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gig reviews - april/may 06


 
 

Akron / Family
23.4.06 - The Faversham, Leeds

As I have mentioned on more than one occasion in my moribund ramblings on this site I just don’t like Sunday gigs. I tend to be hung-over and dreading the onslaught of another Monday and so it takes a lot to get my fires stoked enough to get me out the door and to a gig. So much so in fact that by the time I managed to drag my weary bones to the venue I’d missed the support act, though I was assured that wasn’t too much of an issue.

The Faversham on a Sunday is currently running an afternoon / evening called ‘In The Pines’, a showcase for acoustic, folk, Americana, lo-fi etc which is what I find ourselves in the midst of this evening. Now what this means is if you are an individual looking for some Sunday relaxation outside of your home you can now do so whilst listening to excellent tunes and the occasional band. Hoorah!

So with water in hand (hangover and money deficit) I prepare for the Akron / Family, a band whom since hearing their split/collaborative release with Gira’s Angels of Light project on Young god Records I have been rather intrigued to witness in a live arena. As with much of the Young God records output it is at once accessible yet with enough avant leanings to satisfy a more experimental palette and to see this mix of folk, post-rock, choral joy translated to the stage is frankly nothing short of breathtaking. Seeming to divide their set into acts rather than merely playing songs Akron / Family using shifting rhythms, tempos and states to gel songs together and blend them from one to the next. It’s a sort of prog-folk but minus the pretension and boredom this might infer. They are a band who can play complex and beautiful folk music and yet go into a balls out freakout in the drop of a hat without it sounding like an absolute fucking mess. By the finale featuring an extended and even more rapturous version of album highlight ‘Raising the Sparks’ I feel like a man who’s had his hung-over Sunday mind sloused out with sweet honey and the bees who made it are stinging love straight into my Medulla Oblongata.

Akron / Family are a band refusing to be pigeon-holed by any particular genre and simply committed to producing absolutely beautiful music whether that is on CD or in their, perhaps superior, live guise.   

Luke Drozd

 
 

Twisted Folk presents:
Howe Gelb & Voices of Praise + Courtney Tidwell
19.5.06 - Academy 3, Manchester

Those who haven’t heard Howe Gelb’s latest musical offering ‘Sno Angel Like You’ maybe unaware that this current tour is somewhat different from Mr. Gelb’s usual proceedings. Yes within the set you will get to hear a couple of Giant Sand favourites but there will be a difference, a 9 piece gospel Choir to be precise. In support of the album we are being treated to the rare occasion of being able to witness Gelb with the full backing of the same choir from the record, Voices of Praise

First though Courtney Tidwell takes to the stage in front of a growing and eager crowd. Tidwell starts off somewhat timidly, her sweet Nashville twang slowly beginning to shine through as she begins to relax a little. Tidwell’s brand of gently picked guitar led folk is all rather nice but does little to lift the senses. That is until she changes tack somewhat and perches herself behind the drums onstage and using some sort of electronic gizmo creates a few moments of intriguing and gripping stripped down folk. If only more of her set had been like that.

As the main attraction for the evening takes to the stage one choral member at a time there is a definite buzz through the crowd, you already know its going to be that little bit special. And sure enough from the moment the be-hatted Mr. Gelb takes to the stage and begins to strike his guitar my suspicions are correct. The thing with witnessing Gelb live is the atmosphere and stage presence he exudes. Sharply dressed with string tie and immaculate satanic beard its hard not to be slightly in awe of his relaxed charm. Gelb’s own musicianship and distinctive baritone vocal is complemented perfectly by the choir’s rich and soaring tones. New songs from Sno Angel ‘But I Did Not’ and ‘Paradise Here Abouts’ shine out whilst old favourites given the gospel reworking like ‘The Farm’ and ‘Chore of Enchantment’ have never sounded better. The whole event has the atmosphere of joy and rapture that is impossible not to get swept away in. I can’t remember the last time I smiled so hard or clapped so loudly at a concert. Another wonderful gig from those good folks at Twisted Folk and probably what will turn out to be my gig of the year.

Luke Drozd

 
 

Absentee + Baxter Dury + Sunny Day Sets Fire
15.5.06 - Bush Hall, London

Altogether a different vibe here tonight than the last time I saw a gig here. The tables and chairs have been packed away, the lights are down and the sparkly lights are up. Brett Anderson rubs shoulders with the great unwashed in the bar area which is tightly packed due to the no-smoking policy in the main hall. Well, we wouldn’t want to set the carpet on fire now, would we? Best leave that to the bands. 

