Call me Russ L


Posted in Music by Russ L on 17 April, 2006

There was another certain degree of uncertainty, this time regarding Friday the 14th of April. I thought I knew what I was doing, and merrily skipped down to The Jug Of Ale in Moseley with the intention of seeing Grails. After being there for a little while, a few contextual clues began to prey on my mind. A quick text exchange with The Mighty Naila and I was off on my way to The Hare And Hounds, where the gig was actually being held. Oops. Two thoughts occur: 1) Since I’m someone who actually compiles a gig guide, this sort of foolishness really isn’t very good; 2) Naila was more logistically organised than me. Naila. Christ almighty, I am useless.

Oh well, it wasn’t all bad. It’s fortunate that the two pubs are in roughly the same area of South Birmingham (I could have gone to Stourbridge or wherever, couldn’t I?), and once actually at The Hare and Hounds one can take advantage of their wonderful cans of Export for only a pound. Whoo and indeed Hoo.

Openers Seeland were already halfway through when I got there, featuring someone from Calvados Beam Trio and someone who used to be in Broadcast. I think. Personnel aside, they were very Broadcast-esque (say that out loud, it’s fun) anyway, and bubbled along fairly prettily. No songs noticeably jumped out, but they were reasonably pleasant.

Bologna Pony from Nottingham took up the middle slot, and turned out to be the sort of band who are more interesting in theory than practice. Two axemen laid down a squall of swirling feedback, while a drummer pitter-pattered a series of complicated patterns out of the middle of it all. I quite like the idea of making the drums a lead instrument; when Bologna Pony get around to having another idea to go with it I might quite like them too.

I’d heard a few bits and bobs from Grails before this and liked them a lot, so I was looking forward to their set. Post-rock is a style of music so often tainted by the inevitable problems that attend a bunch of individuals who proclaim how they’re boldly breaking away from convention while they all do exactly the same as each other and create a new set of conventions. Grails get away from this by embracing traditional traditions, hanging their hat on Americana and creating a wonderful older-than-their-years rootsy air. There’s more of the Dirty Three about them than there is Mogwai (to pick a band I’ve heard them compared to), but they maintain the epic build-and-crash of their more obvious peers. Fantastic stuff, and it really is a shame that I had to leave before they’d finished to get the bus.

The turnout was really good, too. Hurrah for everyone.

~ Russ L



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