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Eight days of live music

Posted: November 16th, 2003, by Dave Stockwell

Today ends eight successive days of seeing live music (I’m practising tonight instead). Saw some great stuff, and some not so great stuff. Here’s a definitive breakdown for you:

Saturday 8th: Enon were really good fun, with lots of danceable bits and nice hooks and riffs, and none of their songs sounded like another. Grade B+ good fun (I still can’t be bothered to buy one of their records).

Sunday 9th: Melt Banana were astoundingly good. I would have like them more if I wasn’t so completely shattered. They played Spathic, We Love Choco-Pa and covered the Damned. Words cannot convey how much better this band is at playing than ANYONE ELSE YOU’VE EVER SEEN. At times I forgot that I was watching a band playing twice as fast and as well as anyone else would dare, because they were pulling it off so well. Just fucking insanely good ridiculous spastic noise blasts, with incredibly hooks and jabs. Local support Designer Babies did an excellent job of blowing unsuspecting heads off too with their extremely unique brand of strange/spastic/twisted/twisted some more. Look out for a 7″ on Gringo Records at some point in the near future. No nice words for The Vexers though, who were the worst elements of this current post-punk revival summed up in one band that didn’t deserve to play a sixth-form college. Just sub-sub-sub-sub-The Rapture and not a lot else. Yuck.

Monday 10th: Grandaddy at Leeds Met Uni were a good band in a sucky venue, playing what was obviously the umpteenth date on their upteenth tour. They’ve got amazing songs, but the sound wasn’t that great, and there were some idiots singing along tunelessly with Jason’s amazing voice in my ear. Plus, how the hell can you mosh to songs as slow as these? When you’re very very drunk and keep falling onto me. I think the Melt Banana hangover didn’t help things much. Shame, because they played well.

Tuesday 11th: Killa Kela, or some such rubbish. A human beatbox for an hour, bookended by lots of old tired-sounding drum ‘n’ bass, incredibly samey hip-hop and even the odd hint of garage by DJs who obviousluy didn’t bring enough records, because there was an annoying amount of repetition of tunes. Lots of people who desperately wanted to be black who drank stupidly expensive vodka purely because it was vanilla flavour or something. Not a lot of fun, but I was at work and therefore paid to be there. The last DJ did end the night with Dead Prez’s ‘Hip-Hop’ though, so I can’t grumble too much.

Wednesday 12th: M83 and their incredible gurning faces played some really nice instrumental stuff. Their album sounds like (the good couple of songs by) Air playing My Bloody Valentine through an ’80s computer, but the live show was much more direct and straight-forward. They pushed a lot of obvious post-rock buttons, but the electronic elements kept things more interesting. It aslo helped that the band were really into the emotional velocity of their music and sweated a lot. I think I prefer them on record.

Thursday 13th: I went to the same The Murder Of, Cat on Form, Army of Flying Robots and Little Girl With Cherries gig as Chris. LGWC, as ever, were amazing in their rhythms and progressions, and continue to to get better every time I see them… at this rate they’ll be the best band in Britain this time next year. I’ve seen Katy sing back in 2001 or so, but apparently they’ve ditched vocals forever, so I guess that deal with Virgin/Warners isn’t going to be forthcoming just yet. I don’t have much to add about AOFR or COF (Chris did a pretty excellent job of summing up both), but it’s worth mentioning that The Murder Of Rosa Luxembourg played last, and were very impressive indeed. Again, I was really tired, so couldn’t get as into it as the madly dancing/shoving crowd.

Friday 14th: Took a trip up to Leeds again to see Soeza, Polaris and Little Girl With Cherries (again), for the princely sum of £3.50. [Almost all the amazing DIY stuff in Leeds is associated with the amazing Cops And Robbers collective, who are broke and desperately need your support, so go over their webpage and, er, read about some amazing shows you can go to.] Unfortunately thanks to Friday night traffic we missed LGWC this time, but I was assured that once again they conquered all who stood before them; which was just as well because the gig was upstairs in Joseph’s Well and there were far more than the legal capacity of 60 people in there at any given time. Polaris seemed to play a completely different set than from when I last saw them a couple of years ago, and did an occasionally uncanny impression of June of ’44. Their chords were absolutely lovely sounding though, and Neil their drummer (also of Bilge Pump and thousands of others) is absolutely amazing, so they were really nice to watch. By the time Soeza played, I couldn’t get into the room after having gone out for a breath of fresh air, so I got to listen from the fire escape. They played some really sublime stuff too, and everyone left with a smile on their face.

Saturday 15th: Liars finally came back to the UK, aided by KaitO and Punish The Atom. PTA were “okay” (snore). KaitO were really quite good, and much better and more visceral than I remember their old records being. Plus, they had a guitarist who gave everyone earache with his effects pedals. Liars were something else. I think they alienated a good two-thirds of the crowd, judging from talking to folks afterwards. They played no recognisable old songs, and quite possibly no tunes. Instead, they played what must be virtually the entirity of their forthcoming album, which was a lot of experimenting with noises, samples, signals and loops, both pre-recorded and manipulated live – definitely a real departure from their old sound. Coming out next February, it’s going to be a tremendously interesting trip. It would appear that the Liars have been listening to a lot of Throbbing Gristle of late, because now they sound like they would be far better suited to sharing a stage with the likes of the Boredoms, The Dead C, or Black Dice than all this post-punk bollocks (here I go again) that they’ve been lumped in with to date. Maybe someone has at last taken the *good* stuff from the No-Wave experiments of the early ’80s and decided to take it further, rather than just using dancey beats and tinny guitars. So yeah, I loved it. A fair few other people were pretty angry at paying a tenner for what was “supposedly all artsy and experimental but actually just bollocks really” (one disgruntled punter at the cloakroom afterwards).

Oh, and expect Talent Spotter to open up with at least one very special label interview around December time. It’s getting all very exciting…

Dave Stockwell

David can always be relied on to end his e-mails with one of those 'np: blah blah' things in order to remind us of how much more music he listens to every day than anybody else. His interests include rockin ' out in a major style as guitarist in Souvaris, throwing frisbees from tall buildings "just to see what happens" and simply kickin' back with his bitches in a gold-plated jacuzzi.


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