Due to their ridiculously early start time, I only arrive in time to catch the last two-and-a-half songs of Sunny Day Sets Fire’s set. This is annoying because I’d really liked what I’d heard on their Myspace profile and, if the energy of their performance in those closing numbers, their slot could well have been my favourite. With their four members hailing from Italy, Hong Kong and the UK, their sound is as eclectic as their line-up is multicultural. Certainly, no obvious reference points spring to mind. The highlight has to be when drummer Onyee pries herself away from the kit to give it some Damo Suzuki lead vocal action. In short, they’re a lot of fun.  

“The only way to Shepherd’s Bush…is up the shepherd’s leg!” says Baxter Dury to little or no response. To be fair, he doesn’t let that deter him from telling more (and worse) jokes, but also doesn’t do himself any favours by playing songs that sound like a crap(per) version of  “Don’t Look Back In Anger” or by getting in such a “tired and emotional” state before the show. Moreover, and just like his famous father, he can’t sing for toffee but hasn’t the same degree of personality make up for it. Hence, we strain to hear his weak vocals over the music. “Oscar Brown” must be his big hit, judging by the cheer it gets before and after, and the slight diversion into the Velvet’s “Oh Sweet Nuthin’” is a bit cheeky. Brett seemed to enjoy it anyway.. 

In a much better mood than the last time I saw them (having an album out cheered them up, no doubt) Absentee also seem strangely grateful to be in this position and so rapturously received to boot. Singer Dan Michaelson’s 1000 fags-a-day growl is still a thing of wonder and their music evocative - Smog and Pavement engaging in a spot of grubby and ultimately disappointing sex in a worn-out sleeping bag…ooh, yeah! – but they don’t rock quite as hard as before . There is also a surfeit of slow to mid-paced numbers in their repertoire which lead my thoughts (and those of certain other chatty audience members) to wander off. Better are the rocking “Weasel”, where the low and high harmonies of Dan and keyboardist/co-vocalist Melinda Bronstein combine to delicious effect, and closer “Something to Bang” which ends in a Spiritualized-esque cacophony of brass and noise. 
http://www.myspace.com/officialsunnydaysetsfire

http://www.myspace.com/baxterdurymusic
http://www.myspace.com/donkeystock

Will Columbine

 
 

iLiKETRAINS + Micah T Pearson + The Exploits Of Elaine
10.5.06, Nottingham Social

 

If you ever needed an opening example when launching into a diatribe about what’s wrong with the music scene today, then look no further than the comparison of two gigs held less than 500 yards apart. One featured a headline act fronted by a crackhead’s sidekick who played three riffs over an hour to a sold out crowd at the cities largest venue, whilst the other, the subject of this review, featured three exciting, boundary pushing acts and struggled to draw 100 people. Such are the woes of being a forward thinking band with several top draw singles over what is essentially The Libertines mkII.

 

Woes which locals Exploits Of Elaine feel moreso. In a gig meant to be a last hurrah to their earlier post-rock meanderings in favour for more eclectic directions technical difficulties mean that the setlist has to be changed on the spot to incorporate tracks that can be ran through without the use of their misfiring keyboard/synth set-up. Luckily they are able to do so, and the tracks in their four-song set don’t sound as rushed and haphazard as they so easily could, with close ‘Laputa’ being a highlight of the night, giving the traditional post-rock crescendo template a fresh leash of life.

 

Micah T Pearson has no worries of technical difficulties, his solo set consists only of softly strummed mandolin, lap-steel and acoustic guitar. Taking in traditional Appalachian-style picking and mixing it with songs in the vein of Nick Drake at times his music seems too relaxed and ‘twee’ to captivate, but it never becomes boring, and in hindsight Pearson is the perfect compeer for the headliners.

 

Who, as always, are nothing short of incredible. iLiKETRAiNS seem to find the very rarely inhabited area between ‘progressive’ and ‘anthemic’ easily, with tracks like ‘Rook House For Bobby’ and ‘Terra Nova’ combining the lucid waves of distortion that My Bloody Valentine perfected of Loveless with memorable, even catchy, song structures, at times reminding of Hope Of The States or a more adventurous Komakino.

 

Yet they are still at their strongest when clawing out of the radio-friendly four-minute format. ‘Stainless Steel’ lasts over eight minutes, and builds up over five of those minutes, and yet it is still breathtaking, with vocalist David’s dulcet lulling weaving around the crystalline guitar runs. It has been a long time since post-rock sounded this vital and exciting. It’s just a shame that most people tonight chose banality over (fractured) beauty.

