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gig reviews - sep/oct 07


 
 

Patrick Wolf + Lightspeed Champion
23.11.07 - Bristol Trinity 

Glowing within the pick’n’mix of kebab shops, off licenses and traffic lights, Trinity Arts Centre loomed over Bristol,  Stirring within it’s church-like disguise hummed a crowd of boys and girls glittering with sequins, feathers and all things Patrick Wolf.  

Setting out on a solo tour, Patrick Wolf South London’s definitive troubadour lands in Bristol- grand piano, ukulele and doll’s house in hand. 

As the mood bustled amongst the surroundings of a low-scale opera, supporter Lightspeed Champion mounted the backdrop. Formerly the brains behind short lived genre-mashers Test Icicles, Dev Hynez performed an entirely different outfit bridging between Bright Eyes and Jeffrey Lewis. Future-favourites “Midnight Surprise” and “Galaxy of the Lost” made up the set which also included covers of versioned strokes classic “Heart in a Cage” and a homage to Liverpool’s latest singer/songwriter Eugene McGuinness. Ever personal, Lightspeed Champion captured the folk soul in all glitterati, drunken 50+ and general odd balls of the South-West gathered.  

Adorning the stage to a soundtrack of screaming girls who want to be with him and screaming boys that want to be him (maybe vice versa?), Patrick Wolf and the additional violinist struck a set of heartbreak, love and glimpses of future gems. The avant-garde electro-folk now relative to Wolf twisted into shadows of songs echoed back by crowd members old and young.  

Progressing through a set, switching from violin, to grand piano, to ukulele, to half-broken guitar South London’s glittering songster rode through track after track- each met with emotion. The limiter of a labelled acoustic/ solo tour acted as no boundary with even sex-fuelled Tristan growling through the softer tones of earlier songs. 

Summoned back for an encore smothered in gold paint armed with vodka , Wolf (now joined by Lightspeed Champion) finished with modern classics “Magic Position” and “Accident and Emergency” each the ever more enchanting down to his intoxicated swagger. The grand finale constructed out of a warped karaoke rendition of a Spice Girls Medley you’ll ever here, weird but wonderful. 

And as the last deep tones of Patrick Wolf snarled through the foundations of Trinity, Friday night was up, Fare-well Wolf-boy.

Erin Kubicki

 
 

Sons and Daughters - London
21.11.07 - Islington Academy, London

It's been a while since I last saw Sons and Daughters back at King's College in London. Then, they were promoting last album The Repulsion Box and were a real breath of fresh air - they had a sound which was quite traditionally Scottish whilst at the same time being resolutely raucous and rocky. I hadn't heard or seen anything like them before, and I distinctly remember being impressed by Scott Paterson's rockabilly/Smiths sense of style and Adele and Ailidh's glam outfits. Nothing much has changed since then - they seem to have stuck to pretty much the same formula and a lot of their new tracks cover the same stomping, country rock ground. Old faves Dance Me In and Red Receiver soon got the crowd jigging and swaying about, and new single Gilt Complex went down particularly well too. They may never be at the height of fashion or indeed massively commercial, but Sons and Daughters will always have a hardcore of fans who will stay faithful to them. And so whilst they may not be re-inventing the wheel with their new album, they don't really need to. As long as they're putting on such rip-roaring, energetic performances, they'll always have fans in every town.

Nat Davies

 
 

SWN Festival
9-11.11.07 - Cardiff 

Let me introduce to you a must for any avid festival goer and music lover. Yet another festival on an already crowded calendar you may think, but the SWN festival stands head and shoulders above many other festivals. And it’s cheap too.

The SWN festival (pronounced soooon, and the Welsh word for ‘sound’) is a new festival, this year being the first and hopefully not the last. Hosted over three days in and around Cardiff in various venues, the festival took place to bring together a range of brilliant artists championed by Huw Stephen’s on his Radio 1 ‘introducing’ show. The festival acted also as a platform for some of the best new and exciting welsh artists around, such as Cate Le Bon, Truckers of Husk, Jakakoyak, Mr Huw, Radio Luxembourg and many, many more.

