Call me Russ L

Three Two more gigs

Posted in Music by Russ L on 27 May, 2008

Ooh, lummy. More gigs1.

I was vaguely hoping that Monday the 19th’s Guillemots do at The Wulfrun would have The Courtesy Group as secret openers2, but I didn’t hold out any massive expectation. As it turned out I didn’t manage to get there until it was time for the last few songs from the main/tour support band Royworld3 anyway. Theirs was the more stadium-rock-ish end of modern mainstream indie, with a potentially-interesting bit of layering with all the keyboard sounds ‘n’ such but no feeling of life and/or soul about them. They seemed to go down well with the (large) crowd, though, so I wouldn’t listen to me if I were you.

Guillemots are a band who continually turn out to be A) a lot less outré and unusual then they’re commonly made out to be, and B) a little bit less outré and unusual than you actually expect them to be even when you take ‘A’ into account4. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a bad thing, though. They play ‘pretty’ songs for the most part, and there’s nothing wrong with that5 .

So yes, they do have a nice mix of sounds and there’s a bit of variation to them, it picks up to the realms of energetic at times (“Kriss Kross” will indeed make you jump6) and epic at others, but always returns to “Aaah, that was fairly lovely”. Your man there’s voice is all over the place but it doesn’t really spoil anything. He had a good manner with the hecklers, too – tolerant at first, then just outright God-damn cold to silence them exactly at the point where everyone was sick of hearing their nonsense.

I really enjoyed them. They’re a band I feel I should have more to say about. But I haven’t.

(The Birmingham Post bit doesn’t have a hell of a lot to say either, but succeeds in stretching it out a bit more than me. EDIT: The Birmingham Live review is here).

The original plan for Tuesday the 20th was to go and see The Ting Tings, but a glance at their website that morning revealed two things: 1) That their “That’s Not My Name” single had hit number one in the national charts two days prior7, and 2) that the gig was sold out. “Hmmph,” I said, and resolved myself to not going. Come the actual night, of course, I received intelligence via text message8 of the fact that they were letting people pay on the door. Double hmmph. It was too late by then, of course. Triple hmmph.

No point getting bitter about it now, I suppose.

To the ever-‘orrible Bar Academy9 on the Wednesday, for a touch of noisiness from Today Is The Day. I arrived in time for the last few songs by Complete Failure10, but from such as I heard they were just your ordinary grind with nothing grabbing me.

In spite of their crappy name, Jucifer took the Russ L ‘Best Set Of The Night’ Award11 in a walk. They’re a two-piece, consisting of a chick on guitar + vocals + red hair and a bloke on drums + mania + Davey Crocket hat. The base element of what they played was a Melvins-ish sort of groove, but with added sludgy bits and blasty bits and most importantly12 a ridiculously huge sound. It would’ve been big coming from any band, but from a two-piece it had to be heard to be believed. Awesome, awesome stuff, and it’s just a shame that the quieter vocals were lost in the mix as I think they may have added even more to the experience. Definitely a band to see again next time they come over, anyway.

This was the third time I’d seen Today Is The Day and they sounded a lot more metal this time than I remember them being – a lot more about the riffs and rigid beats, and less ‘sonic evocation of boiling water’. My memories quite often seem to warp over time, though, so I wouldn’t read a fat lot into that13. I can say that this was probably the least effective of the three times I’ve seen them, though – you won’t find many bands more destructive-sounding and it was ace for a fair bit, but after a while the whole thing started to seem heading toward the boundaries of the outlying regions of the disputed zone next to ‘one dimensional’. A few parts where your man Austin sang on his own over a distorted synth backing track were presumably meant to break it up a bit, but didn’t have that sort of effect.

Please note that I’m not saying they were bad by any means, and I would say I enjoyed their set to some degree, but I did find myself skipping the encore14 and leaving after the end of the main set. I could actually hear them still blasting away from the bus stop near Masshouse Crossroads, which I thought was pretty cool.

(Thee Claw has not one but two posts about this gig15, the latter including comical tales of getting lost on the Queensway).

Hey, I wrote about a Today Is The Day gig and didn’t make a single ‘Steve Austin’ joke. I can’t help but feel that I should get some sort of reward.

Footnotes

1) Not that I go to anywhere near as many as I used to.

2) Just imagine seeing them in a great big venue like this. It’d be surreal. And they’re pretty surreal to begin with.

3) Isn’t that a town on the Norfolk Broads?

4) It’s difficult to divine precisely who is at fault here.

5) This is me getting old, presumably.

6) Yes, I imagine they have heard that one before.

7) Blimey! I knew they were supposed to be quite the up-and-coming band and all the rest of it, but I didn’t realise they were already that famous. Still, I approve. “That’s Not My Name” is a gloriously fun superpoppers summit between “Hey Mickie” and “My Sharona” and completely deserves to get a write-up on Popular one day, which is (I believe) the first prize in this sales-competition-lark.

8) Now there’s something you don’t often get chance to say.

9) My thoughts from then still apply now.

10) I believe that translates as ‘Epic Fail’ in your modern parlance.

11) Best Set Of The Week, in fact. They may even have just about nicked Best Set Of The Month.

12) Well, sort of.

13) Also: I’m quite stupid.

14) Encores are a bloody ridiculous idea anyway.

15) Although when the fella says “maybe 80 people were there watching” what he actually means is “less than half that number were there watching”.

Testify.

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