 

Jordan Dowling

 

Scarling + Amusement Parks on Fire
12.5.06 - Joseph's Well, Leeds

A sweaty, sultry night in the famous back room of the Well with more than a polite smattering of punters but still room to lean against a wall or to fall through the holes in the bar floor if you so desired.

Amusement Parks on Fire are indeed a strange phenomenon. At their worst they sound a bit like Doves (not a bad thing some might say) with chords and rhythms pounded out and repeated ad nauseum. But more often than not they ascend to a much higher level - a synthesis of guitar parts. mesmerisingly pummelled bass and huge slabs of glorious feedback. The vocals used sparingly merely punctuate this overwhelmingly rampant noise rather than compete with it. Compelling stuff.

By contrast, Scarling have a certain fan base. What's this I see? National health glasses, much eye make up, wrist bands a plenty. We're talking emo-ahoy in the audience but to be honest Scarling probably have more in common with The Cure than most emo bands. But look around the room at all the mini-personal tragedies being acted out - the guy with his head in his hands sat on the floor at the back; the couple having a stand-up row stood on the speaker boxes. I can't blame them - if I'd been forced to listen to the whole set I would probably have turned on someone too.

SB


Little Man Tate
5.5.06 - The Cockpit, Leeds

Armoured with some dubious looking matching tank tops (which could feasibly have been knitted from mohair) Little Man Tate follow fast in the footsteps of city brethren Milburn and a little known banned called The Arctic Monkeys. What the hell are they putting in the water in South Yorkshire that makes the public abandon their dress sense in favour of writing killer indie guitar tunes?

While definitely sharing more than a smattering of Rickenbacker riffs with the equally mighty Milburn, Little Man Tate bring an infectious enthusiasm and sheer joy to the stage that is all their own. Had they just been having an awful tour until they got to Leeds or were they genuinely staggered by the reception they got tonight? It seemed the latter as the band regularly swapped disbelieving looks between each other, not least when the stage was mounted by a large overweight middle aged man wearing what appeared to be a leather thong. Seems this activity is not even normal in Sheffield.

Tasty favourite 'The Agent' was hammered out with thong-drenching precision and the trademark clean guitars and finger picked bass were in full crowd pleasing action. At an hour long there was a couple of songs which could have been harmlessly weeded out but this wouldn't have stopped the stream of hapless stage divers who seemed to either always end up on stage at the end of a song else plummet earthwards without so much as a finger of support from their audience colleagues. I thought we were going to need to charter a mini-bus to Stoke Mandeville seeing as so many people were seeming to hit the strangely black-tar clad clad surface of the Cockpit floor.

None of which could have prepared us for an all out stage invasion for the final song which must have seen about 60 people mount the not inconsiderably high stage and jiggle rather uncomfortably while the band battled with broken strings and restricted strum-room to crank out the final few choruses. Great fun.
www.littlemantate.co.uk

SB


Magic 8
28.04.06 - The Betsey Trotwood, Farringdon

It wasn't a hard decision. Magic 8's demo EP had stood out like a matterhorn in the malverns amidst my share of last months singles. Here, here was something to make me sweat out a review - it's great having a secret, it's even better to tell the world about it, it's a tightrope trying to do this without sounding like a schoolgirl. I might have failed that bit. And what's this? Playing next week you say?

An apology. I can't pass fair comment on support Seine and The Slow as I missed much of their sets through a combination of bad tubes and good company (hi Anna). Response from other punters was positive and I didn't dislike what I heard, but I had ventured to the sweaty hobbit hole known as the Trotwood for one band only.

Another apology. I had compared Polly's voice to Sophie Ellis-Bextor's. It's miles better - stronger, richer, sexier. It wasn't best served by early numbers such as '2 of one' 'Midnight to morning' or 'Frozen by the sun' - indie pop played with vim but lyrically too fey and indistinct. 'Wonderful smile' was better: 'Is this really the life' was witchcraft.

Time slowed, the voice grew, the basement shrank. I had loved the recording, but that's just a postcard of this place. From there the band played with lap of honour grins, knowing we were theirs. Save 90 seconds of 'Don't you forget about me' none of the following songs made an individual impact -maybe they will on another hearing- until closer 'Battleships' , slightly underwhelming on record, here a thrilling climax, rattling sabres and spite and joy. Dammit -here comes the schoolgirl - these guys were utterly great. 19th June at the Pleasure Unit Bethnal Green, I just hope the stage is higher than eight inches, I need to see more.

