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gig reviews - 2012


 

Two Gallants
31.10.12 - Manchester Academy 3

I love Two Gallants and the chance to see them play live was unexpected and brilliant. Really there is only a little I feel I need to say about this: That it was everything I wanted of it.

For those of you who don't know, I would encourage you to check Two Gallants out. I would try and convince you to do this by describing them, but I don't really do them justice.
There are two of them and the songs are personal and haunting, the guitar and drums and voices are all that are needed to fill a room. I suppose that they're folk/rock but that really doesn't matter. They're Music. As it is whenever it is done well, when they share a microphone it is truly special. It meant the world to me to see Two Gallants, because I think it means a lot to them to play those songs.

As personal as the songs are, I feel no inclination to write about what they may mean or how they are sung because they do what great songs do. They become yours. I thoroughly enjoyed their Manchester show. A great Halloween. Spooky in the best way.

Christopher Carney


Jess Bryant, Zachary Cale and Leif Vollebekk
30.8.12 at The Wilmington Arms, London

A chance to see Zachary Cale at the start of his brief 2-week British summer sojourn in September, the Wilmington Arms gig was effectively a warm-up show for his appearance at this year's End Of The Road festival. Cale has written most of the songs for a new album, working title Blue Nude, due for release in the autumn, and tonight is a great chance to dip his toes into the water on this side of the pond, and preview some of the excellent new material before a sympathetic English audience. The Brooklyn-based artist plays the show solo acoustic, itself a good indicator of the new album, with the characteristic open tunings style of guitar playing and hauntingly bluesy vocals, to some extent revisiting 2008 album Walking Papers.

On the strength of tonight's show, I'd have to say we're in for a real treat with Blue Nude, intense, dark and moody acoustic folk, but with Cale occasionally showing off a lighter commercial side: the troubadour's not afraid of a good pop tune! Actually, with the exception of Tom Petty-esque 'Mourning Glory Kid' from last year's Noise Of Welcome, he focuses exclusively on the new songs, delivering them with real gusto like a southern preacher on a mission, head raised and voice punching out the words in a powerful ovation.

'Unfeeling' is a strong opener, a folksy blues number with a real icy chill about it. Many of Cale's songs evoke the spirit of the runaway, the guy struggling with life's hard knocks and feeling cast out ("Here it comes again, that cold unfeeling gloom/You best beware doll, don't let it get it's teeth in you/You know how it screws up your face, you know we can't have it that way/Shadows, block out the sun, you can't feel a thing when you bite on your tongue"). This may be one of his best, although next up 'Hold Fast' is chasing it hard, raising the tempo slightly, faster and lighter, a sort of riding song ("Hold fast to the ray that slips past the falling rain/Keep your dream beneath your hat, and the wind on your back"). Cale turns over songs quickfire when he's playing live, never seems truly at ease until he's back in his musical 'zone', although there are some stories later on about Robert Johnson and ghosts. My personal favourites from the set were the twangy metronomic-sounding 'Hangman's Letters', which reminded me of the Bert Jansch classic 'Moonshine', and the wonderfully dark but jangly U2-sounding 'Dear Shadow' with the 'All I Want Is You' riff.

He ends by playing a couple of encores, firstly the featured song 'Wayward Son', another from Blue Nude, brisk with the hand slapping of the guitar, but still with the characteristic poetic turn of phrase ("On you run without a moment's rest, while your heart pounds against your chest/and in the twilight you awake to the whispering of the waves, washed up like a castaway"). Saving the best till last, the unusual highlight of the evening is a version of Robert Johnson's 'Love In Vain', which the Stones famously covered on their classic 1969 album Let It Bleed. Cale's interpretation is quite different from either of those, raw-sounding and stripped back, with some nice bluesy John Fahey-esque guitar and a really 'smoking' sort of vocal. Check it out on YouTube and it is also available through Soundcloud:

So a clear statement of musical intent from Zachary Cale this evening. I'm guessing the gig is a way to gauge audience reaction before his festival performance the following weekend, but all the songs here stand shoulder to shoulder with his earlier material. Accessible and interesting, and even on a first listen they sound like some of the best things he's done. And Cale's voice has lost none of its haunting edge, sure to get better and better with each passing year, backed with some bold and inventive playing as always. Look out for Blue Nude which should be available soon.