The SWN festival is different to many other festivals such as Reading and Leeds which crowd the festival season today. For one it only costs £38 which is an incredibly reasonable price, and is constructed entirely around showcasing some of the best Welsh, British and international musicians, artists and film makers. The whole weekend involved art, cinema and music. Some 124+ bands played the festival over all, a huge platter of tasty artists to indulge in. The worst part of the whole festival was deciding who to go and see and how to get to each. Festivals always have clashes, SWN, more than many. A free mini bus ferried wristband holders round the different venues which included Chapter Art Centre, Clwb Ifor Bach, Tommy’s Bar, Buffalo Bar, Callaghans, The Point, The Glow Bar and many, more vibrant and original venues which make Cardiff the perfect place for this great new festival, organised by one of Britain’s best purveyors of new and exciting music.

The biggest act for me and many others was undoubtedly Beirut, at The Point on Friday night, who brought the house down which some beautifully sharp horns which cut through the evening air. Zach Condon’s music was inspired and filled the room with Joy. Pony Up also played Friday night, as well as The Cribs and Victorian English Gentleman’s Club. Saturday was the most packed day of the weekend, exhausting but equally exciting. There was a great range of artists to see, many of whom people had not heard of before. This was the whole ethos of the festival, bringing new music to the ears of new listeners. I urge anyone who was at first tentative through a lack of familiar names, to come back next year and indulge in some brilliant new music. The biggest smiles of the festival could be found at Gideon Conn’s gig at the Buffalo Bar. He lit up the room with his enchanting stage performance, and scat rap, acoustic songs. Sam Isaac and Radio Luxembourg also impressed. Other brilliant artists included Hush The Many, Das Wanderlust, Hot Puppies, Andy Votel, Gernod Droog, Youthmovies, Emmy The Great, The School and far too many other artists to describe in indulgent detail. I’ve tried not to bore you with the boring spiel of who was hot and who was not but to give a sense of the celebratory and discovery attitude of the festival and the organisers. Without a doubt a brilliant experience and I hope so much that the people who worked so tirelessly to get this festival up and running will get it going again next year.

Gareth Ludkin

 
 

Robyn
3.11.07 – Scala, London 

First of all, commiserations and ‘nuff respect must go to fellow Tasty scribe Mr Matt Latham who succumbed to a nasty bout of throat pox and very kindly passed the reviewing baton to yours truly. I owe him a pint and a bumper bottle of cough syrup at the very least, although still can’t help but wonder if a quick blast of Robyn’s feel-good electro-pop and vibrant stage presence wouldn’t jolted him back on his feet. You see, what the diminutive Swedish pixie lacks in size she makes up for in sheer energy, enthusiasm and exuberance. True, she thanks tonight’s audience for securing her bigger venues on each subsequent visit to Blighty (oh yeah, she’s humble too) but I very much doubt she’ll be playing anywhere as pokey as The Scala next time. Quite frankly, her personality’s too damn big. 

Evidently a seasoned pro, Robyn’s well aware that it pays to give the audience what they want, and tonight it’s all about the hits – “Be Mine” (which she manages to plug as her next single without it sounding contrived), “Handle Me”, “Heartbeat”, and even an abbreviated version of “Show Me Love” from her days as an R ‘n’ B hopeful. There are none of those slushy ballads that ruined the second half of her recent self-titled LP, and her stage set-up is trim to say the least: two drummers (one of whom doubles up on guitar) and a laptop/keyboard guru crouched down stage-left. Ok, so I’m slightly disappointed that Robyn herself doesn’t come out dressed as a bee, a kick-boxer or something similarly off-the-wall, but she soon proves all props to be surplus to requirements. I still remember her dancing like an over-wound Duracell Bunny at the climax of “Cobrastyle”…and that was only the first song! 

Yes, she’s got all the moves down and keeps the crowd wrapped round her finger for the entire show, somehow pulling off that tricky balancing act of being larger-than-life yet completely accessible at the same time. A second encore, during which she redelivers a couple of tunes with just her guitar-playing sidekick, was probably overdoing it and by that point I’ve migrated to the VIP bar for free drinks (a Tasty first!). Shame the bar tab was retracted before I’d even managed to neck my first beverage…and where, come to think of it, is the most important person of all? Why…helping her road crew pack away all the gear, that’s where. See…I told you she was humble.

