Monday, March 24, 2014

Metronomy, Live at the Institute. 21/3/14

Backed by a big pink and blue psychedelic backdrop that tied in with the cover for 'Love Letters' and playing on light up white keyboards, that replaced the glowing bulb things. Metronomy were one of the most dapper bands i've ever seen on stage. Especially Anna Prior who was wearing a black dress with lipstick. She's easily the most elegantly dressed drummer i've ever seen on stage.
The gig began pretty low key with Joe Mount on keyboards  playing 'The Upsetter'.  And then The funky title track from 'Love Letters' really livened people up. Yet it was the double whammy of 'She Want's and 'The Look' that really got people going. It was strange seeing such an enthusiastic response to such laid back songs, and realising suddenly that i knew every word to both of them.  
'Boy Racers' gave Gbenga a change to show off his bass playing skills. While 'I'm Aquarius' , Call me, and Month of Sundays proved to be other highlights from the new record. 
The only real  disappointments were hearing a lack of the older stuff. I was hoping to hear both 'You could Easily Have Me' and 'Thing for Me'- that and none of them coming out afterwards. 
Metronomy finished with 'The Bay' which was so good that  the crowd were cheering, clapping and stamping their feet to get the band back on. It was one of the most enthusiastic encore demands i've ever seen and Metronomy were back on in minutes. Metronomy are not the most obvious of bands you'd expect to put on an amazing live show.  Yet they've got so many brilliant songs and all they had to do to entertain the friday night crowd was play them.
Joseph mount has proven himself to be a good frontman, swapping between bongos, keyboards and guitar. after a bit of banter about the weekend and how lovely the venue looks he asked the crowd if anyone had an immaculate haircut. I looked at me and my friends and instantly thought no. 'The Most Immaculate Haircut was a bit of an odd choice for a closing song, but it's such a beautiful melodic piece that it was easy to lose yourself in the music and forget that they'd not yet played 'thing for me'. After that Metronomy were gone.  and I can't have been the only one hoping for a second encore. Or the only one singing the songs for the whole of the next day.

Support came from a band called 'Virginia Wing' who I did not like at all. It's not often i'll say that about any music, but i did not get the strange experimental music these guys make at all. I hate to slander but it was too weird it was like 5 minutes before someone sang and even then it was just vowels. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Coal Porters

what better way to spend a St patricks day (after a long day at work) than sitting down by the pool and watching a folk bands play a short free set?The Coal Porters describe themselves as being 'The worlds first Alt-Bluesgrass act' 

This was one of the gigs put on in the centre of the Custard Factory by the record shop Left For Dead, (which is now stocking the bands back catalogue) it was only about 20 minutes long and saw the band playing to a handful of people while standing by the pool, behind a banner reading 'The City is a Work of Art'.The Coal Porters are loads of fun, they've been playing for years and don't take themselves too seriously, They laughed and joked at the people in the office blocks above trying to ignore them and the fact that the few who'd come to see them were spread apart so far. They play authentic bluegrass on violin, guitar, double bass and mandolin. This little gig Included a great little cover of teenage kicks. Musically they're all great players, and even if they aren't irish, they sound irish. Its nice seeing a folk band thats funny, talented and authentic


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Shakatak. Live at the Jam house. 5/4/14

80's Jazz-Funk is not really my thing. My dad has recently re-discovered how much he loves Shakatak. So we went to go see them.
The Jam House is a sophisticated-ish bar/gig venue. you can get a burger but have to be in the restaurant part of the building. there is weirdly unsettling artwork scattered on the walls and, tables seated that little bit too far from the stage. overall not my usual choice of venue.
What i already know about Shakatak is that they're one of the most revered of all the 80's jazz-funk bands (i can't think of any others). They've been going a long time and are still very successful around the world (especially in japan). Whether they've ever been cool is another matter, but with 'Get Lucky' being the massive hit it was, i can imagine that a few hipsters may latch onto Shakatak's funky sound.
Whether you like it or not you cannot deny that this is a talented band. Guitar solo's that would have suited any metal anthem were played nonchalantly, while 'George Anderson's slap bass playing proved to be an unexpectedly entertaining highlight. Especially the Bass solo. Jill Salward is also a great singer and frontwoman. Overall the sound was laid back, funky and the rhythms were great to dance too. They finished with a medley of 80's hits such as 'Oops Upside your head' and obviously played all the 80's hits of their own.
Despite not really being into Shakatak or the style I definitely enjoyed the night. My Dad enjoyed it too.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Twang- NeonTwang review

