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  gig reviews - sep 04

Belle and Sebastian
17.7.04 – Somerset House, London

It was almost like a perfect day for an outdoor B&S gig: the sun was shining and quite a warm temperature. Well, if it had rained, we would have managed, I suppose. The venue was quite impressive. They set the stage in the middle of the patio, which is surrounded by old government buildings, so it was all grand style.

The Shins were the support band. I don't dislike them. I usually don't dislike any support bands but I simply rather they didn't have to play before the bands you really want to see! Ah, the impatience. In fairness, though, they weren't too bad, even with the lack of response from the 'tough' B&S fans.

'The state I am in' was the opening song that by itself generates plenty of goosepimples. This, 'Expectations', and 'She's losing it' were the songs from 'Tigermilk' that they performed. It seems that the set they chose to play that night was nicely divided by songs from different albums. For example, from 'If you're feeling sinister' they played the divine 'Like Dylan in the Movies' and 'Judy and the dream of horses'. Obviously, the band performed several songs from the latest album, which were equally danced to and equally enjoyable.

At one point, they threatened to play 'Electronic Renaissance', making one enthusiastic fan shout 'it is the best thing you've ever done!' Well. they didn't play it, confessing they ripped off of its basslines from a New Order tune. 'Stars of Track and Field' was outstanding, causing more goosepimples and lots more of jumping. They performed a couple of covers, 'Blue Suede Shoes' and 'Waterloo Sunset', by The Kinks, which drove the audience mad and denoted a certain rivalry between Stuart Murdoch and Stevie Jackson. Very subtly, though. You could tell by Stuart's look to Stevie while he was playing the guitar so amazingly during these moments. not to mention Stevie's army of fans, who kept shouting 'we love you Stevie'. How sweet. After the covers, 'There's too much love' and 'Step into my office, baby', nearly hurt your face of smiling too much. Throughout the gig, when you looked around you could see how much people were enjoying themselves, smiling away, singing along and clapping. So much clapping! Quite rightly a characteristic of a B&S gig! There's still such a certain sense of closeness from the band to the fans that I think it's great. Another highlight of the night was during 'Piazza New York Catcher'. It had been agreed among the Bowlie crowd, that following the lines: 'San Francisco is calling us, The Giants and Mets will play, Piazza New York Catcher are you straight or are you gay?' we would shout 'GAY'. And so we did, a strong cheerful chorus, which Stuart seemed to hear. It is fair to say that for a moment or two he looked a bit surprised and nearly stumbled through the lyrics. It is always so much fun to see them play live, together with the devoted fans, which are also part of the performance.

Aline Lemos


BRMC
Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
Ok, so they may be considered a Jesus and Mary Chain rip off. If that'd be the case, perhaps that the reason why I like them. Not a very fair one, I must admit. Apart from the fact that they are really good musicians and have
great tunes (at least from their debut album, the one I know best) they are quite a handsome looking trio. What a bunch of excuses I'm trying to make to explain that yes, I've just seen them live and they were really good.


The Rescue Rooms was packed and as usual, I had to make my way to the front, otherwise I would not see a thing. Funnily enough, as soon as BRMC appeared on stage, all the smoke and red lights made it impossible to see them. They seem to take an image of darkness with them, in a cool sense, which adds up to their style. All wearing black, with bassist Robert Turner with hair a la Robert Smith, guitarist Pete Hayes really impressive with all his pedals and amazing vocals and drummer Nick Jago barely visible in all the smoke and dark lights on stage.

What struck me most were the songs from the first album, which to me remains so far the best ones, as I've previously mentioned. 'Love Burns' was one I hoped they'd play and they did, right at the start. With 'Whatever Happened to our Rock n Roll' the audience went wild, people were nearly being crushed right at the front (that included me). The encore included the beautiful 'Red Eyes and Tears', another reason that made this gig worthwhile.

