gig reviews - oct 04
Geoffrey Love + Fixit Kid +
The Social, Nottingham
Thingy starts off his set with a pointless story about kicking a dog. It
lacked relevancy, imagination, narrative and basic structure and took so
long to deliver in his affected world weary drawl, the sun had imploded by
the time he came to sing. When he did finally come to intone words into a
microphone he sounded exactly like you’d imagine a man who had just
delivered an ill conceived account of kicking a dog would sound. A bit like
one of the millions of Smogesque troubadours doing the rounds as support
acts. I can’t remember if he had a beard but I bet he did.
Fixit Kid were so fucking
appalling I had to escape downstairs after 30 seconds. Downstairs were
playing fashionable reggae but it came as blessed relief after the aural
defecation pouring into my bruised ears upstairs. Imagine a tone deaf Mogwai
without the quiet bits. Or the interesting bits. Very Loud. Well that’s what
I gathered from 30 seconds anyway. The lead singer was also very rude. The
condescending twat. Why they were supporting Bearsuit I don’t know. Well
they were probably cheap anyway. It’s a good thing no one reads Tasty
fanzine or else I think he might batter me.
Bearsuit were ace. They seem to have a more
selective audience since they last played here, which is a shame. Any way
you know what your getting with Bearsuit: Casio beats, flutes, twee
screaming, enthusiasm, pig tails and general indie pop cuteness. With bears.
All their songs sound rather similar, but what a song. I was quite drunk by
this point so can’t really remember much else. Except Lisa Bearsuit was
wearing the same skirt as when she last played Nottingham. The shame. Still
fancy her though.
Hibbett + Adam from The Hectic Collectors + Frankie Machine
22.9.04 Sheffield, some disused factory somewhere
Whether you like a record doesn't just depend on the three minutes or three
quarters of an hour when you sit and listen to it. You can't separate the
act of listening from the context: from what you know about the artist, from
whether you've had a bad week at work. And when no bugger else knows about
some bedroom pop gem from Malmo that you've just discovered online, it feels
somehow more precious and nice. This is often wrongly dismissed as indie
snobbery. It is actually just the pleasure of holding a secret.
This is why tonight is very
special indeed. Five of us are loping gingerly around a belt of disused
factories in search of tonight's venue-switched Hibbett gig: handsome, dusty
buildings tower above us, housing ghosts of steel and unsafe stairs. Drawn
by the sound of drums, we shuffle like the Scooby gang up four deathtrap
flights, find out we're in the wrong place, get some directions, and shuffle
back onto the street to follow them.
Here we are then: two small
rooms skulking in the very heart of a huge, dark, crumbling, old labyrinth
of a place: no bar, everyone drinking cans, smoking weed, passing stuff
round, sitting on mucky floors and battered sofas in between pots of paint
and stepladders, drifting off to explore mazy, murky rooms and miles of
blackened corridor. The tenuous legality of the event appears to hang upon
its status as a 'private party' rather than a gig. I resolve to stage a few
private parties in my back yard.
plaintive acoustic tone avoids Kings of Convenience dreariness with some
taut arrangements, laconic melodies and sudden, potent lyrics. It's
beautiful because it could shatter into tears at any moment. Adam struggles
gamely with poor sound, which MJH gives up on altogether to play
genuinely unplugged. No licence means no licensing laws means time for
two encores: Hibbett's brilliant reading of 'Boom Shake the Room' has never
been so apposite, and the crowd go wild, giddy from the rich vibe of DIY
stealth that prevails and makes tonight the best damn gig I have ever been
to in my whole useless life.