Will Columbine

 
 

Sons and Daughters
8.11.07 - Southampton Joiners 

I don’t want to mention it. I really don’t. But I can’t not. It’s too uncanny. Sons and  Daughters lead singer Adele Bethel really does look like a much much much thinner version of Beth Ditto. And it seems Beth Ditto would actually be pretty alright looking if she wasn’t the size of five grown men. Anyway, (semi) insulting observations aside, Sons and Daughters are one well turned out band, and Adele’s and Ailidh’s stage costumes are a seven year old girl’s dream- sequins, tutus and taffeta are involved.  

As always, Sons and Daughters pull a hum- dinger, thigh- slapper, rip-roarer  of a show out of the bag in, as Adele puts it, a ‘sauna/library’. Ironically though this is one of Joiner’s louder audience’s, and the cold winter air means it’s more airing cupboard and sauna. But as we know, they do things differently in Scotland.

The show features a mixture of old and new, with the new stuff sounding sharper, dirtier, and more dynamic than ever. Their hybrid band of old-school American country with a poker up it’s ass crossed with tight guitars, complex bass and those wonderful Scottish accents guarantees every song with grab you by the throat and give you a good shaking.  

Sons and Daughters also have that incredible ‘band intuition’ that means they can all start a song in time, at the right pitch, with just one guitar chord from Scott, or one hit of the drums from David. Clever stuff. 

New single ‘Gilt Complex’ has got a curious ‘Jewish’ sound about it, and deserves to be huge.  

A perfect display of what a ‘proper’ band can achieve when they set their mind to it.

Catriona Boyle

 
 

Vincent Vincent and the Villains
28.10.07 - Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff 

Before you could say ‘greased lightning’ to slicked back hair and rockabilly guitars, Vincent Vincent and the Villains swaggered onto the stage: ‘We’re not starting until everyone’s standing and I’m not joking. I want to see more faces. I want to see who’s dancing and who’s swearing at me’; and the disco ball light filled the room and the audience stood tall. There was evident relief to be the at hands of the Villains and not their support, Winterkids, who got little appreciation from the audience

They begin bitterly. Relaying their band’s history in the introduction to Johnny Two Bands, they vocalise the exit of previous frontman, Charlie Waller, due to his involvement in a second band. This song is quickly, and appropriately, followed by the song, Jealousy and Bitterness. They’re a ropey-looking crew of likely lads who, rather surprisingly, belt out sweet rockabilly harmonies, which are set off by the founder of the band, Vincent’s, raspy cries, telling us to: ‘Feel free to go wild; in fact, go wild!’ 

Vincent has an old-fashioned rock stance, belonging perhaps to Mick Jones if he was the front-man instead of Strummer or to Pete Doherty if he had been inclined to follow Buddy Holly’s footsteps. With his genuine gravelly voice, he represents everything that indie has lost us: singers who sing with energy and not whimpers. The audience didn’t know what to make of this extrovert character who had not only turned the spotlight on them but had sprung-forth into the crowd, sporting his matador jacket, and springing around with his guitar. They played a short, tight set with definite highlights Telephone and Cinema, which really soared. There was little talking in between the songs; instead, Vincent only spoke to accuse the audience of not dancing and saved his voice for his performance.

Vincent finished holding his guitar in the air, which signalled the band to disappear into the crowd as quickly as the polite cheers and claps died down. There wasn’t an encore. Still, it kept your appetite whet. Vincent had wanted dancing and instead got an attentive audience who would rather keep their coats on than get their jive on. So he couldn’t move their feet to more than a side-step, but who said that rock ‘n’ roll was dead? It certainly wasn’t in a small upstairs room down a side alley in Cardiff on a rainy Sunday evening. It wasn’t a mere fifties imitation, it was gritty and edgy rock with a fifties twist. All in all, it was clear that more bands should use disco balls and have rockabilly guitars. But, then, they would need Vincent too.  

