gig reviews - april/may 07
Times are changing in the West
Midlands. On the very night that Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club is
sold to some bloke who offered a tenner, there’s an air of optimism about
the place. There’s a decent week for live music in the offing. Bright young
things The Twang arrive tomorrow night promising booze and good times, and
then on Thursday The Editors bring their neo-Joy Division roadshow to town.
In-between we’ve got Biffy Clyro, but I suppose you could always watch the
Champions League Final that night.
If times are changing, where does
that leave Manic Street Preachers? They’ve got a brand-spanking new album,
acclaimed by the popular press to be a return to form, but they haven’t
delved as far back as Generation Terrorists, have they? It’s doubtful Red
magazine, who proclaimed it “a return to their punky roots,” ever heard a
line like ‘repeat after me, fuck Queen and country.’
The people who doubt Send Away The
Tigers are turning up tonight out of a sense of loyalty and duty. The Manics
are a band that inspires this kind of devotion; most ‘older’ fans have them
to thank for cracking open a wider intellectual world, a world where Camus
met Rimbaud and Marilyn was as important as Thatcher. Because we want to
thank them, we appear. At least, that’s the theory behind it all.
As if to make the point right away,
the into is The Clash’s cover of Booker T’s ‘Time Is Tight,’ which sets the
scene well and builds an atmosphere. Only if most of the people here don’t
have a clue what to expect. They want the wench from The Cardigans.
And then? Eardrums shattered from
killer opener ‘You Love Us.’ The Manics look lean and toned, James straining
at the mike. Note perfect, it’s an amazing feeling; like being run down by
sheer aural power. They segue into ‘Imperial Bodybags,’ rocking it up and
making it more palatable, and then wheel out a howitzer – ‘Motorcycle
Emptiness,’ and we all sing along; not because we have to, because we
remember how much we love this band.
The Manics steer wisely clear of
anything that lets up in the pace of the set, playing a few from the latest
album. It works really well live, maybe proving once and for all that none
of their albums (at least post-Richey) have lived up to what the songs sound
like stripped down. The Manics were always ‘rock,’ it’s just that when
you’re faced with the huge possibilities of a studio, you tend to get
carried away and go over the top. This is what they really meant when they
said they’d gone back to punk.
The set is an augmented greatest
hits, trawling the larder for songs they haven’t played in years, like ‘Born
To End,’ dedicated to the 22 people who were at Dudley JBs in 1991.
‘Sleepflower’ gets a much needed airing, and after James’ obligatory solo
spot, they blast back with a medley of ‘Condemned To Rock ‘N’ Roll’ and
‘Motown Junk,’ which sounded as good as is written.
Perennial closer ‘A Design For Life’
is a real beaut, ending as they started. All arms in the air, singing along.
The band has that rare ability to please everyone, which is a rare commodity
in music these days. If you don’t catch this tour, you’ll regret it. Manic
Street Preachers are back, hungry and powerful; they’ve a tiger in their
tank. Beg or pay over the odds for a ticket. I’m not kidding – they’re
really that good.
16.5.07 – Shepherd Bush Empire
There are prerequisites tonight both on stage and in
the audience. To get through the door it appears you need to be one half of
a ‘professional just come straight from my fast paced job in the city’
couple, or a lairy middle aged man. To get on stage however, the standards
are a little higher- you need to have some pointy cowboy shoes or boots, a
very laid back attitude, and a bagful of talent.
Striding on stage with his guitar slung round his neck
as if it’s surgically attached, which it may well be, Willy Mason, although
he’d never admit it, knows that he owns Shepherd’s Bush this evening. The
boy-wonder that snuck into our hearts over a year ago (with a little help
from one Zane Lowe), and then slipped away to his campervan is back after
releasing his second album, If The Ocean Gets Rough in March.
Tonight he’s backed by a full band that includes
violin, banjo and slide guitar, and in the interest of keeping the audience
entertained for the generous hour and a half set in a venue this size it’s a
good addition. He still performs a few tracks in their original one man and
a guitar form though, and glorious set closer Oxygen quite frankly shouldn’t
be performed any other way.
What appears to be a complete lack of roadies causes a
few awkward/ unexpectedly hilarious moments. When the guitarist breaks a
string there isn’t a roadie waiting in the wings to whisk on a new guitar,
and he has to (shock horror!) fix it himself. Unfortunately that means Willy
needs to pull a little banter out the bag, and it turns out it’s not quite
his forte. Instead the band resorts to playing some “tits up” music, while
Mr Mason asks us questions such as ‘do we come here often?’ Later another
technical glitch sees Willy attempting to fix his own guitar with a piece of
paper which unsurprisingly doesn’t work, but luckily a substitute is found
quick enough to avoid another round of audience questioning.
