On Saturday, I went to see Switzerland’s last gig, upstairs at Big Blue Cafe in Derby. It was fucking rammed and you practically had to have sex with people just to get in and out of the room.
I got there just in time for the last few songs of Call Me Ishmael‘s set and I was impressed with what I heard. Passionate, melodic and very twiddly, it’s the first time I’ve seen them but definitely not the last. Ones to watch in every way.
Next on were Tiger Tiger Panther Fox! who I already love from seeing them at The Royal recently. If anything, they played even better. Front bloke Stuart has such intensity, such ferocity. He’s more punk than most punk or hardcore singers I’ve seen in that he actually feels it, he’s not just putting an act on. Add to that that the rest of the band have absolutely zero slack, are punching the audience in the face with riffs and you have the reason why I was grinning through the whole gig.
Bronze Medals are another band I’ve not seen before and I was also blown away by them. It’s the classic thing of a three-piece who sound like a four-piece in that lead singer/twiddly guitar guy is astonishingly, effortlessly good. And I love the fact that when his crazy hand is racing up and down the guitar, he’s having fun. It’s not a chore or wankery for the sake of it, he’s in the song. Plus, he’s got a great singing voice, the little bleeder! Love ’em.
Last on, of course, were Switzerland who were beset by not-minor tech hitches at the start of the set. Like some bugger pulling out the plug for the PA! Argh! But once the vocals were up, they got the now life-threateningly-full room rocking. It’s a shame it was their last gig as, looking round, I could see genuine love on the faces of the kids there to watch their swan song. I’m also gutted I couldn’t stay for the whole gig due to other weird shit going down – I won’t get to see them again! But who knows, I doubt people this talented will just chuck music for ever, eh? Soo, RIP Switzerland but let’s see what’s next.
What a fun night! Three quid for four magnificent bands. I love Derby! 🙂
Another busy Bzangy and hence loads more requests. This time for Tarkan, Saves The Day (yaaay!), Cap’n Jazz and Andrew Gold (double yaay!). Now, that’s what I call discerning music taste!
The best new tune tonight is one that I’ve had in the car on repeat for the last couple of weeks. In ‘Drugstore Diet’, Anarbor have given me my poppunk anthem for this summer. It ticks all the boxes for me: it’s hugely catchy and singalong, the lyrics are lovely and thoughtful and it makes me want to dance. God, if this came on when I was out, I think I’d go mental! Their debut album is released on the 20th April and I reckon if you’ve ever sung along to any Fallout Boy, CIWWAF, Saves The Day, Promise Ring or TBS, you’ll most probably sing along to this album too. POP!
Tonight’s best old track was a different TBS; Trembling Blue Stars‘ ‘Abba On The Jukebox.’ I was lucky enough to meet some Bobby and Beth TBS recently at London Popfest and wanted to hug them both for hours. Fortunately for them, I resisted. The mood I felt in at the end of Bzangy was hopeful yet melancholic, nostalgic without being maudlin. This song fits that mood perfectly. Can I suggest that you make a little room in your life for TBS’ wonder?
Woo – loads of requests tonight: Russian Circles, MSTRKRFT, Refused, Venetian Snares. But I still managed to cram in craploads of brand-new music as well.
The best from the new was Swanton Bombs‘ ‘Who’s Asking.’ I love the rawness of this track, I love the middle bit guitar riffery. There’s a lot to be said for eschewing the wanky solo in favour of the cranking rhythm, The Kinks knew that and so do Swanton Bombs, even though they sound fuck-all like The Kinks.
The best old track has to be Venetian Snares‘ ‘Einstein-Rosen Bridge.’ I’m sure I’ve had it as a best old track before, it’s so utterly awesome. And, as old as it is, it still makes people look up and do good WTF?? faces. Pure loveliness!
And, tonight, I broke all my normal Bzangy rules by playing not one but three tracks currently on Radio One. The first was Wiley because I love it and, hey, it’s nice to have (a bit) of my song back in the charts! 🙂
The other two were the then (and still, as I type this!) number one and two UK singles: Tinie Tempah and Rihanna. Why did I play them? Well, because they’re two of my favourite pop singles in ages. I’m obsessed with them and have been playing them in my car pretty much non-stop. Mmmm… bassssss. And what are rules unless you break ’em every now and then, eh?
On Wednesday I saw three cool bands for free at the Vaults. Yep – FREE!
First on were History who put on a heartfelt show. There were a few wobbles in places but seeing as this is only their second gig, I think they did brilliantly. They were all in the moment and they were feeling the music they were playing, something that’s often easily lost.
Next were Funfun who played a sharp, heavy, twiddly set. I loved the duelling guitar harmonies, that was lovely. I also liked the bit about looking like old-school You Slut! and, indeed, the lads did look very fetching in their matching outfits.
Last on were You Slut! themselves, confusingly all *not* dressed in black like the YS! of yore. Whatever, they jumped into their set and hammered out crowd-pleasing faves. There was a lot of gurning going on, and not just on stage. It was ace to see people jumping round like loons to YS!’s powertool riffery.
Then I played and I had so much fun! The audience was really friendly and I felt a proper sense of connection, despite it being a bigger venue than I’m used to playing. I talked to loads of lovely people after and even sold some records. 🙂
Next were Horse Shoes who played a set of dreamy, summery songs with innocent melodies that reminded me of early Field Mice.
Last on were The Wake. It felt quite bizarre that I was standing, watching The Wake, a band I’ve listened to for years. They were amazing. Very raw and full of heart, it was a singalong set.
Thanks to everyone at Popfest for putting me on, I had so much fun playing. And thanks to you if you were in the audience that night, I’d give you all hugs if I could!
Tonight’s best new track was ‘Three Card Brag’ by Diversion Tactics. And this is just one song from an album of pure gold. It makes me happy there’s already such a raw, solid hip hop album this early in the year. Sooo good.
The best old track was ‘Inertiatic Esp’ by twiddly funsters The Mars Volta. Seven years old? :-O
The other week, I went to see TTPF! at The Royal, not knowing what to expect at all. I deliberately hadn’t listened to them on the net beforehand as I wanted a fresh, unprejudiced experience.
And I loved them. Knowing some of their tastes, I had expected it to be NMEish indie. But the band they reminded most of was Minutemen. Yep. Go figure.
They were fast, aggressive, funny, dark and, above all, played with the kind of frantic-wank energy most contemporary indie bands just can’t muster. That’s why they reminded me more of Dag Nasty than The Answering Machine. (Which is not dissing TAM, I love ’em!)
Now, if I was an evil A&R type, I’d just re-style them and shove them out on the punk circuit… 😛
I see so much identikit indie, TTPF! are not that at all.