Earlier, London-based songwriter Jess Bryant had opened the evening with songs from her excellent psych-folk album Silvern. Accompanying herself on guitar and joined by Sarah Day on violin, these songs had a curiously powerful effect, the singer's voice lending them an understated sort of power. Unfortunately, I only caught the end of her set, which was a real shame. The album is a beautiful piece of work, available on Red Deer Records, very moody and atmospheric, sonically explorative and exquisitely put together.
http://www.reddeerclub.co.uk/shop/releases/silvern/

Canadian singer-songwriter Leif Vollebekk struggled to overcome the elements in his short set, starting off very unfortunately by losing a guitar string. There are some nice songs on the album Inland, and 'In The Morning' and 'Don't Go To Klaksvik' sounded particularly good in the set, but the Montreal-based artist found it hard to get going, his awkward shuffling movements suggesting somebody ill at ease with himself and his audience for some reason. Another tortured Ryan Adams in the making, I guess? His album is available through Canadian label Nevado Records.
http://www.nevadorecords.com/home/index.php/releases/view/10

The night belonged to Zachary Cale in my view, although Jess Bryant's siren-like voice was also a real discovery. The Wilmington Arms, in Clerkenwell, Central London, was also a bit of a discovery, a very decent place to see a folk gig with a reasonably quiet side room where the atmosphere could really build. The staff there seemed genuinely interested in the music on show, which let's face it you can't say about every pub venue. Thank you to everybody concerned, that was a great evening for the music.

Matthew Haddrill


William Basinski – The Disintegration Loops Performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra
12.8.12 - Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, London

The first 2 parts of American electronic composer William Basinski's The Disintegration Loops were performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra, on Sunday 12th August in the Queen Elizabeth Hall in the South Bank Centre, as part of the Antony Hegarty-curated Meltdown Festival. The piece was arranged by Maxim Moston, a member of Antony And The Johnsons, and the orchestra were conducted by Ryan McAdams. As the title would suggest, the work is based on a series of electronic loops, which were originally recorded by the composer in 1982. Unfortunately, I spent the evening wishing I was somewhere else, perhaps watching Laurie Anderson's 'Dirtday' or Lou Reed and band, just 2 of the many glitterati appearing at the prestigious annual festival this year.

The work by Basinski has taken on almost mythical proportions among the ambient and minimalist musical fraternity, and Hegarty has made no secret of the profound effect its inspiration had on him personally. The Disintegration Loops has become distinguished by 2 important characteristics which lend it a heavy symbolic value, almost certainly the reason for its inclusion in the festival. Firstly, when the American composer returned to his original recordings almost 20 years after their inception, in 2001, hoping to convert the analogue tape to a digital format, he discovered a physical alteration in their condition which transformed the whole piece:
“During the transfer process, as each of the loops played round and round on the tape deck, I soon realized the tape loops were disintegrating — the iron oxide particles were gradually turning to dust and dropping into the tape machine, leaving bare plastic spots on the tape, and silence in the corresponding sections of the new recording.” (William Basinski, writing for WQXR, New York Classical Music Radio, on 7th September 2011)

The original sound had become heavily distorted under these new conditions, the crumbling new textures making what sounded like life slowing draining out of the recordings to Basinski's ears. Even more interesting were the gaps or open 'spaces' left over, adding an otherworldly feeling. Basinski was intrigued, and rather than scrapping the whole project, he set about listening and re-recording these 'disintegrated' sounds into a new piece.