Jenny Williams

 
 

Shy Child
28.10.07 - Leeds Cockpit 

Starting off with the supporting acts, I really don’t understand why the thousands of artists producing new music every day keep coming up with the same thing? Then the popular radio shows pick up on these poor lost souls two months later and blast out infernal indie-pop that sounds the same as the last. This small rant sums up first band, The Chiara L’s. With the worst stage presence I have ever experienced, they may have well been playing on a radio station (radio four) with the speakers on mute. With fairly unexciting melodies and regular rhythm beats, there is nothing that defines this band against any other local band. The solid intros were yet to be followed up by even more mediocre guitar riffs, uninventive lyrics and a spotty teenage band feel, leaving them only with a soundtrack fit for a 1980’s television cartoon

It does get marginally better, with the next supporting band, ironically named “We Smoke Fags”. Whether this is true or not no-one really knows, or cares, but they managed to move a solemn crowd after the first act; an impressive move. The pounding rhythm and bass during the intros brought potential to this London group, yet they were once again let down by the vocals and lyrics. Still managing to produce a likeable sound was promising, though, and this band did not disappoint.

Shy Child, the US electro/indie/dance/pop duet produced one of the strangest and rhythmically brilliant gigs I have been to. Firstly, a massive applause for the rhythm half of the band, whose drum initiative and beats made up the stronger half of the music. The mix of freestyle and simple groove drumming made this sparkling to listen to, as well as watch. However, I remain unconvinced of the electro half of the music which seems weaker in comparison, not quite matching the standard to what you may expect of the band. The keyboard melodies seem slightly primary school, yet strangely enough, you wouldn’t need anything more in some of the songs and it fits well. Still, the fun atmosphere that Shy Child created is the trademark of most worthy live bands, which they most definitely are.  

Lid

 
 

KT Tunstall + Willy Mason
Leeds University Union 

After last week’s late arrival in Manchester, myself and fellow gig attendee Lilly C were determined to make it to see KT Tunstall and Willie Mason early. Partly, admittedly, stemming from a desire not to miss any of Mr Mason’s set, since he was the designated support act. 

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a smiling doorman. A rarity. Especially in West Yorkshire. Surely he was up to something. Did he know something we didn’t? Was he about to ruin my night? Er, yes. He asked us why we were here. I replied ‘for the KT Tunstall gig’ and he pointed over at a notice board, where a tacked up A4 sheet announced that the gig had been re-scheduled for… last Wednesday.  There was a few other people gathered around, all decidedly pissed off at this unexpected news. Some of them had driven up from Sheffield, not happy. 

The notice announced apologetically that they had tried to contact gig goers by e-mail to let them know, and in an admission of guilt, pointed out that there was an e-mail address to contact for refunds. 

Who in their right mind would do that? Re-scheduling at ultra short notice, BEFORE the original scheduled date. Absolute crap and a totally wasted evening.

Ian Anderson

 
 

LCD Soundsystem
21.10.2007 – Manchester Academy1 

Manchester, a big, Northern, metropolis, sprawling, enveloping, vast enough to get lost in for well over an hour, confusing enough to have three venues called the Academy, all of which were simultaneously putting on gigs. One of which we were almost admitted to, despite it being in the wrong building, on the wrong floor and for the wrong band. Not a great start, and it was no surprise that we missed the entire set from support act Prinzhorn Dance School, only just making it inside the newly opened (make that half finished) Academy1 in time for LCD Soundsystem taking to the stage. 

Opening with a bold version of Us Vs Them, with the tempo gradually cranking up and James Murphy revealing as soon as the song finished that he was desperate ‘to pee’, but, also desperate to keep to the schedule, meaning that he had taken to the stage without relieving himself. Perhaps mounting pressure on the bladder contributed to a double speed, frenetic version of Daft Punk is Playing In My House and a frantic slice of Time to Get Away, so intense that the drummer broke both sticks. 

And still the relentless pace continued, North American Scum was manically dispatched with the guitarist wielding his instrument high above his head and throwing it down again and again building intense feedback from the bank of monitors.  Then, a shimmering, sublime, edition of All My Friends brought the house down.  Stretching the song out into perhaps a ten minute odyssey, and subtly changing the timing and levels of each instrument whilst maintaining that mesmerising keyboard riff, Murphy and co. had the crowd in the palm of their hand.  Album opener Get Innocuous and stand out track Everybody Makes Mistakes followed with the traditional crowning glory of Yeah rounding things off in a distorted, exhausted epilogue. 