Another apology. No, that one had better wait...
www.magic-8.com

Robin Fahy


The Bee Stings + Omerta + Videofan + Quinn
12.4.06 - The Water Rats, Camden

I met a man on a railway station the other day.  He offered to sell me some mysterious plants, and as he did, he laid down a strange fable of a band called The Bee Stings: “they have”, he said, “a huge shared erogenous zone that peaks a few metres above street level.”  It seems that if you walk through it your serotonin level jumps up a couple of ppm.  I had to get me a piece of that action, so I hastily handed over a quantity of English pounds for his pharmaceutical flora (which, incidentally, turned out to be fava beans – high in levodopamine, low in flavour) and went my merry way towards The Water Rats, King’s Cross. 

The Bee Stings, it transpires, combine this fabled air of erogeny with irresistibly tasty songs and Samurai training.  There’s also a little nin-jitsu in the mix, but I’m getting ahead of myself. 

I got there too late to hear Videofan, the first band, but apparently they were good.  They seem, from their website, to be pretty standard commercial fare, and moreover there is some talk of a Virgin advert, so they clearly need no help from me. 

It therefore pleases me to move on with all dispatch to Quinn, a Glasgow outfit whom I liked really rather a lot.  They have a keyboardist who also plays a mean trumpet (which you don’t see that often) who reminded me of Howard Moon, but in a very good way.  Their rhythm section is solid and stomps around comfortably, while their singer can croon up a velvety storm.  She also looks sweet in a mini-dress, but that is all by the bye. 

Following on swiftly was a four-piece from Manchester going by the name of Omerta.  They were very assured and pumped out a goodish slice of indie rock in a Mancunian style, but somehow I didn’t find them as interesting as Quinn.  Mind you, their single is one of four currently up for the vote on XFM, so again, they really don’t need my help. 

Finally, the Bee Stings themselves went onstage in a palpable hiss of neurotransmitters.  I stood back and admired their equipment for a brief moment.  Truly, it was mighty. 

The band are a blizzard of tamed chaos:  Their singer, Valkyrie, contains a power supply designed for a person four times her size; Attila the drummer (his real name) is like an anti-tank battery with cymbals, and both guitarist and bassist are equally happy on some phat keyboards.  They also feature a fairly spectacular video setup along with the sound.  They screeched into action with Pressure Tank, which starts deceptively pretty and then blows your hair around.  This is a characteristic shared by many of their songs – lovely intricate constructions which explode and take your eyebrows off at the moment you least expect. 

High points included Show Me Happy, which involved the more mobile band members having a bit of a mosh (without missing a beat), Ninjas vs. Aliens, which did exactly what it said on the tin and featured an additional operatic diva doing theremin impersonations for added tension, and U Got My Number?, a charming ditty about the problems with love in the telecommunications age. 

All in all it was an awesome spectacle, and I am not telling you who won out of the ninjas and the aliens, so you will have to check it out for yourself.  Go.  Go now.

 Andrew Wyld


Brand B + Miss Black America + Seven Seals
02.05.06 - New Cross Inn

 Brand B took one for the team here, having the job of warming up the folk at this less than heaving south London pub. Lead singer Marcus's good humour was strained by an audience indifferent to thrash ska punk and primal screams. Undeservedly so, they were tight, witty, and should really be playing to crowds less interested in pool and fruit machines. Cleared out the droopy faced locals a treat, mind.

Things het up, slowly, for Miss Black America. Opener 'My Big 'L'' couldn't do the job by itself, but a relentless pace of frenzied metal emerged through 'Freefall', 'Drowning By Numbers' and the night's standout song, signature 'Miss Black America'. By now enthusiasm was abundant and the band were reciprocating...until the bass amp gave up the fight. Seymour Glass, MBA's winsome frontman, (re)covered with a worryingly perfect rendition of Take That's 'Back For Good', but some of the momentum was lost. With new single 'Emotional Junkmail' a casualty of the delay the final songs - 'Automatic', 'Talk Hard', 'DotDotDot' - showed MBA at their best, spiky punk meteorites with all the best qualities of Ash. Not quite a triumph, but on the back of a successful tour, with a newly stable line up, Miss Black America are riding high.