However, the whole process took another dramatic turn because it coincidentally happened on September 11th 2001 during the attacks on the World Trade Centre. Basinski watched the macabre and destructive events unfolding from the rooftop of his home in Brooklyn as he listened to the destruction on his own recordings. It meant that bizarrely he spent the same day filming the smouldering World Trade Centre as he tried to restore and digitalize the tapes. Unwittingly, he had created an extraordinary art installation. The whole soundscape created made for amazing viewing which Basinski has preserved for posterity.

Time has added a sense of perspective to the whole piece. Basinski has now dedicated The Disintegration Loops to the memory of the victims of the attacks, and the piece will be inducted into the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York later this year. His record label Temporary Residence have re-released a boxed set edition of the recordings this September.

If the story ended there, that would surely be enough. Certainly, a documentary film might have added something to people's appreciation of The Disintegration Loops, by giving insight or highlighting the symbolism of the work. The whole piece as envisaged by Basinski is several hours long, so the performance of parts DlP 2.1 and DlP 1.1 in real time by the London Contemporary Orchestra is a very rare event indeed. The second part contains pastoral and minimalist elements which the orchestration captures well with its strings, woodwind and brass, and there is a grittiness relayed by the 3 main percussionists who play through some large speakers, so Moston's interpretation certainly conveyed elements of the original looping piece. However, I'm afraid that being subjected to 2 hours of this kind of music in a hot sweaty concert hall with cramped seats and people coming and going with their drinks of beer etc., all the efforts of a dedicated orchestra felt massively misplaced for this listener. DlP 1.1 is even longer than the second part, with elements of American folk music woven into the orchestrated ambient sound. There was a moment's silence at the end dedicated to the victims of 9/11. The problem for me is that essentially, Basinski's piece rests on holding a note or a chord and then repeating that over and over again; in other words, the 'looping' of the sound which the title suggests. It may be fine for a tape machine, but for a group of thinking sentient highly trained and skilled musicians? By the end of the performance, I was certainly disintegrating myself, with boredom! I wondered if that irony had occurred to Basinski and Moston, who took to the stage at the end to receive applause (or, Hegarty, too, who had chosen the piece?)? Or was the joke on me perhaps, was the Prince in fact wearing some clothing, after all?

Matthew Haddrill


Trembling Bells + Deadwall
22.8.12 - The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge

Ever since the days of sleeping overnight on a bench in Newcastle station after seeing Yes play on their ‘Relayer’ tour at the City hall way back in the mid-1970’s; somehow, travelling to a gig has always made it a little bit more of an adventure.

So, with the price of a day return being not much more than the cost of an average taxi fare across Leeds, there I was, sitting in a park in Hebden Bridge at the back of the Trades club on a bright Wednesday evening, eating fish and chips out of newspaper and listening to Trembling Bells run through their sound check before the doors opened and eager to see them for the third time this year.

This was my first visit to the Trades Club, finalist for NME Small Venue of the year, and, with a capacity of 190, I suppose I expected the place to intimate, but packed, especially after seeing Trembling Bells play on their earlier tour with Bonnie Prince Billy at a sold out gig in the Hyde Park Picture house in April and then again, at noon on the last day of the splendidly idyllic ‘No Direction Home’ festival in June. Instead, we were the first paying punters through the doors and sadly there were probably no more than thirty people making up the audience for both bands all night, and even then these seemed to be either those connected with the acts themselves, on the guest list or, what appeared to be, curious, regular Trades club members, hardened boozers who I imagined were there most nights, come rain or shine or flash flood.


For a young band, having been around for less than two years, Deadwall are serious craftsmen; accomplished and precise players with a set of interesting songs built around the angular guitar of front man and vocalist, Tom Gourley and the varied keyboards of Chris Duffin, with lead guitar embellishments, e-bow and ambiences by Rob Simpson. I heard echoes of Television, Wire and maybe Wilko Johnson, or, if I attempt to drag my frames of reference reluctantly into the 21st century, some typical post-rock textures, but perhaps with a little more emphasis on vocal and lyrical content. All in all, Deadwall make one hell of a fine noise.

