Tracks Monkeys With Lasers

TMWL Presents: istartedthefire records showcase @ The Brixton Windmill – 20/07

Another better-late-than-never post and the type I find a bit odd to write with it being my own show and all so I shall do something a little different and instead of a normal write up, I’ve made videos with the live audio and photos from the night. Sadly, the images seem to have lost a lot of the quality though..

Anyway, this show had been planned for a little while in order to bring the whole gang from the Cheltenham based record label istartedthefire down to London for one big night. This was all to take place at the fantastic little South London venue of the Brixton Windmill which may not be the best venue on first glance but once the music (and beer) is flowing, it’s a brilliant place to be.

Slow Club @ Koko – 01/06
December 7, 2010, 10:43 pm
Filed under: gigs | Tags: ,

Apologies in advance; recollections of this gig are somewhat hazy 6 months on but a review you shall get regardless!

First things first, the support. Yeah, I don’t remember anything about them even if I do still recognise the names. The support on the night was from Spectrals, Summer Camp and Veronica Falls. That’s as much as I can say I’m afraid music fans.

The main act themselves, Slow Club, came bounding on stage, joined by their bass player and drummer and launched straight into a new tracks which was a brave move but one the crowd enjoyed nonetheless.

This high tempo start continued witha surprising early playing of Our Most Brilliant Friends, one of my personal favourites, and Giving Up On Love, allowing for a frantic opening which doesn’t quite fit in with the whole feel of their album; 2009’s ‘Yeah, So’.

After that, the tempo finally dropped with old and new songs alike. The new material sounded very promising and was played with such feeling and assertiveness that it would be difficult for someone unaware of their material to tell the tried and tested tracks from the new and this all points towards a wonderful second album, whenever it may appear.

Of the older songs, the one that sticks out for me was Rebecca’s solo ‘Sorry For The Doom’ which had the packed out Koko transfixed. It did feel at times that the duo were in awe of the crowd as much as the crowd were of them but this didn’t show through too much once the band had settled into their set. In between tracks, the pair also loosened up during the night and were very quaint with Rebecca telling a joke a Waitrose Christmas cracker would be proud of (“What did the cheese say to itself in the mirror? Halloumi”).

The highlights for me though were the two tracks played unplugged with ‘Wild Blue Milk’  coming partway through the set while ‘Christmas TV’ closed off the evening. Thankfully, the crowd showed the respect the tracks deserved giving an eerie hush to such a large audience, meaning the tracks worked well.

On the night, I was very impressed with Slow Club. They overcame the nerves they seemed to have playing to their biggest audience to date and once they had settled on stage, they made it feel like a much more intimate venue than Koko actually is. Not bad for a band once described to me as the “staple support act of Sheffield”.

Slow Club – Our Most Brilliant Friends (live)

Xtra Mile Showcase @ Borderline – 25/05
December 7, 2010, 8:53 pm
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This show had what was for me a fantastic lineup with The Xcerts, Straight Lines and Crazy Arm all playing who are all bands I’m a big fan of (and had all seen live previously). In addition, one of Xtra Mile’s latest signing, Fighting Fiction, were also due to play so I was intruiged to see what they had to offer.

As it turned out, it wasn’t to be a full band performance from Fighting Fiction but just an acoustic set from the lead singer, Jacob. This was a little disappointing but it was still a good set and made me want to hear more of their stuff. Their EP and newest single are up on Spotify and are well worth a listen.

Next up were Crazy Arm. I really like the record these guys put out last year but when I saw them supporting Frank Turner at the Roundhouse, I was left slightly underwhelmed with their live performance. Sadly, this show did little to change that.

Their songs are very strong but live it was just a little sloppy at times. Every now and again the timing seemed to be slightly off between the band and, for me at least, this was quite noticeable and really spoilt their performance. It’s a bit of a shame as I really do like the album but that’s twice that I’ve been disappointed with them live. Third time lucky?

After that, it was time for Straight Lines to take to the stage. I’d seen these guys only a few months previously as well when they headlined at the Camden Enterprise which was a show I really enjoyed. Here, they put on a good show again but with it not being a crowd there to seem them specifically, it wasn’t as good as before.

That said, I did enjoy their set and they even played one or two new songs from what I remember. Good band, good album and good fun live too.

Finally, it was the main act of the night in The Xcerts. I’d been lucky to catch these guys almost a year ago at Lexapalooza at the Gaff. Back then, there was only a handful of people still around to see them but they really managed to impress me. Since then, their first album had grown on me even more so I was looking forward to seeing how they’d progressed.

As it turned out, they’d come out massively since I’d seen them last. They seemed completely at ease on stage and weren’t afraid to try out something different with their tracks with a different version of ‘Home Versus Home’ working really well.

With their latest album being prepared for release around the time of this show, they showcased a few new tracks, including their latest single ‘Slackerpop’. Not many people seemed to know the track but I enjoyed it and it points to a slightly different sound on the new album from their first.

It can be a bit odd when a band plays new songs live when nobody recognises them. The band seemed to recognise this though so played the new tracks early on, leaving the rest of the set to the material everyone there knew and these sounded great. ‘Crisis In The Slow Lane’ was a particular highlight to me with the now near-capacity crowd singing along to the chorus; quite a difference from the show at the Gaff.

To finish the night, Murray came back out on stage by himself and played the beautiful ‘Aberdeen 1987’. Sadly a lot of the crowd seemed to be chatting amongst themselves at this point but the song was brilliant regardless with the crowd again singing the chorus. Murray may have forgotten the words at one point but this didn’t spoil a thing.

Altogether, it was a great night with three bands I really like playing as well as a new one for me to check out. The Xcerts were the clear standout act of the night though and I only hope these guys can continue to get better and better.

The Xcerts – Aberdeen 1987 (live)

65daysofstatic @ Koko – 12/05
December 7, 2010, 8:52 pm
Filed under: gigs | Tags: , ,

A belated and, thus, short “review” as I can’t give too many details about this show so long after it took place.

Support on the night came from Nedry, who did nothing for me, and from Loops Haunt who rather impressed with his set on stage and is well worth checking out.

As for 65dos themselves, they played a great set with a good mix of old and new material. The sound system of Koko allowed the new tracks to shine while the older tracks sounded fantastic too. Being on the balcony, I had a good view of the band and I have to say, it’s amazing to watch the band’s drummer in full flow.

It really is a sight to behold when he’s giving it everything and in tracks like the sublime ‘Retreat! Retreat!’ (one of their best moments live) it’s easy to be mesmerised by him.

The set was overall solid and, as mentioned previously, the sound was great. However, Koko doesn’t seem like the best venue for the band. The size doesn’t make for the right kind of atmosphere for their kind of music which, to me, is much better suited to small, sweaty venues like at the Dingwalls (but at least they didn’t break the venue like they did when I saw them there). As such, the crowd felt a little flat but it’s difficult to put on a show in a smaller venue for them when they can sell out a venue the size of Koko.

Overall, I really enjoyed the set and it was nice to get chance to hear the whole of Weak4 and to hear Radio Protector this time round. New tracks like Go Complex and Tiger Girl, at either end of the show, did sound beautiful but without the crowd to match what was going on on-stage, the gig just lacked that certain something to make it truely amazing.

65daysofstatic – Weak4 (live)

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