Surfing the wave of bonhomie, Seven Seals -'Five pretentious tossers from the Lake District singing about the French revolution' kept the party hard without totally convincing musically, though some fuckers blowing their bass amp no doubt played a part. 'Loose Ends' is deservedly the new single, '7th Wave' 'Snotty Guitar' and closer '3ft Hi' revealed amply quirky charms, and if the rest of the set were carried by manic energy and a Billy Childish moustache, well, other bands have hidden more with less.

Robin Fahy


Fear Factory + Breed 77 + Misery Index
13.4.06 - Leeds Met SU 

Leeds Met Uni and Fear Factory, well, I never thought I’d put those two in the same sentence.  Standing at the Leeds Met bar, about to walk into the venue to have my eardrums burst by the thrash metal legends, Fear Factory. Awesome. (and I mean that in the truly English sense of the word, rather than the US pillaged version)…  

The gig kicked off to a cracking start with some good old traditional, “Is he speaking in tongues?”, thrash metal from Maryland’s Misery Index, who pelted out some impressively fast paced, downtuned guitar riffs and drum rhythms, teamed with dirty, 40-a-day vocals that vibrated the soul and warmed the cockles.  

Green to  the talents of the main support act, Breed 77, I was surprised to hear their melodic vocals and general lack of nonsensical, guttural mumblings at a FF gig. Bongos are not the first things that spring to mind when you think of hard rock, however, I was slowly drawn into their extraordinary mix of metal, Spanish and Moroccan music. I take my hat off to Breed 77, the bongos, for some completely bizarre reason, work, and I have to say, after listening to more extracts from the albums on their website, these Gibraltan boys have talent. Thrash metal it aint, but refreshingly good it is. Their significant fan base at the gig seemed to agree, so it’s a thumbs up from me for Breed 77.   

It’s been 16 years since the birth of Fear Factory and the metal demons are still showing the rock scene who’s boss. Their unquestionable stage presence and gut-punchingly powerful rhythms, combined with Burton C. Bell’s ability to produce aggressive vocals and sing clean when it matters, gives them their unique sound. The band have, undeniably, changed over the years, but it’s an evolution that we’re happily reaping the rewards from now. The release of 'Digimortal' at the peak of their experimentation with industrial electronics, may have had a few of the traditional metallers reaching for the mute button, but it has added an edge to their music that has enabled them to pick out the best bits and squeeze them all together into a familiar, but altogether tighter, sound. Thrashing out a few gems from 'Demanufacture' and 'Obsolete', and throwing in a couple of newer tracks from their latest album, 'Transgression', FF put on a truly impressive and crowd pleasing show.  To be honest with you, I would expect nothing less from these lads. I liked it. I liked it a lot.

Belinda Troup


Peace Burial at Sea + Immune
24.4.06 - The Vine, Leeds

The oh-so non-salubrious surroundings of The Vine on a warm summer Monday evening was the venue for tonight's gig jaunt. A small and slightly lacklustre crowd filtered furtively round the pub, which inexplicably was not serving any pints other than some slightly dubious-looking flat bitter. Perhaps all the pints had got necked during the afternoon 'sing-along 3pm-7pm' advertised on the signs in the pub. There even appeared to be a straggler from the aforementioned singalong stumbling around at the front during the support acts closing numbers. All in all not the kind of atmosphere you would expect for self confessed agoraphobic electro-metal merchants Immune or north east musical nihilists par excellence Peace Burial at Sea.

Immune's recorded sound is a complex beast, mixing quiet lulls, complex samples and loops and furious guitar riffs, all held together with some pretty impressive vocals. By comparison, their live performance is wholeheartedly full throttle - there are no quiet bits and it sounds like all the amps are turned up to 11. It's an equally impressive spectacle right from 'Monkey' at the beginning of the set onwards. But I can't help feel they have gone a little bit over the top with this sonic assault. I know Immune have had trouble pitching their music to some crowds and maybe this is a sign of over compensation. At times the PA just seemed to give up the ghost and distort everything and the trademark pauses and lulls were conspicuous in their absence. Seeing Immune again in a bigger venue with a slightly more conservative sound man would be interesting.