Since I hadn’t set out with the intention of writing a gig review, I neglected to take notes of any of the titles of the numbers, but I enjoyed their set enough to recommend that you seek out Deadwall’s debut e.p., available from their Facebook page, or the band’s website and, if you didn’t catch them at Bingley Live during the last weekend of August, perhaps seek them out the next time they play live at venue near you.

Being roughly half way through the tour and having played the Green Man festival the previous weekend, Trembling Bells were on top form. They opened with Alex Neilson and Lavinia Blackwell singing a new acapella duet, ‘Golden Lamb’, which Alex said was named after a favourite restaurant, but that may, or may not have been a joke, before they took up their respective positions behind the drums and keyboards for a set that took in songs from all four of their excellent albums, as well as showcasing a few new numbers, three of which I’d previously heard courtesy of a recent session on Radio 6’s Marc Riley show ...

‘A New Trip on the Old Wine’, from bassist Simon Shaw, a sort of hybrid country & western love song, with Mike Hastings adding one of his signature fuzz-guitar riffs and with an acapella and clapping bridge that works well live, although perhaps even better with a larger and more responsive audience.

‘The Bells of Burford’, is built around a repetitive bass and organ riff that builds and builds as it is taken up by the lead guitar. With Lavinia’s spectral organ playing reminding me of Hugh Banton’s from classic, ‘Pawn Hearts’ era Van Der Graaf Generator and Mike’s guitar going into interstellar overdrives over Alex and Simon’s seismic rumblings, this new track is a potential prog-rock classic and live favourite.

‘The Wide Majestic Aire’, which seemed to have Donovan’s ‘Catch the Wind’ as a minor, melodic reference point, particularly with Mike’s harmonica interlude, but ultimately, both lyrically and musically, Alex has created another sparkling gem of a song, that already I want to hear again and again.

Without Will Oldham, the band had decided to give us only one song from their last album, ‘The Marble Downs’ recorded with Bonnie Prince Billy; but even without the little feller their rendition of ‘Ain’t Nothing Wrong With A Little Longing’ was a wonder to behold.

The new songs, together with tracks like ‘Just As A Rainbow’, ‘The Willows of Carbeth’ and a blistering version of a personal favourite, ‘Otley Rock Oracle’ with Lavinia transformed into some sort of human Theremin, made for an almost perfect set.

Chatting briefly to Lavinia and Simon at the end of the night, I mentioned that this had been one of the strangest gigs I’d been to in a long while, but I was too shy or polite to answer when Lavinia asked me, “Why?”

Partly, it was simply the sparseness of the audience, which made it feel a little like having been time-warped back to the Rover’s Quoit Club in West Hartlepool, sometime in the early 1970’s, watching friend’s bands in the ‘function room’ with a set of regulars that had wandered in to see what the racket was. Partly, it was the absence of young people, perhaps put off by the restrictive, ‘folk’ label that seems to hang around the bands neck like an albatross, or who perhaps were simply getting ready to set off for a weekend in the mud of the Reading and Leeds festival?

But more than anything, that night the Trades Club seemed to have some characters in the audience that had stumbled out of a 21st century version of a Hogarth cartoon; the seriously pissed couple sat adjacent to me, who took turns to steal each other’s drink’s while the other went outside for an intermittent smoke, and, from the same duo, the ‘swaying man’ who regularly ambled towards the stage, and with all the best David Bailey moves, proceeded to snap away at the band with what looked like a cheap disposable camera, giving Lavinia the thumbs up every time he thought he’d caught a shot to treasure; or the ‘jogging lady’, who jumped up toward the end of the set, the only dancer of the evening, running on the spot in time to ‘Otley Rock Oracle’. And where else, during an encore, would the breath stops of an acapella duet be punctuated by earnest, loud conversation from the bar concerning the arcane mysteries of local micro-breweries? Still, somehow all of this simply added to the aptness of the occasion, the true sense that; “there’s nowt so queer as folk”.

