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  gig reviews - feb 05

16.2.05 - Warrington WA1 Bar
A Canadian based descent upon the sound concealing revived indie joint of The WA1 Bar in Warrington saw a drowsy Wednesday evening post work crew, have their workplace woes crisply crushed and booted into next week by this crafted and amiable quartet. The commanding vocals of Dan Newton and his exhilarating exuberance was on full show, as he strolled around the room greeting members of the audience with his caressing Gaz Combes strolling along with Liam Gallagher and Grant Nicholls vocals. The outfit teased gatherers as they would introduce familiar sounds and instrumental loops of acts like The Charlatans and ‘Feeder’ in  'The Morning After’ and ‘Walk Away’ respectively, before diverging into their own brand of indie; akin to a Matador removing the red rag just at the right time. This way they maintain their originality you see?     

Showcasing material from their new album ‘Insurgent Alert’ the guys produced enthusiasm and catchy tunes like highlight; ‘Don’t’ to announce their intention to woo modern music fans with their passion. The ebullient front man Dan Newton used his colourful character to good effect as the forty five minute set saw onlookers enthralled, as though they were watching an episode of Corrie that is probably the usual Wednesday evening after work activity for many.

Dave Adair

Dead Fly Bukowski
17.1.05 -
Camden Barfly
Firstly, may I offer my heartfelt thanks to DFB for bringing my guitar all the way down from Glasgow (where it had spent Xmas and New Year for reasons not interesting enough to go into), and not least because this is the excuse that secures me free admission - hurrah! 

In such circumstances, I am more than happy for the band to hold on to it for a further half hour and use it as a back-up instrument, although sadly it turns out to be superfluous to requirements. But no matter.. 

I have it on good authority that Dead Fly are a live force to be reckoned with and tonight they do not disappoint. Take, for instance, lead singer Roddy, who is not just a dead-ringer for one of those bullies from Grange Hill that struck fear into my very soul as a small child, but has all the necessary attributes for rock front man well and truly ticked off the list: stage presence (check), paint-stripping vocal qualities (check), tight trousers (check…no, I wasn’t looking!). Off-stage, however, he’s a lovely chap. 

Meanwhile, their guitarist belies his boyish looks by spitting out jagged shards of distortion, whilst the rhythm section simply lock on and produce one solid, heads-down groove after another. Epic closer “The Sun Song” encapsulates all their finest qualities, ebbing and flowing, twisting and turning through multiple sections, never giving any warning as to which direction the song will turn to next.  

Throughout the set I hear nods to all the greats - Hendrix, Led Zep, Love - all filtered through the fuck-you fuzz attack of The Stooges, but DFB choose to integrate these influences rather than to merely imitate. They play to each other rather than to the audience - always a good sign. 

As the set draws to a climax I’m left with sore calves (a by-product of too much rocking on the spot) and an unshakeable question…if they’re this good now, how much more amazing will they be this time next year? 

Will Columbine

The Morenas
13.1.05 – London Cargo

It’s been a good two years since I last frequented Cargo – to see The Soundtrack Of Our Lives rock their mighty stuff to an awe-struck crowd (and a note-taking Noel Gallagher). As a result I have some difficulty recalling how to get there - thank God for bouncers! - and then spend a good twenty minutes waiting for my friends. Apologies therefore to the support band who…umm…sounded pretty good from outside. 

Once all together and having made our way to the bar, we’re pretty much the only ones there. A few random souls drift in and out, and the group of underage-looking girls who earlier I saw getting asked for ID huddle together by the wall, sipping their beers self-consciously and looking around before disappearing again. I have yet to hear The Morenas music but I still feel bad at the prospect of them playing to an empty floor.  

However, things start to pick up five minutes before the band begin, and where previously the ratio of men to women was significantly tipped in the latter’s favour, our view is now somewhat obscured by a wall of blokes united in head-nodding, hip-slapping appreciation. The girls, meanwhile, are more demonstrative of their enjoyment – a number of them can’t seem to stop dancing. 

But was this any real measure of musical quality? Well, to be honest, no. Don’t get me wrong, the band come across as likeable enough, pulling rock-shapes with just the right amount of self-deprecation. I hear snatches of AC/DC, Razorlight and, in particular, Muse, with the singer’s voice reminiscent of Matt Bellamy minus the dog-worrying falsetto. 

But with a distinct lack of memorable songs it’s all neither here nor there, with only the shimmy and shake of the last number managing to stir my companions from their position at the bar. It may be unfair to draw comparisons at this early stage but, as far as this venue goes, for now the hairy Scandanavians still rule.

Will Columbine