The set list encapsulates the highlights of both albums
and the female violinist who sings with Willy on We Can Be Strong sounds far
better than KT “cool because of my quirky name spelling” Tunstall. Willy’s
voice, which at first listen seems fairly average, sounds brilliantly deep
and rumbling live and is unmistakably him.
The show signals a triumphant return, and proves that
Willy Mason is managing just fine without Zane Lowe handling his PR.
In the first few minutes of the set, I have zombie spit
splattered across my camera lanes before B’Hellmouth limps off to scream
‘LET’S PARTY LIKE WE’RE FUCKIN DEAD’ at the crowd. And that’s just the lead
Send More Paramedics are a ‘zombie-core’ band from
Leeds, taking their name from that part in Return of the Living Dead when
zombies are raiding an ambulance for a snack and one rasps into the
ambulance walkie-talke ‘send more paramedics..they taste delicious.’ The
band themselves are ex-med students pretending to be zombies, playing
delicious brain-rotting crossover thrash songs about cannibalism and
flesh-eating viruses. They get the crowd riled up (like a good support band
should) with ‘Zombie Crew’. By the end of the set, the crowd is chanting
‘BRAINS! BRAINS! BRAINS!’ with the lead singer.
Like any sugar rush, Deadline are good in small doses.
With catchy pop-punk-rock songs and Liz Rose’s high, clear voice (rather
than the fag-gravelled tones of most female-fronted punk rock groups)
they’re not a bad band. But fucking hell, after an hour-long set of
saccharine sweet tunes it gets really, really annoying.
Finally Tiger Army take the stage armed with new album
Tiger Army III: Ghost Tigers Rise, material from their new album (set to be
released this summer) and good ole tunes. This is a band who has survived
one member getting shot in the head four times, endless lineup changes (they
now have Nekromantix drummer James Meza as a permanent member), and endless
touring to reach the psychobilly legend status they now hold. Having toured
the UK with Morrissey, they’re back and kicking with their first UK
headlining tour ‘Return From Beyond’. Punk-spirited with a dark edge and an
impossibly fast double bassline, the Academy seems too small for the
threesome, not too big. They end the show with an encore of favourites
‘Annabel Lee’ and ‘Forever Fades Away’ leaving a happy, sweaty crowd full of
quiffs, boots and braces all thinking: TIGER ARMY NEVER DIE. Amen.
Click on thumbnails opposite to open full size image.
All images by Willa C
Manchester's Academy 2 was packed out for The Maccabees gig on Sunday 6th
May, in-fact you could say it was too crowded. It seems the support for this
band has grown immensely since the venue was booked, because of recent media
hype at the release of their debut album. They may have been better
performing at the Apollo, which they surely would have been able to fill.
Dereck Meins was the first support act, because Jack Penate had been
unable to make it, and as he arrived onstage many of the fans appeared
slightly confused. Once he launched into his set there were more looks of
bewilderment as this Scottish man started singing about oceans made out of
gin in a Caribbean accent. His music was highly entertaining and he has no
inhibitions whilst performing. He seemed to be like musical marmite and you
will either love him or hate him, but I think he's worth keeping an eye out
for and definitely better live because of the added value of his
The second support was three-piece London-band Fear of Flying, they were
a complete change of mood as they bashed out some great anthems and they
clearly had a decent support within the crowd.
Finally the Maccabees appeared on stage to the sound of 'The Boys Are
Back in Town' kicking off their one hour set with title-track from the debut
album Colour It In and then moving onto Latchmere; many people's favourite
this is a song about the boys' local swimming pool. They stormed through
most of the album as well as doing various b-sides. Crowd favourites were
Precious Time, Lego and About Your Dress which brought lots of crazed indie-pop
bopping and crowd-surfing within the audience. Then there were quieter
moments, with songs like Toothpaste kisses, which enabled you to realise
that they are musically a very good band and they produce a good quality of
sound live. The encore was brought to a close by 10.30 with popular single
First Love, and then the room was vacated by sweaty fans still buzzing with
Overall the new album is a great success for The Maccabees and they give
strong live performances, so 2007 could well be their year.