I've never really liked the Twang. They came out at about the same time I was listening to Fringey-screamy bands and the working class charm didn't really endear me. I just felt they were a bad U2 rip off.
Times change though and i should probably give them some slack, despite Birmingham now producing bands of such caliber of Peace, The Twang still seem to have a loyal following. like their contemporaries - Reverend and the Makers-  The Twang still knock the records out.
From the start it's obvious that the Twang want to move away from the whimsical balladry of earlier releases, the Brummie accents are toned down and a more electronic influence is present. Although this wears off after about three tracks.  The album is mostly made up of enjoyable but pretty straightforward rockers.  However 'The wobble' is a very laid back but actually quite interesting take on dub. While 'Sucker for the Sun' has a bit of a ska vibe to it. In some places the record feels quite eclectic, in others a little bit 'Meh'. Overall 'NeonTwang' is a decent bit of Indie-rock, perfect for a few days in the summer but not bound to change your life.  I'm sure It'll keep the fanbase happy for a year or two.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Beyond B -Town: Vertical Scratchers

Its good to broaden your horizons now and then.
When i bought the rather excellent new album by EAGULLS from Left for Dead I asked if he had any freebies, and i got given 'Daughter of Everything'. An album by a band I'd never heard of before.
Having no idea what  expect other than having vaguely heard of Caribou, one of the members ex bands. I found it to be an unpredictable mish-mash of indie rock. This album contains 15 songs that barely clock in at under 3 minutes, that are all frantically strummed and drummed with in an inch of their lives by the Californian duo, and sung over in a by a voice which sounds like nothing I've heard on record elsewhere.
Each track starts. and stops suddenly. leaving the next song to follow on.
Its the sort of record that will make you (vertically) scratch your head and wonder which track your listening to. One minute mellow, one minute loud.  Its perfect for the summer but at the same time a little more complex than your average Californian lo fi indie rock, as well as more compelling. I've heard it 3 times and i still don't quite know what to make of it.
What I can say is, well done if you've already heard of them. They've gained a bit of a cult status by both being in bands that I've never heard of. but they deserve more press because this record is pretty good. But also pretty mental.

7/10 - for fans of Pavement, Nirvana, Violent Femmes

Friday, March 7, 2014

R-I-P Sunrise Over Europe

Bad news! the brilliant Sunrise over Europe are calling it a day.

as their facebook explains "after 4+ years as a band we have decided to call it. Its cool man, don't cry, we'll all make music again in the future but SOE, as it is, has gone the way of the dinosaur.
Over the next couple of weeks or so we will be giving all our recordings away for free for any of you fools that want to listen to music that YOU WILL NEVER SEE LIVE! aha

Great music is being made all around you, stop ignoring it and discover something you've never imagined.

Peace and Love People
x "

On the plus side, they're already working on new projects. So keep watch. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mourning Suns
Sometimes even I don't know that I'm about to go see a band. I walked round the custard factory, went to flip around left for dead and found that a live session was happening in two hours time. while trying to waste time before the show i bought a disposable camera for the shots* and £60 on a picture + frame (more on that in another post). but it was worth hanging around. saturday the 1st march was a really lovely day, and unlike the horrid weather Deaf Inspector endured, the sun bought out a small crowd for The Mourning Suns.

They are a 4 piece folk outfit, who look like the sort of people that spend saturdays vintage shopping, and sundays hiking. Melancholy is the word that springs to mind when i hear their music. featuring Bass,Violin, and Acoustic Guitar. The Mourning Suns make really lovely yet sad folk music, which lyrically speaks of lifes ups and downs. Their style  feels like a more authentic and  laid back alternative to the anthemic mainstream folk style in fashion at the moment.
They've got an album coming out soon, and i picked up a copy of their 'Heavy Handed' Ep, which made for a good listen.
Folk can feel a little cheesy, and contrived at times but the Mourning Suns were very enjoyable and suited to sunny spring days like the one I saw them on.

*came out unusable

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Wytches, Live Review (Sunflower Lounge 27/2/14 Part 3)

By this point i was to tired out to join in, so I watched this final part of the night up on the stairs. The Wytches have been hotly tipped lately and known for being a great live band, but they had their work cut out for them tonight.  The Wytches (or 'Ja Wytches' according to the drumkit) play Psychedelia the same way Gang of Four played Funk : IE not very well, without any finesse. This is not an insult, it marks them out as part of, but unique in the current wave of psych' bands. Much in the same way that Gang of Fours scrappy approach worked for them, this approach works for The Wytches too. Unlike God Damn there is some actual melodies in the playing and a ghoulish surf rock sound coming from the guitar.
Because i was sitting still I could really enjoy the music and in places i loved what i was hearing. it took a little longer for the moshing to start for the Wytches than God Damn, but the lounge had more fans squashed into it for this set. The show ended with a full blown stage invasion, with the band surrounded by fans. A chaotic ending for a brilliantly shambolic gig.

I should love The Wytches, but I don't. I like them. yet a band raw as Drenge, with a psych'/surf element in the mix, should be something I adore. Frustratingly there's something missing, and i'm not quite sure what it is. However The Wytches are still definitely ones to watch and one of the most promising young bands in the current wave of loud gnarly, independent, rock n rollers.

The gig ended in chaos and The Wytches put on a good headline set. but who was best? well afterwards i was looking at the merch tables, and The Wytches merch guy urged me to buy a God Damn T- shirt. That kind of says it all.*

 *Though i did buy God Damn's shirt, i also got a wytches poster, and free cassette.