s hoary old slab of punk nostalgia could (in a flattering light at least) be seen as an ‘alternative national anthem’, so too does it seem that Lemmy and the gang are now appreciated less as heroic outsiders than as a British institution, which effectively means that although subject to indulgent attention and fond praise on special occasions like this, for the rest of the time they are condemned to be stuffed into the cupboard marked ‘taken for granted’.

Ieuan Jones