April - Southampton Joiners
‘An in your face, heart on their sleeve rock band
playing at a tiny venue where such musical greats (oasis, funeral for a
friend, coldyplay) posters are on the wall from when they played at the
joiners arms.’ Barely thirty people where at the gig but there was still a
great atmosphere and a really great vibe was going around the joiners arms.
I would be very surprised if you haven’t heard of Zico Chain as I had even
heard big things about them, apparently they had a brilliant 2006 tour which
resulted in them playing one of the best sets at last years download
according to a lot of different reviews. This view was enhanced with a quick
flick to their myspace page. Paul the guitarist was just chilling with a
group of girls that looked star struck. Now that’s being big!
The audience seemed very conscious that there were only
a hand full of people at the gig so most of the audience stood back, well
everyone except those 15 year old girls at the front that will obviously be
getting picked up by there mummy after the gig. Being a rock band this
didn’t hinder Zico chains plans to show the audience a great time with a lot
of head banging and the audience were not disappointed. Zico chain were here
to prove that they can emulate there success of 2006 with an even better
tour and an even greater performance at this years download. After there
first couple of songs one member of the band shouted to the crowd come and
join us right at the front, ‘We want to be able to smell you!’ Not only was
this a little surprising but the next comment was about as random as they
come, ‘this song is about paedophiles and when you get touched as a kid’.
The crowd silenced a little and started to edge a little further back but
Zico chain in true rock style managed to sway the audience back in their
favour as by the end of the song all of the audience where within touching
distance of Paul, Chris and Ollie. Looking back at their set now I cant
think of one song that didn’t deserve to be on the set list as every song
from food to anaemia where all performed at a very high standard.
At a very intimate gig at joiners in Southampton three
bright hopeful young bands played in front of 200 people, this may not seem
like a lot but when the crowd are inches from the stage and a mistake by the
band can ruin a whole song and confidence, this brings a lot of pressure on
the support acts as this would be classed as a big crowd to them.
The first band on where the Waysters, a very
enthusiastic young band from the south coast, I found it very hard to
believe that this young band are still at school. If you took away the voice
of the Waysters lead singer for just a moment and you would think that you
were listening to Bloc Party. The Waysters have huge potential, with a bit
more experience they could and should become a quality band.
The Rebs were the other support band, another local
band but unfortunately they lacked something that the Waysters had. I am not
saying that the Rebs weren’t good as they were they had bags of enthusiasm,
they were vocally very good and their all round music playing ability was
excellent from bass to the keys. With a bit of luck and a few more live
shows they could be a very good band.
Five O’clock Heroes came on a lot later than expected
due to Nader disappearing just before were supposed to come onstage. After
two relatively unknown bands played out of their skins it would be up to the
lads from Five O’clock Heroes to show the crowd that they were the reason
the fans came to the gig. They really can’t be upstaged by these bands and
they didn’t. Five O’clock Heroes played a really good set. Playing new
single 'Skin Deep' as well as most of the songs of their new album 'Bend to
the Breaks'. Unfortunately as they came on late they only played 35 minutes
due to the curfew at the venue and this was the only point in the night
where the fans looked disappointed which was a real shame; but it didn’t
dampen the great mood. It was a great gig from three young awesome bands
with bags of potential, look out for all three bands when they next visit
As we entered the Wolverhampton Civic, what struck me
most was how perfectly the venue was suited to the music we were about to
hear. I, for one, was looking forward to hearing Rice live for the first
time in a while. Having passed on his ill-advised arena tour of the most
unsuitable venues in the land it was good to catch him in a venue where I'd
actually be able to hear the subtler parts of his playing. For those who
haven't been, the Civic is essentially a school hall. Granted, there's a bar
and a balcony and you're less worried about people tripping you in the
corridors, but other than that I could've been back in my primary school.
However shitty this sounds, it's not. It's perfect.
Unsure of what to expect from the support act (at a previous gig, I'd been
forced to sit through what seemed to be a decade of interpretive dance) I
was pleasantly surprised to see Fionn Regan gracing the stage. I hadn't seen
it coming but it certainly made sense, Regan being the first act to be
signed to Rice's own label, Heffa. Playing a great set and receiving a warm
reception from the crowd Regan's hugely Dylan-influenced sound was a
pleasure to listen to, and had Damien Rice failed to deliver the goods, the
evening would have been by no means wasted.