And so to Peace Burial at Sea. They seem to constantly sneak under the music radar and avoid any publicity, or in this case, any audience. Actually this is not true - there was a small gaggle of talkers yakking away constantly throughout the the set, discussing important facts such as their boyfriend's new haircut. But they seemed mainly connected with Immune. But for a 30 minute set, beset with technical problems/broken laptops, PBAS were stunning. With a lovely ringing guitar sound akin to iLiKETRAiNS and seriously hardcore drumkit, PBAS bring a new found layer of complexity to the evening - haunting silences and pauses, atmospheric samples (when they work) and vocalist Johnny's seemingly threatening delivery. They are a band who bounce and feed off each other, rather than just blasting out at full tilt for 3 minutes per song. A fittingly pristine ending to a fine evening.
www.be-immune.com
www.peaceburialatsea.co.uk

SB


The Boy Least Likely To + B.C. Camplight + We Show Up On Radar
19.4.06 - Kings College, London 

I’m not sure if it was the setting (a barely disguised student union hall) or another sign of the apathy of today’s youth that you keep reading about in the press, but the atmosphere at this gig was severely lacking. If Russ Abbot had shown up he would have been mightily disappointed. Which is a shame, as the music and performances on offer deserved more. 

The opening band, We Show Up On Radar, played a set that seemed beamed from the mind of a very disturbed but engaging toddler, with samples and lyrics combining to create a fairytale effect. Fairytales with undercurrents of menace, however, like the Brothers Grimm, rather than the neutered Disney versions. They were followed by B.C. Camplight. Basically this is Brian Christinzio on vocals and piano and it was a very accomplished performance. Unfortunately the sound quality meant I couldn’t make out the lyrics which actually seemed to be saying something. One to check out on CD for a proper listen methinks. 

Then, to the main event; The Boy Least Likely To bound onto the stage to the sound of ‘Puppet On A String’ by Sandie Shaw and launched into a lively set with jaunty dancing, playful chat and bouncy tunes. We were cheekily treated to the intro from ‘Eye Of The Tiger’, which morphed into ‘My Tiger My Heart’, self-deprecating tales of their tour of the States and a rousing finish with their new single ‘Be Gentle With Me’. They even saved our palms by announcing they were not going to do the whole ‘pretending to leave’ encore thing – a blessed relief. All this did not seem enough for the crowd though. TBLLT gave it their all but the audience just stood and stared, clapping politely. It was a shame, as a more lively audience would have turned a good night into a great one.

Matt Latham


Mogwai
7.4.06 - The Plug, Sheffield

There were rumours from fellow tasty correspondents who attended the Mogwai gig at the ICA recently that Scotland's single most important contribution to noise pollution since Jimmy Krankie had toned down their act a bit and got more 'muso'. But judging by the way my ears are still ringing now, the volume was still well and truly up.

The Plug is a bit of a weird venue for Mogwai to be playing - a converted 90's warehouse down some backstreet which is more used to have club nights than live bands (Jon Carter was on after Mogwai in the main bar - pity my train back was so early). And perhaps that is the reason a lot of the crowd response was a little bit more muted than I'd seen at other Mogwai gigs. But it certainly couldn't be put down to the performance. Resplendent in matching Adidas tracksuits (and later in matching black t-shirts), Scotland's finest torched their way through a good selection of their back catalogue and the best of Mr Beast including 'Glasgow Mega Snake', 'Auto Rock' and the spine tingling 'Friend of the Night'. But by far the greatest thrill of the night was the ear splitting outro of 'Mogwai Fear Satan' as an encore that made the hairs on the back of necks prickle in both volume and supreme, controlled power. Another majestic performance from the undoubted kings of instrumental post rock.
www.mogwai.co.uk

SB


The Xenith Sound + The Humour + The Echo
12.4.06 The Cockpit, Leeds 

An unreasonable early start and a lack of public transportation meant that The echo sadly failed to mither our ears on this occasion, though I am informed by some fellow and more organised early arrivals that they were really rather good. Which is a good thing because The Humour were absolutely terrible and I will not waste another word even contemplating the depths of their awfulness. Truly.

But the reason the masses had sold out the Cockpit again (yes, sold out - amazing) was the Xenith Sound. Now let it not be said that The Xenith Sound write the most original or tricksy numbers ever to cross the laser of a CD player. A heavy slant on production and a staggeringly impressive array of effects pedals add an additional layer of interest to their sound. But it is this lack of complexity that may be the reason behind their success and popularity. I mean, Oasis hardly know more than 4 chords do they?

Another typically impressive performance culminated in an airing of new single 'The Warning' which was OK but still fell a bit short of moshtastic 'Boy Racer'. No-one knows how The Xenith Sound keep selling out the Cockpit. No-one knows how so many people get so drunk so early at their gigs. But sometimes it is just best to wonder.

SB