Call me Russ L

GDFAF #2: Moorish Delta 7 / The Matthew Bennett Band / Stanley’s Choice / Angels Exist (Friday 27/10/6)

Posted in Going Deaf For A Fortnight 2006, Music by Russ L on 28 October, 2006

In last year’s GDFAF, Pete mentioned at one point how strange it was for him to be going to gigs on his own. In my case, it’s actually more unusual to go with someone. Unusual is OK, though. We like unusual. Maxine said she was off to The Jug Of Ale to see her friend’s band, and I tagged along to make up the numbers.

My second night running at The Jug, then (and, incidentally, this may or may not prove to be a helpful resource if you don’t know the local venues). I like The Jug – the beer is fairly crappy, but the gig room has a bit of atmosphere to it. The promotional outfit most commonly associated with this venue is The Catapult Club, an entity you’ll almost always hear referred to in relation to Zoot Promotions – either “A lesser…” or “A better version of…” depending on who you’re talking to. Broadly speaking they run three gigs a week at The Jug and the odd one here and there elsewhere, with the regular ones usually consisting of three bands of an indie-ish persuasion (with all the vagueness that implies).

Opening tonight were Angels Exist, playing ballady alt-rock type of business. They were alright – they had a really big sound for a three-piece, and the singer really seemed to get into it towards the end. Thumbs up for dropping in a bit of “You Were Always On My Mind” when I was least expecting it, too. They were a band I may unintentionally be sounding dismissive about simply because I really can’t find a lot to say about them, but they were alright. I can imagine myself not liking exactly the same set on another day if I was in a different mood, but there we are – live music is just a moment in time, after all.

Stanley’s Choice stepped up second and were definitely the best band of the gig for me. Their first song was indicative of their set as a whole, moving from shimmering folk to smooth funk and back again (and it worked, more surprisingly). I found a fair few things to like about them – a nice mix of styles in the sound, a singer with an interesting voice, and even varying instrumentation (a trumpet and bongos came into play later on in the set, on top of the usual guitar/bass/drums business). Quite good.

Headlining were the The Matthew Bennett Band, playing slightly folksy melodic rock very much akin to David Gray. He had a strong voice, the songs were OK, and… I’m boring myself. Take the last two sentences of my paragraph about Angels Exist and add them here. I do apologise for the vanilla tone of this thus far, but unless I’m going to lie then this was what we had – two OK bands and a quite good one. It wouldn’t be fair to pretend they were all either brilliant or terrible just for the sake of getting to write something a bit juicier. Let’s see how I feel if an ‘OK’ gig like this happens later in the fortnight, when I’m fed up with this live music lark.

Is that it, then? No sir. I had another event to attend. A couple of weeks ago I was making a little trip out to the Asda near me and noticed some posters on the pillars of the motorway fly-over by it – Guru, Jehst, Blak Twang, Moorish Delta and others were playing at a hip-hop club night at Air in Digbeth on the 29th. There you go, ladies and gentleman – Asda is your hookup for grimy beats and lyrical science. Holla. I’m not normally a clubbing person at all, but with live performances from various artists I like made for enough of an incentive for me to do something a bit different. One of my concerns about this whole GDFAF palaver is that it won’t really be particularly ‘different’ to my normal pattern of going out, just a bit more frequent.

I was cowed by the times: 10pm till 6am. Briefly, I considered the fact that staying there for the duration would probably save me some money – the buses would be running again by that point and I wouldn’t have to pay for an expensive taxi. More lengthily, I considered the fact that this was just stupid-talk. Six in the morning? Lord o’ Mercy. I decided to just turn up after the gig at The Jug and stop for ‘some’ of it. Not knowing (and unable to guess) the running times, I was resigned to the fact that I was going to miss at least some (and possibly all) of the live sets. Not a problem, if you’re fully aware of the possibility and expecting it.

Onto Air, then (formerly known as Code). I instantly fell in love with the place. A fantastic sexy layout, lots of space for people to either sit or dance depending on preference, cool purple and blue dry-ice-assisted lighting, and a big balcony for Begbie styled glassings (yes, obviously I’m joking. Dullards). I really was massively impressed. I went to the bar and a lot of the happy initial impressions were undone – I was charged £3.80 for a bottle of Stella. That was not a typo. Three pounds and eighty pence. For a bottle.

Still, you live and learn. Don’t buy drinks in there and it’s an incredibly cool place.

A DJ was DJ-ing, and it seems to have been Mikee Lazy (I thought the MC said “Mike Amazing.” That almost certain that tells you a lot about me, I just don’t know precisely what). As already noted, I’m not a clubbing person, but I quite enjoyed this. Relax, nod your head to the music, make your beer last for fear of having to sell a kidney for another… I think I could get into hip-hop clubbing a lot more than dance or rock discos. I doubt I will, but I think I could.

