Call me Russ L

Live Music Digest 25/5/7-5/6/7 (or ‘Guess who went to all these gigs? Russ did, in his big shorts’)

Posted in Music by Russ L on 6 June, 2007

(Not literally. I haven’t got the legs for shorts).

Travis – The Academy, Birmingham – 25/5/7

Ah shut up, I think Travis are great. They played one of my favourite live sets ever the first time I saw them, at Leeds 2001. A great ‘festival moment’ took place when they played ‘Coming Around.’ One kid had been dancing (yes, dancing to Travis) throughout. During that song, someone joined him. Then someone else did. Then someone else. Then a couple more people. Then me. Then a load more. A whole bunch of people who didn’t know each other were all dancing round in a circle, before slinking back to our former positions when the song finished, slightly embarrassed but having had massive fun. It was magical.

There’s no such anecdote here (they didn’t actually play ‘Coming Around.’ That must be why), and as such it’s quite hard to make Travis sound exciting. They were really fun, though, if not as much as they were that balmy summer’s night. There were lots of big singalongs where you’d expect them, and everyone (myself included) went home thoroughly happy.

Trouble/Rise To Addiction – The Civic Hall Bar, Wolverhampton – 28/5/7

I got to this one in time for the last three songs from Rise To Addiction and found myself relatively indifferent to their melodic metal. Slightly ‘Forbidden’ era Sabbath, I thought, with an homage to an earlier version of that band in a pointless straight cover of ‘Children Of The Grave’ (ah come on now, do you really think you’re going to top the original?). I didn’t hate them, but meh.

Trouble are of course legendary to many. While really liking them I’m not an expert, but I’ve always distinguished between the earlier doom metal stuff that everyone remembers them sounding like (slow Sabbath with Maiden-y lead lines), and the later stuff that’s always sounded to me in my limited research of them to sound like the earlier material crossed with Guns ‘N’ Roses (and here the purists will howl). This set leaned more towards the latter, and there was a lot less slow stuff than I was expected. I enjoyed them still, they were very effective, it was just not as much what I thought the gig would be.

Frank Sidebottom – The Civic Hall Bar, Wolverhampton – 1/6/7

There were absolutely loads of things happening on the night of the first (as well as this you had Beyonce, Lair Of The Minotaur, and Pam Ann all at different venues), but decided to go to see Frank Sidebottom after really enjoying him in January, and as a way of persuading Matt to go too. We got there at about 20:20 to find he’d already been on since half seven. Now that I did not expect. Of the half that we did see a fair bit (not all) was the same material as the previous gig, but I didn’t really mind. I think he’s great, good clean fun. I keep singing “Have you seen/Aberdeen/They’re a football club…” to myself (you know I do, I really do). After a few drinks in Wolves I got a lift home from Matt in the Majestic delivery van. I could feel the majesty.

Shimm1/Moorish Delta 7/Midas/Stars In DC – The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – 2/6/7

The Main Event was a free one-day-festival/alldayer thing organised by Shimm1 at The Custard Factory, with a load of varied acts on the outside stage (at the one end of the drained pond thing) and various other things elsewhere that I didn’t see (film showings, a make-up/beauticians demonstration, probably other stuff). There weren’t anywhere near as many people there as I would have expected for this sort of thing, but then again I hadn’t known about it until P’Ashton blogged about it earlier in the week. Maybe no-one else did either.

It was already well underway by the time I got there, and so Stars In D.C. were the first band I saw. I didn’t find them to be anything too special: fair-to-middling melodic rock with a bit of a country twang at times and an unpleasantly feigned American accent for the singing.

A magician then ran through a few tricks (more gigs should have magicians. This is something I strongly believe) before it was time for Midas, a band whose name I’d seen everywhere for a long time but (as is my custom) I’d never got around to checking out. I quite liked these – on the day they sounded like fairly catchy grunge-pop, but I think that was mostly a result of bad sound. Listening to TheirSpace‘s recordings I see that the keyboard you could barely hear is meant to play a much, much bigger part in what they do. Likeable stuff either way. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this “Don’t Dance” single of theirs makes them famous.

Moorish Delta 7 (or three of them, rather. Moorish Delta 3?) were next, but suffered from an even muddier sound. There was something a bit incongruous about their dark tuggsy street tales being played out in the open in blazing sunshine, too. Not the best time I’ve seen them, but I’d still definitely recommend MD7 as an act.

Shimm1‘s happier hip hop seemed a lot more in place with the event. He turned out to be a great showman, too, one you could definitely imagine entertaining thousands in the future. Good tunes delivered charismatically and with no small degree of verbal dexterity is what we had here. The set (and festival) finished with General Kid joining him for “Juicy,” the chorus of which I keep singing (badly) whenever I’m not singing Frank Sidebottom.

Acorns/oaks, and such. This is going to be an annual event, apparently, and I’m sure it’ll grow into something fantastic with time. Shimm1 appears to be the sort of person who’ll make sure that happens. A couple of pints on Digbeth High Street afterwards and a lovely chicken, lamb & prawn balti (with rice and a keema naan) at Manzils meant that I was feeling somewhat bloated when I hopped on a train to…

Blood Island Raiders/Imindain/Eternal Torment – The Bristol Pear, Selly Oak, Birmingham – 5/6/7

…The Reanimator metal night in the far-away climes of Selly Oak, South Birmingham. This gang are the main extreme metal supporters in Brum, but I’d never been to a do of theirs before. In this case a happy combination of events meant that an interesting line-up coincided with me getting the chance to hand over a couple of things to Maxi that she was owed, and so off I toddled.

The Bristol Pear (arf) turned out to be a Scream pub, and to get to the upstairs gig room you have to walk straight through to an outside enclosed alley type thing, and then up an added-on/extension style staircase. Bizarre. It was unbearably hot when you got up there (and I know I always moan about that sort of thing, but in this case I wasn’t the only one to note it), with no open-able windows. Perhaps better as a winter venue, methinks.

Eternal Torment didn’t sound in the slightest bit like the doom they were advertised as, instead playing fairly bog-standard thrash. Imindain were fantastic, though, and this surprised me since I didn’t think a lot of them when I saw them a few years ago. Nowadays they play very aggressive death/doom with the occasional sludgy bit, conveying a real sense of bite and viciousness. Good stuff.

Blood Island Raiders seemed to be pretty fun and reasonably catchy upper-tempo stoner/doom sort of business, but I left halfway through. I just wasn’t enjoying myself in the boiling atmosphere. Yes, I Left The Hall.

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