Fortunately, Rice did deliver – and how. It was a great shame that Lisa
Hannigan was nowhere to be seen but the other members of the band were all
in attendance and on top form. Opening with a distortion-laden version of
Me, My Yoke & I from the new album the band played through a large portion
of both 9 and O. Surprisingly, Rootless Tree (the second single from the new
album) didn't get an airing but this can be forgiven due to some amazing
renditions of Rice's other material. Many of the songs from the first album
are still being played, but what's interesting is just how different they've
become from the recorded versions. Volcano is played, for the most part,
with the addition of a wah pedal and loop station, I Remember has become
nothing short of epic (both in terms of length and the sheer dynamics the
band give to it) and Cannonball is played at a much faster tempo, sounding a
lot more like the single version that Damien publicly denounced than its
album counterpart. While old material is getting a new coat of paint, Rice's
new efforts are all sounding fantastic. Standout moments were Elephant, a
sing-a-long inspiring Coconut Skins and a solo performance of Accidental
Babies. Damien Rice is essentially a live act and this gig did not
disappoint. If the opportunity comes to see him in anything smaller than an
arena, just take it.
Me, My Yoke & I
Woman Like A Man
Sleep Don't Weep
The Blower's Daughter
‘Have you ever had one of those days when you know you
have a gig to go to but all you want to do is chill out in the background
with a ice cold pint?’ April 12th was exactly that type of day for me,
luckily Joan as Policewoman was a really relaxing gig at a great venue.
I decided to do a little background research on both
bands, as I hadn’t really heard anything other than the usual hype that
comes from a popular New York singer. From what I had heard online I was
looking forward to my venture to north London. To my surprise the gig sold
out within a few days of going on sale, apparently Joan as Policewoman have
a very big UK following.
The support band Peggy Sue and The Pirates seemed
relatively unknown to the crowd but they still but on a very good show. The
music they were playing was very unique and definitely completely different
to what I usually listen to.
After what seemed like an eternity of wait for one
thousand Joan as Policewoman fans, she walked on stage sucking on a throat
lozenge and a coffee cup that probably had a nice glass of lemsip in it
judging by the way Joan kept coughing. After a very strange icebreaker that
included Joan breathing heavily in a sexual way, she played her first song
and the crowd really lifted. From where I was standing you could see the
whole crowd miming every word but you couldn’t hear a whisper over Joan’s
really soft and a little bit croaky voice.
Joan as Policewoman’s set seemed to really cheer up the
audience on a very muggy night. She played a few new songs and explained a
little bit about the background of most of her songs in between her heavy
breathing between songs. The gig was really good and I know there wouldn’t
have been many people in the audience that didn’t go home with a very happy
smile on their faces. I personally think that Joan, Rainy, and Ben sound a
lot better live than they do on their studio recorded songs on their MySpace.
Joan has just added a few more dates in the summer but they will sell very
fast so get them quick. If you like artists such as Regina Spector you will
love Joan and her band.
It was with only 2 days to go before I was due to go to
this ‘gig’ that my rusty old brain finally clicked that this was not just a
gig, but a club night that went on till 6.00am. It had been a while – could
my aging limbs hack it? Would my bootylicious dance moves still wow them on
the dancefloor? There was only one way to find out…
Fabric is a cavernous building, enabling you to wander
round endlessly, seemingly without finding the same place twice. A groovy
venue with 3 rooms, but I was focused on only one. First up were Plastic
Little, with their blend of rap, 2 step and pop (they sang a bit of ‘Heaven
Knows I’m Miserable Now’ by the Smiths and sampled both ‘Close To Me’ by the
Cure and ‘Young Folks’ by Peter, Bjorn & John to great effect). The two MCs
from Philadelphia had stage presence to spare, getting everyone up and at
‘em, and bantering away, singing ‘I’m A Little Teapot’ and actually looking
like they were having fun and it was contagious. Which was lucky as the
downside to their act quickly became apparent. When the height of an act’s
lyrical sophistication is ‘I Want To Fuck You In The Mouth’ you know you’re
not dealing with master wordsmiths. Their vocal stylings were great, shame
the words coming out weren’t. They reminded me of lyrics that I may have
found daring and taboo if I’d heard them when I was 10, but now it just
seemed lazy and crap and let down an otherwise great performance. Maybe it
was all ironic and I didn’t get it – who knows? All I do know is that I
dread to think the effect the highly sexual lyrics were having on the girl
who could barely stand up behind me, who was kindly ‘helped’ by a gentleman
she’d just met. I presume his hands were holding her breasts to secure her.