Presumably desperate by now to have that elusive piss, Murphy, and the rest of the band disappeared from view, only to re-emerge minutes later to perform Someone Great and a beautiful version of New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down, to round off an energetic, emotional and gratifying evening.

Ian Anderson

 
 

Maps + Ulrich Schnauss + The Insect Guide
18.10.2007 – Brudnell Social Club, Leeds 

Insect guide kicked things off at a half full Brudenell Social with a bit of over indulgent posh karaoke. I struggled to understand the whole direction of the band. There was a (solitary) drum, and one stick only drumming, but no proper kit and no drummer. There was also a guitar, but no bass, no bass machine, no drum machine, just a laptop.  The laptop sat there playing pre-recorded backing music.  But the output from the laptop was way too complex for one machine to handle, so while the atmospherics were suitably dark and powerful the bass was lost, the drums were muted and it all faded into a disjointed obscurity. As a live proposition, disappointing. 

Ulrich Schnauss also had a laptop, plus an effects box, a keyboard, a large something or other and a stool on wheels to move between all his expensive looking equipment, whilst effortlessly melding various styles of dance music, from Future Sound of London like breaks to Plaid style techno and even some Blame-esque intelligent drum and bass and all the while twiddling knobs with dextrous and fast moving fingers.  Managing to build impressive organic tracks from tiny bleeps into huge sprawling soundscapes, without losing the crowd was some achievement. And as he brought proceedings to a suitably rushing climax the understated gent merely nodded a thank you, and exited stage right, returning briefly, sadly not for an encore, but because he had forgotten his beer.  I’m sure a lot of the crowd would have more than happily bought him another. 

It took a while for the myriad of keyboards to be set up for Maps, but once everything was up and running two things became immediately obvious.  Firstly, the vocals were far too quiet and secondly, the sound engineer was blindly oblivious to it.  That kind of thing really annoys me, but it must have seemed okay in the monitors since the band weren’t complaining. 

Sounding initially like the Mock Turtles with added layers of delicate texture Maps were quite mesmerising to listen to when they hit a real groove. Simplistic harmonies and complex breakbeats had the crowd nodding along and little bits of plaster falling from the ceiling. New single To The Sky came and went without much fuss, as did quite a lot of the mid set, mid tempo selections.  Everything geared up a notch nicely during a rousing finale with the excellent warm synths of Don’t Fear the Song giving way to a slack two-step beat and slick, icy keys.  Final tune When You Leave upped the ante a smidgen further with a reversion back to simplistic 4/4 beats, bringing the spectacle of slightly more vigorous head nodding from the assembled crowd and a short encore.   

Maps didn’t really set my world on fire as a live proposition, but it must be hard to convey such an expansive sound in a small intimate venue, especially a half full one at that.  Still, it was amazing to see a Mercury nominee playing amongst the beer mats and flat caps down my local social club.

Ian Anderson

 
 

Buen Chico + Go Faster + The Old House + Cowtown
18.10.07 - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 

The rabbits have taken over the Brudenell this evening, to celebrate the launch of Buen Chico's debut album: 'Right to Rearrange'. With additional balloons & cake, I'm instantly transported back to six years old, albeit slightly more tipsy than first time round.

But first things first, In their matching sweaters, Leeds' Cowtown look and sound like Devo might have done if they'd been bought up in the vicinity of more charity shops. Jerky and angular to the point where they make any other band who've described themselves as such, sound like liars, songs start and stop then fly off at weird angles so fast your ears barely have had a chance to catch up. Every song's played with so much exuberance and energy that its hard not to be won over by them. And oddly enough, I swear for at least 10 seconds they sound like atthedrivein, too.

I had no idea that Russel, 'the Disaster' had a side-project (should have done my Research obviously...), so its a bit of a surprise to see a trucker-capped minor indie legend take to the stage next. Mixing Pixies twanging with something a little heavier, The Old House are a heady brew & remind us all that there was once a time when 'emo' wasn't a dirty word. Bringing to mind bands like Jawbox or the Get Up Kids, they do a nice line in heavy-ish but melodic songs with 'sensitive guy'/'shouty guy', call and response vocals. In one song they reference both Morrissey and Stephen Malkmus, which is possibly the indie-est thing ever. For 15 minutes Its almost like MyChemicalRomance never happened.