When it comes down to it I can’t really articulate why I like Trembling Bells so much, both live and on record. There is an openness and vulnerability to Alex’s poetic lyricism and song-writing that manages to unearth and re-imagine the buried romantic, mysterious, millenarian, mythical Englishness of Blake, Winstanley, Geoffrey of Monmouth or the wider English folk-song tradition; teasing personal reflections on a hidden sense of national identity from the shallow grave of post- modernism. There is a subjective sense of ‘place’ that runs like a vein through many of the songs, that, for me, manages to marry personal experience with imaginative contemplation to produce, to borrow from William Blake, ‘songs of innocence and experience’. But more than that, Trembling Bells are a band that are truly greater than the sum of their parts, with each member contributing something unique and eclectic that makes for a glorious whole, and ensures that this is still a band without boundaries, a band of monumental significance.

As Lavinia said, when I saw her and Alex doing a question and answer session in the ‘Literary Yurt’ (!) at the ‘No Direction Home’ festival earlier this year, in answer to a request to define what ‘folk music’ might mean in the 21st century; neatly sidestepping the question and refuting the ‘folk’ label at the same time, “We are a psychedelic rock band.” And that’s good enough for me.

Bill Howe


The Torches
26.7.12 – Sebright Arms, Bethnall Green

Easing down the passageway and into the east end’s cavernous indie music venue Sebright Arms in Bethnal Green, I am met by the great washes of guitar and gently undulating rhythms of Ivory Seas, opening for London-based band Torches. I know little about them but enjoyed the brief glimpse: ‘Mothers Tongue’, ‘Still Brooding’, and especially ‘Boundary’, all made a strong impression, reminding me of the mood of songs like The Velvet Underground’s 10-minute version of ‘Ocean’ on their eponymous 1969 live album. The singing was pleasantly understated and warm, fitting with the flowing nature of the music.

Torches, on the other hand, offer a more conventional brand of full-on Indie Rock. Charlie Drinkwater, singer of the London-based band said in a recent interview that they try to strip the music back as much as possible while keeping its momentum and energy. It's a good description of the band's thunderous sound, powered by not one but two drummers! Ed Kelland's drum machine augments the basic sound from the drum kit of Stephanie Anderson. Ostensibly, the concert was to publicize their latest double-A-sided single 'Silent Film' and 'Sky Blue & Ivory', but clearly Torches are building their profile and probably need to leave the humble indie beginnings behind and break out if they’re to achieve success. The surge of raw power in their music works initially, as the band begin with the first of the singles, slightly understated but throwing the spotlight nicely on Drinkwater's dark baritone voice and shadowplay stage presence. I don't think anybody will miss the Joy Division/Ian Curtis connection, but comparisons become problematic when you start down that road: Interpol, Editors, The National et al. Many have taken their lead from that Manchester Factory sound, but Torches have a bit more going on, particularly with the electronic influences which make them sound more like experimental Cabaret Voltaire or even Depeche Mode in their cruder industrial phase.

The band slip into their stride after a few songs, but they can’t seem to consolidate the initial intensity, somehow the moment has passed. Never mind, the alcohol is flowing and the kids are alright … so it probably doesn’t matter!? ‘Towerblock Confetti’ is very angular in the way Gang Of Four or Robert Quine (Richard Hell and The Voidoids) were, 'Someone Needs A Ritual' has an electronic disco stomp about it, like 'Master & Servant'-style Depeche Mode or Bill Nelson’s Red Noise ‘Furniture Music’. The sound balance wasn’t quite right though, nervous comments feeding back to the mixing desk, keyboards and guitar seemed to be a bit lost under the battering rhythms.

