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gig reviews - april/may 07


 
 

Manic Street Preachers
21.5.07 - Wolverhampton Civic Centre 

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. 

Chris Stanley

 
 

Willy Mason
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.

Catriona Boyle

 


 

Tiger Army + Send More Paramedics + Deadline
4.5.07 - Islington Academy, London 

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 singer.

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.

Willa C

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The Maccabees + Fear of Flying + Dereck Meins
6.5.07 - Academy 2, Manchester

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 performance.

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 excitement.

Overall the new album is a great success for The Maccabees and they give strong live performances, so 2007 could well be their year.

Claire Drury

 
 

Zico Chain
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.

Lewis Carter

 
 

Five O'clock Heroes +The Rebs and The Waysters
18.3.07 - Southampton Joiners 

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 your town. 

Lewis Carter

 
 

Damien Rice + Fionn Regan
29.3.07 - Wolverhampton Civic Hall

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.

Setlist:
Me, My Yoke & I
Woman Like A Man
Grey Room
Cannonball
Volcano
I Remember
9 Crimes
Elephant
Coconut Skins
Sleep Don't Weep
Cold Water

The Professor
The Blower's Daughter
Accidental Babies

Tom Morris

 
 

Joan As Policewoman + Peggy Sue and the Pirates
12.4.07 - The Scala, London 

‘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.
http://www.myspace.com/joanaspolicewoman
http://www.joanaspolicewoman.com 

Lewis Carter

 
 

Scratch Perverts + Plastic Little
13.4.07 - Fabric, London

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.

Matt Latham

 
 

The Butterflies Of Love + The Chemistry Experiment + The Manhattan Love Suicides + The Seven Inches
4.4.07 - The Packhorse, Leeds

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 town.

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 night.

Craig Wood

 
 

Pit Er Pat + Fulborn Teversham + Quack Quack + Dragon Or Emperor
29.3.07 - The Basement Bar, Leicester

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.

Craig Wood

 

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Photos: www.cameracandid.co.uk

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.
www.thisetal.com

SB

 

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Sounds Like Violence
11.3.07 - The Borderline, London 

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 pain!’

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 all along.

Willa C