If Liverpool's Gofaster suffer from anything, its being a decent band in amongst a lineup of very good bands. Undeniably tight, on most other nights they'd give anyone a run for their money, but they could do with a few more really memorable songs. Musically, they tread the same 'urchin rock' path as a lot of other bands out there at the moment, and don't really stand out. That said, it might just be me being a curmudgeon. The 'MB Games'-themed artwork on their EP made raised a smile if nothing else.

There's a lot of love for Buen Chico here this evening, and by the time they take to the stage there's a real buzz going around the Brudenell. On record there's a charming scruffiness about their songs but what's really apparent here is that behind it there's actually a very slick, accomplished rock band. Songs are unleashed in a barrage of tuneful noise that inspire a Pavlovian response of demented grins and bad dancing from a defenceless crowd. It'd be easy here to throw in some lazy journalistic bunf ('what, even lazier than you've been so far?' - Readers ) about how they 'make it look easy', with their succession of catchy tune after catchy tune, but they really do. I'd like to think that their song-writing process is a long and arduous one, if only because I'm insanely jealous, but somehow I doubt it. 'Giving your gifts', 'Choosing my religion', 'Great pleasures' -  Fantastic hooks, all.

You get the sense that this lot are on the cusp of something, and they understandably seem a little overwhelmed by it all. The response they get from the assembled masses is practically slavering. Still, they looked like they were enjoying themselves. A quick 'Here comes your boy again' for an encore and they're off into the night. 

Andy Glynn

 
 

Eugene McGuiness
14.10.2007 - The Glee Club Cardiff 14.10.07

The Glee club doesn't fit as an venue for live music, there's something about which doesn't fit. Eugene McGuiness playing solo played a wide range of his songs many of which are not on his debut album. His amazing voice dipped and dived in its characteristic way which as charming and amazing it is struggled at the Glee Club with the mic volume too high his voice became hard to keep up with. His voice though does about 60% of the performance and you are left enchanted trying to listen to how his voices darts all over convention. He makes it interesting and engaging. There was only a small crowd to appreciate his music which was a shame, many stayed away until Tunng played. His performance was mildly disappointing but another venue, another time, another crowd and Eugene would have been amazing. Hopefully I'll catch him when he plays the SWN festival in November in Cardiff. Until then I will continue to listen to his amazing debut 'The Early Learnings Of Eugene McGuiness'.

Gareth Ludkin

 
 

The Go! Team
4.10.07 -  Cardiff University

The Go Team quite simply are the greatest live band! This is no exaggeration. It is cold hard fact that the Go! Team can get any room of people dancing within seconds. The effervescent Ninja is a key cog in this effect. She has been criticised for doing little but turn up and sing a few shabby lyrics. But this could not be further from the truth. She is the lifeblood of the bands live performance, she has the ability to whip the audience into a frenzy of jumping shouting and dancing. Here vibrancy and smooth moves on stage is both captivating and electric. She dances how we all wish we could. She has the moves, the sex appeal and crowd pleasing qualities necessary for any great front woman. Ninja draws the eye expertly, but also your attention is grabbed by the volume and variety of graphics and lights which adorn the stage and help set an amazing party atmosphere alight.

The Go! Team clearly go out there to entertain and they certainly do this. Each song is expertly played with the members of the band flitting between instruments and playing the wide variety of songs and noises. This is where the bands music thrives. Live on stage with a large appreciative audience, with everyone going for it totally in the moment, I know I certainly was. Even one person making the rooky mistaken of bringing beer into the front and spilling it all over me did not damped my spirits. The ecstasy and thrill of the performance was amazing, everyone was there for one thing and one thing only. The Go! Team. The other supports on this ‘NME Freshers’ tour paled into significance. The NME is something I could easily see the Go! Team taking a strong dislike and the band can take heart that not one person was there because it was the NME. The Go! Team drew the crowd and the Go! Team wowed the crowd. Their live performance kept songs alive - like Ladyflash, which have been well worn down since their debut album in 2003 – the song sounded as fresh and brilliant as ever.