So several songs in, I'm gasping for a change of pace, some kind of melodic interlude, but my friends remind me that it's all rock'n'roll. The set is short (thankfully, for my eardrums) and sweet, and they end rather as they started, on a high, with the other side of their double-A single. Buoyant-sounding 'Sky Blue And Ivory' is certainly a moment to savour, the band's brightest elements combining Drinkwater’s full dark vocal with electronic-driven rock and that feeling of euphoria and youthful energy which U2 brought to their earlier recordings like Boy and October. The band finally sound freer to express themselves and end the night confidently. If I’m honest though, there were few splashes in this set. Torches are almost certainly at the crossroads: they’ll either deliver a superb album or end up - perish the thought - as a b-version Bloc Party slipping inexorably into a sea of Indie landfill.

On the other hand, I felt more hopeful about support band Ivory Seas, sonically a much more interesting proposition, with the lovely fluid vocal swimming amongst all that spacious guitar, and thankfully leaving my rather decrepit ears alone! You can check their music on SoundCloud.

Matthew Haddrill


Low
28.3.12 - Sala Capitol

Indie band Low from Duluth, Minnesota, are proof positive that less is more. Morman couple Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker distanced themselves from slowcore, a genre they more or less defined in the last 20 years. David Kleywegt's 2008 documentary 'You May Need A Murderer' reveals how deeply entwined Sparhawk's Morman faith is with the band's gloomy (occasionally, apocalyptic!) outlook, but wisely the music focuses less on world events and more on intensely brooding atmosphere's and the haunting balladry of a modern-day Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris pairing. Their gigs tend to be quite solemn affairs, almost church-like: in the early days when people talked too much they just turned the amps down! But the last few years have seen various shifts following the usual kind of things which test a band's metal … so 2008's Drums And Guns crackled and fizzed with a bold experimental sound, while their latest album C'mon in 2010 positively beamed with effervescent pop songs. Low can also be a band of surprises!

It was really pleasing to find the American trio (Steve Garrington is the latest recruit since 2008) had included my adopted home of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, in their recent European tour. Sala Capitol is one of the popular city venues, a large open auditorium styled like a palladium cinema, which certainly suits Low's soaring atmospherics. Happily, the place was full and the night air was buzzing with excitement. First, we were treated to a set by Raúl Pastor Medall (aka Rauelsson), actually a native of Spain but now based in Portland, Oregon, who creates a similar vein of folk music to Peter Broderick whom he recently worked with on the modern classical piece 'Un Castillo, Un molino, Un mapa Y Un Plan'. Tonight's music was more stripped down, Rauelsson joined on guitar with just a fiddle player, the pair featuring songs mainly from his 2010 debut album La Siembra, la Espera y la Cosecha.

Low opened up with 'Try To Sleep' from their most recent album, a powerful way to start for those not familiar with the band's oeuvre. Gigs like this tend to either boil down to album promotions or greatest hit packages, but the generous sample of songs from C'mon was accompanied by a mixture of material throughout the band's career, stuff they seemed to enjoy playing to 'fit' the occasion rather than anything with promotion in mind. The pervading mood is everything with the Duluth band, of course, and it's built on straightforward simple things: Sparhawk's hang-in-the air guitar sound, Parker's metronomic drum beat (typically just a single cymbal, battered tom and snare, which she plays standing up in the characteristic Mo Tucker/Velvet Underground-style), the whole sound being solidified by Garrington's bass playing (he also switched to keyboards along with providing backing vocals). What marks Low out is the gentle insistence and control they exercise in the music, they play each moment like they really mean it!

'Nightingale' is a song of exquisite beauty, a little like their earlier 'Sunflower' (from the band's epic 2001 album Things We Lost In The Fire), which they also played tonight; the duo's close harmonies hang heavily around the hall among all 'spaces' Sparhawk's playing creates. The guitarist generally takes lead vocal, with notable exceptions like 'Especially Me' where you can almost hear a pin drop next to Mimi Parker! Another surprising highlight was 'The Great Destroyer' from the misfiring 2005 album of the same name. In this setting, the song sounds almost U2-like with its euphoric chorus (although the lyrics contain a salutary warning to a world gone crazy!). The crackly 'Dragonfly' (from Drums And Guns), with its references to anti-depressants and finding a way out of the world's madness, was another standout, and I was pleased they included 'Canada' in the encore, giving the band chance to rock out like Neil Young (it's not as odd as it sounds when you listen to Sparhawk's latest side-project Retribution Gospel Choir, and also a reminder of his punk-rock beginnings).

