Call me Russ L

Live Music Digest 5/8/5 – 18/8/5

Posted in Music by Russ L on 8 January, 2006

Originally posted on 4/9/5.

It’s been a long time (long time shouldn’a left you, left you) since I last waffled hereabouts. I’ve been unable to write – at any given moment either too drunk, not drunk enough, asleep, or too tired through inability to sleep. I went to six gigs, the earliest of which was nearly a month ago. Don’t expect detail.

On the fifth of August it was the Ferret Records ‘Under The Gun’ tour (from furry to macho. Peculiar), at the Academy 2. I missed openers A Life Once Lost. The main support were Twelve Tribes, a New Wave Of American Heavy Metal (I always think that sounds like the Doppler effect of a racing car: nwoooOOAAaaahm) band with nu-metal bits and very much like Chimaira. I watched the beginning and end of their set and couldn’t really stomach the middle. They had the occasional chorus and riff that might be moderately likeable if you tried really hard, but for the most part it wasn’t art or entertainment. Every moment seemed entirely calculated to get a specific type of Kerrang Kid to throw themself around.

Every Time I Die headlined and provoked a much fiercer pit o’ mosh than I expected to see. Every Time I Die seemed quite unique to me the last time I saw them (in the same venue), although obviously these days you can’t throw a bottle of Wella Shockwaves and not hit ten bands with similar music and much worse hair. ETID, however, still have an off-kilter rock’n’roll groove about them that raises them far ahead of most of the rest. The frontman had some funny banter this time too, if I remember rightly. Last time he just talked as though he was on whale tranquilizers.

On Wednesday the tenth of August I went to the Jug Of Ale with my old homeapplecorer Prattman, intending to see Distophia. We got there to find Distophia weren’t playing any more. Oh well. The bill turned out to be Fickle Public/Grandscope/Left Alone and turned out to be more than worthwhile anyway, as you will shortly read.

Left Alone were alright – not amazing but perfectly watchable. Your ordinary indie rock ‘n’ roll, really, but with some alright-on-first-listen songs and a bassplayer throwing in some interesting almost dubby parts here and there.

Grandscope were AMAZING. Theirs was the best local-band set I’ve seen in quite a long time. Imagine someone like Boards Of Canada incorporating the odd Krawtwerk-ish moment, with some squailing guitar over the top. Epic, really involving songs. Go and see this band.

Fickle Public from Glasgow (on tour) headlined, playing screamy indie-punk stuff with many-a jagged edge. They weren’t bad, but did come across to some extent as an ordinary example of the type.

Friday the 12th saw me going to The Little Civic in Wolves, to see The Honeymoon Machine. I got there to find not-very-many people, most of whom were teenage kids doing that lovely teenage kid thing of going to a gig, paying to get in, then studiously avoiding paying any attention to the bands on stage. It’s such an inconvenience for these bloody bands to be making a row when you’re trying to be wacky/look bored and angsty (delete as applicable) with your friends, isn’t it?

I missed the opening band (Black Canvas, I think), anyway, and arrived halfway through Acacia’s set. They were quite decent – AC/DC-ish rock’n’roll, with the one fella throwing some pretty stylish stage moves. They didn’t let the absence interested people put them off, either, so good for them.

By the time The Honeymoon Machine were on, most of the little kiddies had buggered off, leaving a small number of people at the back/the bar (it’s in a sort of ante-room thing in The Little Civic) not watching, and the band playing to a grand total of three people watching them. Three. Two other lads and myself. Incredible. What made it worse is that The Honeymoon Machine were clearly very embarrassed by the situation – you could read it all over their faces.

It was the third time I’ve seen them, anyway, and they were a lot less good-time rock’n’roll than I remembered them being (although looking at what I wrote at the time that wasn’t how I perceived them back then, so clearly my memory is making things up). They’re a modern indie-rock band, basically, which isn’t especially descriptive but I can’t think of anything better. They have some corking songs (‘Angie’ and ‘Faith In People’ spring to mind), but… it’s just a shame about the circumstances really.

Saturday the thirteenth I went to a gig at those wonderful, wonderful people Ellen ‘n’ Alex’s house. November Coming Fire were meant to be playing in Worcester but the gig fell through for whatever reason, so naturally someone’s living room had to sacrifice itself in the name of rock’n’roll.

Trencher were on first, and as good as the last time I saw them. Grind with cheap/Casio keyboard sound over the top, but with actual hooks and so on. Interesting and fun.

This was the third time I’ve seen The Seventh Cross, and I’ve liked them a bit more each time. By now I can quite happily say they’re ace, or they were at this gig at the very least. Heaven Shall Burn type metalcore (very metal), and absolutely devastating as well as being quite anthemic. They provoked a living-room-beatdown-pit, which I didn’t really expect to see all evening.

I was really quite pissed by the time November Coming Fire came on, but they’ve changed a hell of a lot since the last time I saw them. Now they’re a complex Botch-y kind of affair, all twisty-turny and difficult. Also good, but it was The Seventh Cross’ night.

Monday the 15th I went to see Black Uhuru and The Mighty Diamonds at The Academy. I happened to glance at The Academy website earlier in the evening to see what times the doors were opening, and I found it had been changed from normal closing-time hours to 9pm-1pm. Great, thanks for such an effective warning, Academy people. Very kind of you to put the effort in to let your punters know. Aresholes.

I got there, anyway, chilled to the tunes (if it was an actual Sound playing then I don’t know who it was), and found out that Ninjaman was playing too. Dancehall legend as an added bonus, excellent. The Diamond Rush Band (our backing group for the evening) took the stage and played an infectious ska-type tune, before The Mighty Diamonds arrived. Now, I really do hate to judge anything ‘by genre,’ but as I’ve said before in this blog – it really is hard to go wrong with live reggae. The Mighty Diamonds lived up to that. I’m not especially familiar with them (perhaps I should be) but most of their own songs sounded ace, and there were some cool covers too.

Ninjaman gave us a dancehall interlude, with a lot of his set being made up of a comic battle between him and his backing vocalist. It leaned a lot more towards fun and entertainment than his thugsy reputation would lead you to expect, but that worked perfectly. And you haven’t lived until you hear him attempt to deejay/chat Al Green’s “How Can You Mend A Broken heart.”

Black Uhuru were obviously our headliners and the least of the three that evening, mainly due to their slightly darker/more melancholic melodies fitting in a little bit less with the party vibe. Still ace, though, apart from having a song called “Outlaw Abortion.” Bollocks to that.

Thursday the 18th, finally, I went to The Flapper to see D. Louis Baker & Friends and Formation Flight. Again I missed the openers (I was working till 8 this time, though, so I have an excuse). Baker (and his friends) was (were) ace – singer-songwriter-ism with some Beatles-ish melodies mixed with swirling ‘lots of sound’ ala post rock. A really interesting blend, with some great songs.

Formation Flight I wasn’t entirely as keen on – epic sort-of-proggy, sort-of-melodic rock, with songs that seem to go on quite a bit longer after they’ve as much of a point as they’re going to make. Not bad, by any means, but not special either.

I’m glad I’ve got to the end of that, ‘cos the next big pile of gigs that I’m attending starts tomorrow…

~ Russ L

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