I Like Trains + Nikoli + Vib
2.10.04 - Royal Park Cellars, Leeds
Will Forget You’; the words flickered up on a small projection screen at the
back of the stage, merging through a faint super 8 film, re-enforcing an
already catchy chorus. I Like Trains crowd on to the small stage,
presenting a look somewhere between The Libertines and Franz Ferdinand that
seems a bit at odds with being squashed in to The Royal Park Cellars. The
lyrics continue to be re-iterated by the fifth band member, who stands with
his back to the audience, alternating between slide and film projectors and
trumpet. It’s a bit distracting to their sound, which is further complicated
by a vast array of bizarre twists, such as the melodica and violin bow on
Trains seem to understand each other as a band, but they are still new to
the gig circuit and as such they are building their confidence. An array of
technical problems left them a bit shaky and rubbed the edges off their
grooming, I liked it. It broke down the superficialities and gave an insight
in to where this band could go with a bit less image anxiety and more
conviction in the music.
a band with a consistent reputation and a dedication to their music, launch
in to their set with strong drums and keyboard. As they move through
‘Always’ and ‘Resigned’ the vocals are reminiscent of the Smashing Pumpkins,
pushing confident songs in which all members seem to take ownership. Four
way vocal harmonies set off the melodies and bring depth to the acoustic
rendition of ‘Lock Down’.
asks me’ the song breaks down and gives a moment of clarity within the music
that is perhaps lacking through the set as a whole. It is hard to hear the
layers of the individual instruments, and leaves an impression of their not
being enough definition. A highly competent four piece, they could allow the
individual instruments to take their own directions, lowering the overall
density of sound and making for a more coherent whole.
are a band that fit in well with the current climate of melody led song
writing. Sitting alongside the likes of Razorlight and Interpol, the passion
of the band is certainly of equal measure to these Indie stalwarts but
whether the tunes themselves would hook you within a wider arena is hard to
Bell’ leads in with poise through the drums and a lucid build up. There is a
clear direction that has been adopted by each instrument and this gives a
strong overall impression. The harmonic riff of ‘Faun’ holds throughout the
song and makes you believe in them as band and convinces me that they
believe in themselves enough to tweak these catchy and well rounded songs in
to something pretty special.
7.9.04- Leeds University
It doesn't seem five minutes since I was stood in the middle of a field with
50,000 Tennants-swilling Scots watching Peej at T in the Park. As the sound
drifted across the festival arena all the old favourites were recognisable
and Polly was certainly commanding the audience from the huge stage but I
couldn't really get into it. Perhaps it was because I knew I was missing
Goldfrapp on the other stage but more likely because it just wasn't a great
gig. So I was really looking forward to the gig at Leeds Uni so she could
set the record straight.
It's a funny place Leeds Uni.
By day refectory serving an assortment of seemingly inedible meals to the
few students who actually still eat in refectories. As a venue it has the
most ridiculous bar queue system and only offers a few luke warm cans when
you get to the end of it. There is a huge balcony half way across the room
so it is impossible to see anything from further than half way back and the
toilets might as well be in a Bradford they seem so far away. Add to that an
ambient temperature even on a moderate September night of about 35 degrees
and you don't get an environment conducive to enjoying good live music.
So why is it that every gig
I see there seems to be fantastic? Therapy? Ian Brown and now PJ Harvey.
Even though it seemed in places as though Polly was just going through the
motions on stage I don't think I ever really understood what an amazing
voice she possesses. All the angst ridden early albums like 'Dry' and 'Rid
of Me' were punctuated by the banshee like vocals and the Mercury Prize
winning 'Tales from the City...' showed what an amazing songwriting talent
Peej possesses. But all of these albums are mixed and produced to give a
reasonably even sound, even those done by Steve Albini. In comparison, what
we get tonight is the full power of her vocals almost single handedly
carrying the at times chaotic and confused guitars. It didn't help having a
couple of session guitarists in the band who clearly thought they were as
important as PJ (I think not!) and the clear highlights for me were the
tracks she performed solo such as 'Rid of Me'.
But the odd dodgy moment
was far forgotten after two encores which included a lot of material from
her earlier records which still sounds as fresh as ever. Maybe it was
especially poignant for me because my first girlfriend introduced me to the
music of PJ Harvey and it still makes me think of her every time I hear PJ
Harvey records now. But I didn't look like the only person who emerged
afterwards looking like they had just experienced something very special by
an incredibly gifted and charismatic performer.