Eventually, Moorish Delta 7 took to the stage. They didn’t make quite the same impact on me as they did when I saw them at that Gigbeth thingy in March, but were still enjoyable. Their beats are the main thing that stands out about them at first listen – varied and powerful sounding, not “PC with Cubase and general MIDI” business. Their delivery is strong, but samey – I have to admit I was beginning to get a bit fed up after a good while. Still good stuff, though, and I’m going to have to see about getting a copy of the album.

I was getting tired by this point and left, abandoning Jehst etc. to fate. This lead to a little bit of my brain revolting about the fact that I’d paid £15 to see a local act and a bit of DJing. Actually (and this is only just occurring to me as I type), it was supposed to be £12.50 before twelve, and I got charged the full fifteen despite getting there at about quarter to-ten to. Hmmm. Combine that with the £3.80 for a bottle of lager and I get the strong feeling that someone somewhere owes me money.

Ah well. You can’t put a price on fun, I suppose.

~ Russ L, amazed at what has to be the first time he’s ever been out and had more fun when the DJ was on than he did when the bands were.


15 Responses

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  1. Chris C said, on 28 October, 2006 at 6:09 pm

    was the hip hop thing not full of mini-rudeboys? I don’t think I could get into hip hop clubbing.

  2. Russ L said, on 29 October, 2006 at 10:12 am

    Oh, Chris C. You and your stereotypes.

  3. Chris C said, on 29 October, 2006 at 7:03 pm

    point taken.

    although every urban club I’ve ever been to (all 2 of them) has been like that.

  4. Maxxxine said, on 31 October, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    I had a pretty good time that night, probably because it’s been my first night out in a long time. I quite enjoyed Roddy’s band, sometimes they reminded me of Far. I love Far. Considering they’ve not really been together for that long, they pulled it off. That Stanley’s Choice were good. Liked his voice, liked the funk. The last band bored me towards the end; his David Gray voice was oh so original.

    Anyway, the mere four photos I took of Angels Exist are now up on my website.

  5. Chris C said, on 31 October, 2006 at 7:11 pm

    David Gray fans are worse rudeboys than hip hop-ers.

  6. Russ L said, on 1 November, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    You just behave yourself.

    And go and look at Maxina’s photos.

  7. Ed said, on 1 November, 2006 at 9:02 pm

    I was at the Jug gig, we’re you guys there too? I thought both Angels Exist and Stanley’s Choice were OK, SC being the better band. AE had a big sound for a small band and I liked the singers voice. SC had some interesting instrumentation and I liked the folk/funk blend. But, I really liked The Matthew Bennett Band. I thought the level of songwriting was excellent and loved the singers voice. OK so it was a bit David Gray but then again it wasn’t really. I loved the mix of girls and guys on stage and the level of musicianship far surpassed the other bands. I’ll definitely try and catch them again.

  8. Russ L said, on 2 November, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    I like the fact that we’ve got a nice mix of opinions here. It’s good when it goes all democratic like this.

    Matthew Bennett was definitely the least of the three for me, though (although still OK-ish). I can’t pretend to be in the least bit interested in standards of musicianship. The David Gray reference was inescapable to my mind.

  9. Ed said, on 2 November, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    I agree, its always good to have a mix of opinions! For me good players are hard to ignore and once again the level of songwriting was above average!

    My email address is showing up at the bottom of the page although it clearly says that it won’t be publishe? Will everyone be able to see it? If so can you remove it please.


  10. Chris C said, on 2 November, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    I think that must just be on your own screen. I can’t see your email address.

  11. Ed said, on 2 November, 2006 at 10:59 pm


  12. Russ L said, on 3 November, 2006 at 10:21 am

    Yeah, it’s not visible. I suspect all you can see is the cookie thaat saves you having to type your details every time. That’ll only be on your computer.

  13. tim said, on 4 November, 2006 at 2:52 am

    I saw Matthew bennett a while back, really good I thought.

    Might check out Stnaleys Choice, funk-folk sounds interesting to me.

  14. Maxxxine said, on 6 November, 2006 at 2:50 pm

    My mate Bruce also happened to turn to me during TMBB and said, ‘He sounds like David Gray’.

    For some reason, and not the David Gray reason, I found myself not really liking the singer at all. I think it might have been the way in which he said ‘thank you’ at the end of each song. Anyway, that has nothing to do with the music, which still doesn’t really do much for me.

  15. Deb said, on 6 November, 2006 at 9:52 pm

    Yeah, I thought that whole ‘thank you’ thing was a bit robotic but I liked their set. I agree with the whle David Gray thing but the guy had soooo much passion, it really felt like he was singing from the heart. I think he was a bit nervous when it came to engaging the audience? Anyway, I checked out their myspace page and there are some really good tracks there…


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