A pity they didn't feature anything from 1995 Joy Division-inspired sophomore Long Division, but with 9 studio albums and countless ep's along the way you can't have everything I suppose! They will have certainly won more friends here in Santiago, a city steeped in history and one of the wettest places in Spain, its dank misty atmosphere providing an amazing setting for this band! The world may or may not be in meltdown, but Low continue to widen their influence with their gentle insistence that less is indeed more!

Matthew Haddrill


Andrew WK
13.4.12 – Manchester Academy 1

What I really wanted to do was write down two hours of laughter. I once got told off for writing a review for a band called Shark Attack, my review was two words long and ripped off a Spinal Tap joke. I would love nothing more than to post “Partied, Hard!” as my review, but I can't. If I wanted to say more, but not much more, I'd say “Nothing at all was wrong with anything that happened”.

Andrew WK, playing I Get Wet start to finish could not have ever failed.
I can tell you that every single thing about the night was amazing. I was front and centre for all of I Get Wet and some of the other songs from other albums. I shouted, I partied, I took part in one of the most excellent nights in a long time and it was all orchestrated by Andrew WK and backed by his excellent band, which apparently includes his wife now.

Please accept the following in the context of everything I have written above: There is one thing that could have made the night better. The whole thing would have been better if, once the band had got to the end, they'd have started again. Now, you could look at that and remember that It's Time To Party and Party Hard open the album that the night celebrated, or you could look at it the way it is intended – I had so much fun, I could have done it all again.

For the record, Party Hard remains one of the most fun songs in the history of songs and Andrew WK, live, remains one of the best things to do with any of your time, and the best choice in most situations. Fact.

Honourable mention goes to my friend John, who got hit in the face during the first song and got a nosebleed. Which no one noticed because so many people had fake nosebleeds. Amazing.

Christopher Carney


Dead Wolf Club
5.2.12 – The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

The Brudenell is one of the best venues in the country. This is a true fact and if you disagree you're wrong.

I got a text on the morning of the gig, saying that the band were stuck in snow. I hoped they'd be OK, and I also hoped that they'd get to Leeds, from Inverness. When their singer called later, things didn't bode well. They would be arriving just in time to walk on stage. I expected to be told that nothing was going on. I still went down to the Brudenell though. Why wouldn't I?

That meant I got to see La Machine's metal riffs, heavy electronic beats and (I'm sorry, I am) Karen O singing. Until their guitar player broke his string and knocked everything out of tune, they were all sorts of sexy. I want to see more of La Machine. They should keep the beats, but they need a drummer. Hard.

Then, as promised, at gig time, Dead Wolf Club bustled through the back door, set up their gear and then started playing. If you could, that'd be a great way to start a gig on purpose. It'll keep you lean, it'll make you play faster.

A dimly lit gig-room at The Brude, not full by a long way but there are enough people here to suggest interest and Dead Wolf Club sound great. Better live than on record (and I like the record a lot), my friend reckons the drummer drums like Nico MacBrain (I think he means she smiles a lot and her whole body moves with the drumming. It certainly is an arresting sight.)

I hate the term angular when it comes to describing music. Almost as much as I hate comparing bands with other bands (sorry La Machine) but if you would, for a moment, understand that I am having that monologue internally, maybe you can understand a little of how Dead Wolf Club sound.
I suppose that would make reviews easier. I would show you pictures of my face and you could figure out the rest.

Dead Wolf Club play the songs off their very good début very well. The fact that they are stoked to be on tour shows clearly and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them. I hope they get to have a room full of fans because they'd kill, everything would sound better. I'd like to be there. The other thing is that they made me remember that I like being in a band. It's fun. It should be fun. It's always great when it looks like it is fun.

Christopher Carney