Spotting her with different guys throughout the night, before the bouncers
threw her out, was a fine game to fill the time between Plastic Little and
the main act.
By 3.00am the live room had thinned out, but as soon as
the Scratch Perverts took to the stage, a stampede began, crushing all in
its path. As the mighty turntablists and their MC took to the stage, the
crowd went wild. Unfortunately my position near the back (there was no way I
was getting any further forward – people were fighting for their space.
Maybe I should have said ‘Excuse me, I’m a reviewer for Tasty’ but I don’t
think even that hallowed position would have helped) meant I didn’t get to
see the mixing and scratching in all its glory, but the effect was easy to
see. It even energised my ancient limbs and I was able to make it to the end
of their set with bounce to spare.
So, aside from some naughty cussing (what would their
mothers say?), the night was a good ‘un and it resulted in my girlfriend and
I vowing to go clubbing more often. When we’re not too busy doing our
knitting and jigsaws obviously.
A good varied line up here for a under a fiver in a ramshackle but rather
lovely venue. First up are the ubertwees The Seven Inches. They tick all the
right twee boxes to moisten the muffins of some whilst boiling the piss of
others but anyone who can fail to be charmed by this lovely lot is missing
out. Song titles like I Wanna Be The Second Coolest Person In The Room
(After You) and wonderfully silly dancing proliferate their set, as well as
count-ins to songs based on the ingredients for hummus. Lucy the drummer’s
silly drumming faces are worth the entry fee alone. Any indiepoppers into
the Bearsuit end of things should shell out if The Seven Inches are in your
The Manhattan Love Suicides appear to have a massive fixation both sonically
and sartorially with MyBloodyVelvetJesus type bands. The quite fantastic
guitars will win them fans, but they seem to only have a couple of okay
songs, the worst being dragged into awfulness by some rubbishy vocals.
Ultimately this kind of thing is best taken in context, and would probably
go down better if not surrounded by its relative antithesis. The relative
coldness of the crowd towards them speaks volumes.
The Chemistry Experiment do a short set due to extended technical
difficulties. Starting up with some kind of Russian drinking song
instrumental (think Zorba The Greek, but Russian). They finish strongly with
new live favourite Leo & Magician and the epic slowie Worms before making
way for The Butterflies Of Love. I’ve never really got into The Butterflies
on record, but when they’re on form live they’re a joy to behold. And
tonight is one of those nights. The new record is an improvement on their
patchy second, and newie In A Blizzard, In A Lighthouse and album opener and
standout Take Action highlight their strengths. At their best live they
recall elements of Crazy Horse and the soulful elements of Comet Gain,
something I could rarely say about them on record. Sometime moody joint
frontman Jeff Greene is smiling and chatty tonight, necking an entire beer
during their old Peel favourite Rob A Bank. A wonderful, ramshackle, drunken
As The Attik goes out of operation, it’s certainly good news for fans of
Pickled Egg Records that The Basement has ceased to be solely a funk/soul
host. It is scuzzy enough and the sound is largely spot on tonight, and with
a line up to die for the atmosphere is excitable to say the least. Locals
Dragon Or Emperor are first up, riding high on the back of their excellent
self-titled debut. Usual drummer Aaron is sadly absent tonight – the
interplay between him and singer/bassist Stewart is normally a contributory
factor to the enjoyment of the DoE live experience – but Euan of fellow
Leicester lads Fabulous Foxes makes an able replacement. They rock in their
usual skronked Pere Ubu manner, but aren’t quite as fierce or precise as
usual. Solid rather than spectacular.
Leeds trio Quack Quack start as they mean to go on. Manic keysman Moz jumps
around like a hyperactive toddler and their infectious melding of Tortoise,
library copshow funk and sheer raucous joyfulness wins the crowd pretty much
instantly. A crowd that merges with band on a couple of occasions, on one
occasion an audience member being invited up to do keyboard duties whilst
Moz tends to the second drumkit. Superb.