When I had seen them before they came across as being somewhat arrogant, perhaps due to all the attention they gained when they first appeared a few years ago. They affirmed, though, that these sort of smaller gigs were the ones they really like to play and that must have been what inclined them to being quite friendly with the fans. A couple of songs from their upcoming album were performed, which were a bit disappointing. They were both with acoustic guitars only (one had the harmonica, too) and that for me, is not what BRMC are all about. Definitely, the best moments of the night in my opinion were when they performed their earlier stuff, though those who got into them around the time of their second album might have enjoyed the rest more. 

Aline Lemos


Morrissey
Old Trafford ,
Manchester
The Move Festival, apparently not so important amongst all the summer festivals, brought this year the appearance of 'Our Morrissey'. Hence, I travelled to
Manchester for the first time to see him play live, caring very little for the other acts. Ordinary Boys, Beta Band and New York Dolls: fair enough but we want Morrissey, shouted the crowd! And what a stage presence he still possesses. I had last seen him live in the year 2000 so it was simply thrilling to see his performance again. He's as dramatic, theatrical and satirical in his own way, as for instance when he takes off his shirt, rubs it against his chest and throws it to the audience. What a charmer. That's probably what's to be expected after someone listens to 'You are the Quarry'. If you're a follower, the drama, the sarcasm, the poetic lyrics won't be anything new, which can be considered a good thing. That Sunday night had Morrissey in a very talkative mood, perhaps because those surroundings reminded him so much of his youth. 'I'm a local boy gone bad', he says, after walking into the stage. He pointed to the crowd one of the buildings he once worked and how the B&Q behind the cricket ground in the past used to be a place for bands to play. He sadly explained that that was the place the New York Dolls were scheduled to play once but couldn't make it cause one of their band members died. Morrissey claims he still has his ticket.

As it was expected, the set included most songs from his latest album, which wasn't so bad. However, I was hoping he'd include also more material from his older albums. One of the few songs he played from his earlier career was 'Everyday is Like Sunday'. So I'd better let him off. Also, the Smiths songs that were performed really paid off for the fact that the set could have included some better songs. Before playing 'The Headmaster Ritual', he pointed to the school where he used to study at one point, and hoped that some of its staff are dead by now. Nice chap, he is. He also pointed out to the crowd that 'There is a light that never goes out' was written in a moment of pain. Few facts that fans probably already knew but it was just really nice hearing it from the man himself. One of the quotes I liked most from that night was when he asked the crowd: 'Do you know how old I am' then answering 'I'm old enough to be your postman'. No matter how old or how irritating he can seem to some people, he's still an amazing performer who radiates energy. Hats off to his band, who were just as good as Morrissey, matching his engaging attitude and sounding great. 

Aline Lemos      


Wichita Roadshow featuring Her Space Holiday + Brave Captain + Weevil
22.7.04, The Cockpit, Leeds

Mid-week gig goers always seem to be thin on the ground in Leeds. Put something on at the weekend and any fool and his dog will attend but on a school? No thank you, they couldn’t possibly.

This was sadly true of tonight’s Wichita show. But with a rather small outpouring of an audience that Weevil took to the stage. I had not listened to any of there stuff before and it was, well, rather nice. I know that ‘rather nice’ can be construed as a bit of a put down and in some ways I suppose its meant to be. This is because Weevil are often heart warming keyboard laden electro pop with a ladle of Postal Service style hooks, but they are also on occasion just a little too ignorable. Good but not great.

I had no idea what Brave Captain was going to be like. As it turned out Brave Captain is a he called????? Performing a range of thoroughly engrossing laptop wizardry akin to Dntel’s best moments. It’s an odd one to watch. You feel like you’ve stumbled into a guys office and he’s just working away oblivious to your presence. I have no idea what went on, on those screens, he could have been playing patience for all I know. What I do know is that this was an excellent display of intelligent electronic based music.

Finally Her Space Holiday took the baton for the final place on the bill. The resulting show was surprising good. I have a couple of Space Holiday releases and they’re good, but live they’re better. It’s rawer and more passionate with a much harder edge. Yes there are all the elements you’d expect to find from the group but there’s a whole lot more as well. Go and see them and be pleasantly surprised.

Luke Drozd