The Go! Team having recently released their latest and best album to date ‘Proof of Youth’ played a large majority of the songs off the album, as well as playing some crowd pleasers from ‘Thunder Lightning Strike’. There was not bad song in the set and from those I spoke to after the show no one was left remotely disappointed. The bands music converts so well to a live stage, it’s not just the music which is mind blowing and captivating it is the whole bands performance and showmanship, making songs from their records truly great. With the energy and excitement they display I can only hope they don’t run out of steam anytime soon and keep on playing live and releasing more and more music.

Gareth Ludkin

 
 

The Wombats + The Holloways
21.9.07 – Portsmouth Pyramids 

The campaign starts here. Grab yourself a partner and phone up your local sports hall, because some needs to teach the indie kids how to dance. It’s all very well Franz Ferdinand saying the want to make music for girls to dance to, but only if the girls can actually dance. 

In gig venues up and down the country the catchy riffs and disco inspired beats of many a band are inspiring the kids to get on their dancing shoes. The Wombats/Holloways show is no exception. Gone are the old ‘windmills’ and ‘walls of death’, they’ve been replaced with the fox trot and bizarre interpretive dance involving much flailing and jigging from foot to foot. 

Dirty Dancing aside though, you can’t fault any of the punters or their bands for their energy levels. In hindsight it seems The Holloways have made the right choice having a joint show with The Wombats, or possibly slightly embarrassing because The Wombats really do steal the show. 

With speaking voices that sound uncannily like The Beatle’s in A Hard Day’s Night, the three boys from Liverpool get stuck in straight away and bang out tune after tune for the frenzied crowd. Naturally Kill The Director is the biggest crowd pleaser and so far The Wombats seem unable to top it’s brilliant lyrics (‘I’ve met someone who makes me feel seasick’ has already become the ultimate chat up line in indie circles) and bounce-tastic chorus. Their version of Postman Pat sung in Norwegian is an odd but strangely popular hit too. 

The Holloways stroll on stage with the swagger of a well established band, but sadly their set doesn’t live up to their own confidence. The use of a very worn out and broken violin really adds nothing to the sound… perhaps its time to invest in a new one and use it properly boys? Although there’s nothing really wrong with their set there’s also nothing special about it as the next song sounds more and more like the last. As with The Wombats, the crowd explode during Generator, and another band fall victim to ‘one good song save it ‘til the end syndrome’. It’s a good’un though. 

So I appeal to the indie kids of Great Britain – please pay more attention to where your limbs are flying around. Try some lessons and be the best movers on the dance floor.

Catriona Boyle

 
 

Tilly & the Wall + Supported by Lightspeed Champion + The Teenagers
3.9.07 - The Faversham, Leeds 

I have a problem. I don’t have any money, and yet there are at least 2 albums I know I’m going to buy. (I only say 2 because I don’t know if Tilly & the Wall has an album out yet). 

I saw 3 acts last night and they were all fantastic. Lightspeed Champion makes excellent use of his violin accompaniment in a set of very good songs, he’s a talented guitar player and he sings a song about comic books. I’m there.  

The Teenagers play disco music, and everyone knows that disco sucks. Only the teenagers don’t suck. They’re funny and catchy and they rock. Knowing smiles, used well for the first time in a long time. 

There is nothing to dislike about T&tW, nothing. In general terms, that’s all you need to know. 

This is the third time I’ve them, the first 2 times were both at Leeds festival 2006 and I was completely charmed. Then, it was 2 guys – one playing guitar, the other keyboards – and 3 girls. They didn’t have a drummer, one of the girls tap-danced through all the songs (occasionally being joined by the other two). The songs were already completely crammed with charm, this just iced the cake. 

Tonight there is a drummer, and a second guitar player. Their keyboard player seems to have changed but everything else seems as enthusiastic and sweary-twee as it was the first 2 times. The new additions are there not to bolster their sound, but to reflect the wider sound they want. It’s a shame to not have just tap-dancing as percussion, but it’s still there, it’s still awesome and a year has been a long and productive time. At the very least they’ve got better at what they were doing. Harmonies, dance moves, fun, swearing. The songs are all good and everyone from the stage to the crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves (a silver haired guy in the front was enjoying himself WAY too much). I had a blast watching a band I like progress. I think if they’d have stayed as they were in 2006 they would have become a novelty (and thus eventually cease to be novel) as it is I think I saw about in the process of going from strength to strength.

Christopher Carney