Fulborn Teversham offer up less mayhem, and for me at least, suffer at
following a riproaring performance from Quack Quack. From what I did catch
of them they seemed a complimentary aside before Pit Er Pat, but remain a
band I need to hear more before I could give them a fair crack. At the very
least though they set the crowd up for the fine Pit Er Pat. In many ways
this Chicago trio have suffered from fitting perhaps too snugly into the
Thrill Jockey archetype. Latest album Pyramids seemingly came and went
without much fanfare in comparison to 2005’s excellent Shakey although I
don’t think there’s a huge amount between the two. Singer Fay Davis-Jeffers
plays in near darkness as her voice and keyboard melodies wrangle out over
the tight and dense rhythm section. Everything works together, and half the
gig I seemed to spend trying to work out how things were fitting together;
there’s a lot of interplay going on here and for such a simple sounding band
on the surface, seeing Pit Er Pat live is an engaging experience on many
levels. They play a long set, and I have to leave during their encore to
catch the late train home, knackered but euphoric after a rare chance to see
three wonderful bands in my home town. Keep it up Leicester/Pickled Egg,
your city needs you.
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This Et Al
6.4.07 - The Cockpit, Leeds
Picture the scene of devastation - it's 9pm and most of the punters have
already been locked into the bowels of the Cockpit for several hours
enjoying the likes of Sky Larkin and Grammatics. That's right - it's pretty
messy - like a Sunday afternoon at Glastonbury. But there's one constant
buzz going around the place - 'so This Et Al are headlining? Not Black Wire?
Surely Black Wire would be the better bet?'.
Well I defy anyone who made it through the the main stage and saw This Et
Al's set to ever doubt them again. I'd been a bit critical in the past in
finding their complex, layered sound a bit prone to unravelling when played
live and end up as a sea of noise. Not so tonight as the sound is spot on
and the impressive tracks from 'Baby Machine' are given a full airing. 'Can
You Speak Eurpoean' bursts out the PA in a hail of slashing guitars and
choppy vocals and 'The Loveliest Alarm' sounds massive and complete with its
beautiful double drum outro shimmering through the sweaty Cockpit air.
At the end of the day Black Wire are good but they just sound a bit
lightweight next to This Et Al who have songs of substance, lyrics of
meaning and are a band who have come of age live and have taken full control
of the stage and what's left of the minds of the audience after 6 hours of
bank holiday gigging.
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It’s a bloody cold, rainy Sunday night and
unfortunately at first the Borderline is almost empty, save for a handful of
Swedes. Which sucks, because Secondsmile are really really good. Spacey,
soul-searching music that even keeps the screaming down low, their songs
from their debut ‘Walk Into The Light And Reach For The Sky’ lulling you
into a false sense of security that this will be a quiet Sunday night.
Johnny Panic are smacked in the middle of the bill,
charged with waking the crowd up. No thanks, I’ll take a coffee instead. I
do exactly this, and by the time I’ve ducked back in to catch the end of the
set the room is packed with gleaming pre-teeners and their parents. Johnny
Panic are all about the snarling and Northern accents, but in the end
they’re shitty, watered down punk for people who probably find the undiluted
type a little too rough on the ears.
As soon as the set ends, the room empties out until
it’s just the Scandinavians, some drunks, a few excited SLV fans, and me.
While waiting, there are some great things over at the merch table. The
phrase ‘..because they’re Swedish’ is repeated a lot tonight. Such as the
postcards advertising Sounds Like Violence’s new album “With Blood On My
Hands”, that have a quote from a famous alternative London music magazine
that reads: ‘Soul-crushingly magnificent. SLV sound like pain, searing
Go on, you’re thinking that 3-letter-curse-word right?
Okay, I’ll say it..emo..and indeed Sounds Like Violence might be the last
great emo band left out there. Their debut E.P ‘The Pistol’ came out back
when it was an underground scene revolving around sweater-vests and
black-square-rimmed specs, and even though they disappeared for a while
they’re back with a new album to show that they’re the survivors of scene
with a sell-by date.
So keep this in mind when they finally take the stage
in colour-coordinated silk shirts and tight trousers (‘..because they’re
Swedish’), because when angelic, Aryan frontman Andreas Soderlund opens his
mouth it really is the sound of..pain. It could be the tight white trousers
(a bulge can be scarily seen halfway down his left-thigh..), or the fact
that he can’t speak much English, or that his voice cracks on all those high
notes- whatever your excuse, there’s no denying what it does sound like:
pure, unashamed heartbreak. Now put this over a heavy bass line and jumping
guitar riffs that turn into dance tunes like ‘Glad I’m Losing You’, or a
slow, wistful song like ‘The Greatest’ and you have a great show. Mixed in
with old favourites like ‘Heart Attacks’ (lyrics like ‘you give me heart
attacks! stabbing knives in my back’ can be given because, you guessed it,
they’re Swedish) and ‘Perfect’, by the end of the show all those
hangers-back creep in from the shadows to show the room was practically full